Along with our lentil pie we wanted a lighter, refreshing little eggplant side dish to share.
We adapted a Renu Arora recipe that calls for deep-frying eggplant. We didn't really want to break out the deep-fryer on a hot day, so we went with a less oily alternative.
Using our gas konro (basically a single-burner camping stove), I roasted batches of Japanese eggplant on all sides on a moderate flame, letting the eggplant get soft without scorching the skin too much. I put them in a container with a tightly fitting lid for a few minutes while preparing some other things.
Then I toasted some freshly ground fenugreek and mustard seeds in a bit of oil with some fresh chilies. After a minute or two I added turmeric, garam masala, red pepper powder, ground coriander seeds, and salt. I then adding a generous helping of whole milk yogurt, stirred the ingredients, and worked in the eggplant, sliced lengthwise in quarters then halved in the middle. This needs to gently simmer for 5 or 6 minutes on low heat.
At the table, add fresh cilantro to taste. (Hiromi likes cilantro).
Fire roasting creates a pleasantly smoky character while concentrating the eggplant flavor, without adding unnecessary fat.
The dish tastes nice served warm or even at room temperature, and makes a nice addition to a lunchbox the next day, if you have any left.