Baigan Aloo Charchari (Char-Crusted Eggplant & Potato)

I’ve mentioned before how much we love eggplants, so when a friend mentioned an eggplant and potato curry dish she made regularly, I had to have the recipe.

Now, Tall is a carnivore from way back, but is willing to eat a vegetarian meal every now and then. I made this last night, and he not only finished off my plate, but hopefully asked if there were leftovers for his lunch….and was disappointed to find out that there were none.

Without further ado, I give you:

Baigan Aloo Charchari (Char-Crusted Eggplant & Potato) – serves 2-4*

1 medium eggplant, cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 medium-large potatoes, peeled & cut into 1cm cubes
2t coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1t cumin seeds
1/2t turmeric
1t sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 fresh green chillies, slit lengthways
large handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
juice & finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
250ml water
50g butter, cubed

In a large non-stick frying pan – off the heat – arrange the eggplant and potato chunks in layers. Sprinkle over the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, sea salt, black pepper, chillies, fresh coriander, lemon juice and zest.

Pour over the water and dot with the butter.

Cover, place pan over a high heat and bring to the boil.

Shake the pan a few times, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered and without stirring, for about 20 minutes, checking from time to time that the water has not dried out. If it has, add a little more.

After 20 minutes, the eggplant should be buttery soft, the potato tender, and the liquid reduced to a thick glaze. Do not stir.

Remove the lid and increase the heat; reduce the sauce until it just starts to form a crust on the base of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.

Leave to stand for two minutes, then stir the crust through the mixture. Fry a little more to achieve more crusty bits, if desired, or serve immediately.

* This dish would serve 4 as part of a curry banquet. It is considered a “dry” dish, and would be delicious served alongside a saucy curry dish (like daal), but we ate it with a simple dollop of mango chutney, and it was divine. Buttery and fragrant, with perfect textural contrasts in the softness of the eggplant, and the crustiness of the sauce.

Recipe credit: ??? Unfortunately I have no idea where this recipe came from, so I can’t give credit where credit’s due ­čśŽ