Stuffed Eggplant Poriyal

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stuffed South Indian Eggplant

It used to be that eggplant was something I hardly ever considered cooking with, but now that I have started, there is no stopping me. Even my family members who thought of eggplant as mushy and bland are willing to try my creations. Since I started playing around more, I have pretty much stuck with broiling or baking this versatile vegetable, but this time I wanted something spicy and went ahead with stuffing small eggplants with a spicy dry paste of coconut, cashews and lentils and simmering them in a tangy and fragrant tempering sauce. Certainly the most pleasing way I have prepared and enjoyed eggplant yet, and it is just perfect for dinner served with a steaming hot bed of buttered rice.

I adapted this recipe from one of my very favorite vegetarian cookbooks, Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan. If I could retain only a few of the books from my extensive collection, surely this would be one of them. Though I have cooked from this book on many occasions, each time I pick it up and glance through the beautiful illustrations, I am tempted again and again to keep exploring the authentic south Indian delights offered up. If you want to know about sambars, rasams, poriyals and kootus, beautiful rice dishes, aromatic spice blends that are an essential element of Indian cooking and just don't me started on the snack and appetizer section, this is the book you surely must have. The desserts and sweets are also too tempting, even for this savory girl.

stuffed eggplant poriyal

Stuffed Eggplant PoriyalStuffed Eggplant Poriyal
Recipe by
Adapted from Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India
Cuisine: Indian
Published on November 27, 2012

Eggplants stuffed with a spicy dry coconut, cashew and lentil paste, simmered in a tangy and fragrant sauce

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

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  • 1 lb (450 g) small eggplants
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon toor dal or yellow split peas, rinsed
  • 8 dried whole red chilies, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste, seeds removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • water as needed
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon toor dal or yellow split peas, rinsed
  • 2 dried whole red chilies, broken into pieces
  • handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • water as needed
  • Begin by dry roasting the coconut in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring or tossing until it is golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl. In the same pan, dry roast the cashews, stirring or tossing until they darken a few shades. Add to the bowl with the coconut.

  • In a heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat the oil for the stuffing over medium heat. When hot, add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, toor dal or yellow split peas, red chilies and asafetida, and stir for 5 minutes. Transfer this mixture, along with the salt, tamarind, and roasted coconut and cashews, to a food processor and process, adding water as needed, to make a thick, smooth and dry paste — be careful not to add too much water.

  • Cut the eggplants lengthwise, taking care not to slice them all the way through. Gently fill and cover each eggplant with the stuffing.

  • Wipe the frying pan clean and heat the oil for the tempering over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, toor dal or yellow split peas, and red chilies. Stir for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Stir in the curry leaves, turmeric and tomato. Add the stuffed eggplants to the pan with a teaspoon or two of water and cover. Simmer, gently turning the eggplants occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the eggplants are tender. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
stuffed eggplant

More eggplant recipes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Baked Gingered Chickpea Stew with Eggplant and Spinach
Eggplant Quinoa Bites with Pesto
Eggplant and Tomato Caponata

1 comment:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A fabulous dish! So flavorful and unique.