Coconut Stuffed Baby Eggplants

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Coconut Stuffed Baby Eggplants

Hello and Welcome to This Spicy Life! Thanks for stopping by – sorry that I have been absent for too long. I’m posting a recipe that I made almost a month ago. I was recently surfing around some other food blogs (for inspiration, ideas and fun) and noticed that a lot of people have posted similar recipes in the last month. I’m thinking that this must be the season for baby eggplants! Or maybe other people feel the same way and just can’t resist these beauties…

My version of Coconut Stuffed Baby Eggplant is inspired by a few recipes by different authors. Some recipes use onion, some don’t use coconut or sesame seeds. My recipe isn’t totally new, but I think that mine has more shortcuts and a few different ingredients that combines for a nice flavor. Stuffed Eggplant is a wonderful South Indian dish that goes well with rice, a simple dal and a salad. In my picture, I served it with Rasam, Toor Dal and Kale Saag.

Coconut Stuffed Baby Eggplants

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 – 12 “baby” eggplants (small, round, purple variety)
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut (unsweetened, desiccated)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne or red chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds or peanuts
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 -4 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 shakes of hing (asafoetida) (optional)
  • 6 curry leaves (optional)
Method:
  1. Heat a heavy, cast iron or other skillet over medium heat. When hot add the coconut, coriander powder, cumin powder and cayenne/chili powder. Stir together and let roast until the coconut starts to get specks of brown. Remove from the pan to a blender.
  2. Heat the sesame seeds/peanuts in the same pan until lightly toasted. Remove and put in the blender. Reserve the pan for later.
  3. Add the tamarind paste, salt and 1/4 cup of water to the blender and mix. Add more water if necessary to make a thick paste for stuffing.
  4. Wash the baby eggplants well in water. The stems will be kept intact unless they aren’t in good shape (in which case, remove the stem very close to the top of the eggplant).
  5. Cut the eggplants in quarters from the bottom toward the stem, but not all the way through – stop cutting about 1/2″ from the top or the stem. 
  6. Working quickly (so the eggplant doesn’t start to turn brown), use your fingers to stuff the eggplants on all cut sides with the stuffing. This is messy, but just get as much in there as possible and then close the four pieces back together a bit to hold the stuffing. The stuffing is really for flavoring, not to fill you up, so don’t worry if it doesn’t seem like it has a lot of stuffing. Fill all of the eggplants this way and set aside. Reserve any leftover stuffing. 
  7. Heat your cast iron pan or other skillet again over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil and the mustard seeds. Allow to start popping and then add the cumin seeds, hing and curry leaves (if using). Stir around.
  8. Immediately place the eggplants in the pan and turn the heat to medium low. Sprinkle the left over stuffing on top of the eggplants. Add a bit more oil to the pan if the eggplants are sticking.
  9. After a minute, carefully turn each eggplant so that it starts to brown on another side. Keep doing this every minute or so until all surfaces are browned (be careful not to burn).
  10. Place a lid on the pan and reduce the heat to low. Allow to cook for about 5 more minutes (checking after 3 minutes) until the eggplant flesh is soft and cooked through. This timing depends on the size and age of your eggplants, it could take longer if your eggplants are very large or on the older side.
  11. Serve with rice, dal and salad. 
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