Eggplant stew (Andhra Style)
I believe this brinjal dish is exclusive to Andhra Pradesh. Except for the brinjals all other ingredients used are raw and not really cooked. This is our (both my families) favorite, and have been prepared in our families from generations. This dish has simple ingredients, easy to make and so is the most commonly prepared dish at our place to break a fast (during fast my folks eat kosher meal which is prepare with out onion and garlic). Fire roasted brinjals (traditionally white ones are used but you can use the purple ones) seasoned with every day spices, including sweet and sour ingredients is by default dished up with hot rice, mudda pappu ( dal), ghee (clarified butter) and perugu merapakayalu / vadiyalu.
3-4 medium size brinjals
Small melon ball size tamarind
(Soak in warm water for 15-20 and extract thick pulp and keep aside)
4-5 green chillies (finely chopped)
1-2 tbsp jaggery (grated)
Salt to taste
Big pinch of turmeric
Handful of coriander leaves (finely chopped)
Water (2-3 cups)
1 tsp oil
1 dried red chilli (broken)
1/4th tsp methi seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
Big pinch of hing
Heat oil in a small frying pan, fry all the seasoning ingredients. Allow mustard seeds to crackle and turn of the heat. Keep aside.
Lightly grease the brinjals with little oil and roast on low fire, keep rotating the brinjal so that it cooks evenly and completely. Remove from the flame and wrap them in a foil or sprinkle some water and cover, allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Peel the skin and mash the pulp thoroughly in a medium size bowl, to this mashed pulp add the tamarind extract, chopped chillies, jaggery, salt, turmeric and mix well. Add 1 to 1 ½ cups of water and check the consistency. Adjust the taste, add anything if needed, crush the fried seasoning and stir in well. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.
Notes and Tips.
You can use onions if you like. Fry them along with seasoning and add it to the brinjal mixture. You can use less/more chillies to suit your taste. Instead of fire roasting you can grill or bake the brinjals in oven.