Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘Best Eggplant Ever’

Best Eggplant Ever

Ever since I bought my husband Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘The Curry Bible” we’ve been eyeing the dish alluringly named ‘The Best Eggplant Ever” and reminding ourselves we must make it some time. Why it took me so long (more than a year) to get around to it can only be explained by the fact that in skimming the introduction to the dish I noted comments alerting the reader to the laborious nature of the dish.

One day, I kept saying.

Well, one day arrived and it was worth it. Also, it was nowhere near as laborious as I thought. Sure, ten hours is a long time but most of that time the eggplants are just sitting in water. What’s hard about that? Don’t they look wonderful? It may look as if they still have their skin on, but they don’t. That’s just from frying.

Best Eggplant Ever

It’s a little known secret that Delly and I once jokingly formed an Eggplant Appreciation Society. Years ago. The work undertaken by the society included scanning the internet for eggplant recipes and drooling. We worked hard at that. Once we even had a whole lunch devoted to eggplant – not desserts though – I’m not sure what we ate but I do seem to recall an eggplant soup made from the roasted, pureed flesh. Divine. Sometimes I think we should reinstate the society if only to help eggplant out – it’s so often misunderstood and I think that’s for one reason only – it’s sometimes cooked very badly. Early on I served it undercooked a few times and learned the hard way just how revolting this elegant vegetable can be when served this way. I’m wondering why I ever went back for more! I’m very glad I did though.

Thick, peeled slices of eggplant, soaked in water for up to ten hours, are shallow fried until they are darkly crisp on the outside (the recipe says ‘until golden’ but I prefer them darker) and then dressed in no fewer than three sauces, all of which can be made well ahead but if made at the last minute, don’t take all that much time.

The three sauces are a chickpea and tomato sauce (delightfully tangy and warm), a yoghurt and cumin sauce (that’s the quickest one) and a tamarind chutney (which I cheated on – just mixing up a small amount of tamarind puree with the other ingredients).

When the eggplant slices are dark and crisp on the outside, velvety, creamy smooth on the inside, plate them up, add the chickpea sauce, the yoghurt and a drizzle of tamarind and you’re done.

We had it as a side dish to my husband’s pork curry but it could just as easily be served with some naan or rice and make an excellent main dish. Honestly there’s so much of it.

So it can be found in Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘The curry Bible’ (an excellent book) or someone else has typed it up here, so that I don’t have to.




4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Delly
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 09:05:03

    Wonderful, wonderful!!! It looks so good. I’m putting this on the list of dishes to eat when Willem is away. He would spot this a mile off and declare it’s “yuck”. A shame – but he’ll get there. It looks divine and I think it’s 10 hrs well spent!!


  2. Stacie
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 05:20:20

    Sounds divine. I am printing the recipe out right now! Great photos too.


  3. David Hilyard
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 06:51:31

    Looks fantastic! This could be the main dish with a side of pork curry!

    Why 10 hours soaking, do you think?

    Bolst’s make great Tamarind Chutney in a jar. Get Adele to take you to an Indian grocer in Wenty or Harris Park …


  4. Brinal
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 12:41:14

    Eggplant my favorite! that looks delicious – will have to look out for Madhur Jefferey’s cook book.


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