from Yasmin Irani
3/4 c. desiccated coconut*
1-1/2 t. turmeric
red chile powder to taste
1 t. salt
12 baby eggplants of similar size, washed
1/3 c. oil
2 pieces of jaggery, a form of sugar*
2 T. tamarind concentrate*
1 c. water
Grind coconut in something like a coffee grinder until it is almost a powder and place in a small bowl. Mix in turmeric, chile powder and salt, then stirring, add sufficient water to make it the consistency of cookie dough. You will end up with about 1/2 cup.
Cut a cross in the bottom of each eggplant almost as far as the stem end and gently separate the quarters. Fill each gash with some of the desiccated coconut mixture so that both directions of the cross contain some of the filling.
Heat the oil in a large skillet until it’s hot enough to singe the eggplants. If you don’t have one big enough you’ll have to work in batches. Place the eggplants in the oil and roll them over to coat and brown on all sides. If you have extra paste, add it to the oil, too. When the eggplants are browned, cover and let them cook on medium heat.
Meanwhile, place the jaggery, tamarind and water in a microwavable bowl and blast for about a minute. Remove and stir until everything has dissolved. When the eggplant is tender, add the jaggery sauce and let it cook for a few minutes with the lid on to meld the flavours. If there’s too much sauce, reduce it by boiling it down to the right consistency.