Mango Eggplant Curry
An experiment I tried today was a great success (certified by my roommate, a previous roommate and most importantly, my previous roommate's wife).
Summer is the right season for mangoes. Try to find big green mangoes (kaccha or unripe).
2 unripe mangoes
1 large eggplant (brinjal)
4 green chillies
fresh peeled baby carrots (available in packets at most stores)
Paanch Puran masala (ask the store attendant for this - alternative - garam masala)
Haldi (turmeric powder - you can get sprinkle bottles in the stores)
Start by slicing and dicing the eggplant. Put it into a pressure cooker. I had to use two cookers as the eggplant I had was huge. Fill it up with sufficient water (height of water = 2 x height of diced eggplant). Add two teaspoons of salt (to each cooker). Let the cooker heat up and wait for three whistles. Meanwhile, finely chop one large onion.
Turn off the heat and let the steam out. When you open it, you will be surprised to see how little eggplant there is - it's mostly shrunk. Do not worry. And do NOT throw away the water. This water is quite nutritious and we shall henceforth refer to it as "broth."
Strain the eggplant out, taking care to preserve all of the broth. In a large cooking vessel, heat some olive oil (medium heat). After a minute of heating, add a teaspoon of paanch puran masala. Give yourself 15 to 20 seconds, and drop in all of the onions. The timing is important or you will end up burning the masala. If that happens, clean up the pan and start again.
Sautee the onions until they are starting to turn brown. Add a sprinkling of haldi (turmeric powder). Drop the eggplant in and continue to sautee. Then, leave this alone and start chopping the green mangoes. Use a peeler if you have one, or else, a regular knife to chop the tops out. You will quickly learn how to extract as much of the fruit as possible. Dice it and toss it in and sautee together with the eggplant.
Throw in four chillies and a handful of cashew nuts. Cover the vessel with a lid and turn your attention to the broth. Transfer the broth into a blender. It should still be quite hot, so be careful. Put in two tomatoes and several baby peeled carrots (9 or 10). I did this in two steps as I had lots of broth. Blend nicely. Check to see that the sautee has advanced quite a bit - the color should begin to change. Drop in the broth - it is now a nutritious puree.
Turn the heat up a little and cover the lid. If the vessel is quite full, don't use a lid or the curry will come tumbling out. Although you added salt earlier, you may want to check that the taste is appropriate after 15 minutes of heating. If there is a lot of broth, all you need to do is to let it evaporate until you have the right quantity. That has the advantage of thickening the curry and concentrating the flavor.
You should end up with a delightful mango eggplant curry (see first picture). Let me know if you end up trying this.