50-Women, Books, Main Dish, Meatless, Recipes, Vegetarian

50 WOMEN GAME CHANGERS #7 Madhur Jaffrey: The Best Eggplant Ever

The Best Eggplant Ever
(pg 166 – 167)

For preparing the eggplant
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 large eggplants
  • Peanut oil for deep frying


For the Tomato-Chickpea Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 whole hot dried, red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 28-ounce can good-quality whole tomatoes, finely chopped, with their liquid
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric


For the Yogurt Sauce
  • 10 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seeds


For the Tamarind Chutney
  • 2 tablespoons thick tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seeds



To prepare the eggplants:

    • Pour 3 quarts of water into a large pan
    • Add the salt and stir well
    • Trim the eggplants, slicing off the very top and bottom.


  • Peel them


  • Cut them, crosswise, into about five slices each
  • Put the slices into the salty water as you cut them.
  • The slices will float


  • Up turn a plate on top of the slices and balance a weight on top of the plate
  • Set aside for 3 to 10 hours
  • Remove the slices from the water and pat them dry
  • Pour enough oil into a large pan to come to a depth of 3/4 inches
  • Set over medium heat
  • Allow time for the oil to get very hot.
  • Put in as many eggplant slices as the pan will hold in a single layer.


  • Fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until reddish-gold
  • Remove to a large plate or tray lined with a double thickness of paper towels
  • Fry all the eggplant slices this way, adding more oil, if needed, and using as many plates or trays as you see fit.


  • The eggplants may now be set aside for 3 to 4 hours if desired.
To make the Tomato-Chickpea sauce:
  • Pour 3 tablespoons of oil into a large, lidded pan.
  • Set the pan over medium-high heat.
  • When the oil is very hot, put in the chilies and mustard seeds
  • As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, a matter of seconds, add the garlic.
  • Stir quickly once, then put in the tomatoes, basil leaves chickpeas, salt,cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
  • Stir and bring to a simmer
  • Cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer gently for 20 minutes
  • Remove the chilies before serving
To make the Yogurt Sauce:
  • Put the yogurt in a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork or small whisk until smooth
  • Stir in the salt and cumin
  • Cover and refrigerate if not using within 2 hours.
To make the Tamarind Chutney:
  • Combine the tamarind paste, sugar, salt, and cumin in a small cup
  • Mix well
  • Cover and refrigerate if not using within 2 hours


To prepare the dish:
  • When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 325 degrees
  • Spread out the eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking tray and dust very lightly with salt and black pepper
  • Place in the oven and heat through, about 15 minutes
  • Heat the Chickpea sauce
  • Arrange the eggplant slices on a very large platter in a single layer
  • Pour a small ladleful of the tomato chickpea sauce on top of each slice.
  • Center 2 teaspoons of the yogurt sauce on top of the tomato-chickpea sauce and then put a generous dot of the tamarind chutney on top of the yogurt
What we thought:
Dianna:  The  best eggplant ever is not how I would describe this.  It was good and very filling, however the tamarind chutney was sour.  If I made this again not chutney.
Alex: “I don’t like eggplants, they are slimy.  The tomato-chickpea sauce was good.”

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