Chargrill an eggplant and you have a whole host of options. I can list 4 right away.
i. Prepare a gravy with onions, tomatoes, ginger garlic paste and spice powders like red chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric and you can make a delicious Baingan ka Bharta.
ii. Blend it with some garlic, tahini, yoghurt and it turns into Baba Gannoush
iii. Blend it with some sauteed onions, flavour with saffron strands and pine nuts and it turns into a Badenjan dip
iv. Whisk in some fresh yogurt and do a traditional South Indian tadka and what you get is a Sutta Kathrikkai Pacchidi
This is a traditional South Indian Pacchidi (Raita). You could use small green chillies to make it fierier and garnish with fresh coriander. The eggplant pacchidi goes well with most South Indian rice preparations like lemon rice, coconut rice or even tamarind rice.
Category: Side, accompaniment, Low Carb
Time Taken: Under 15 minutes
Serves: 2 -3 people
1 medium sized eggplant
1 1/2 cups natural yoghurt
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vegetable oil or olive oil
2 dried red chillies ( I use Kashmiri red chillies), snipped into pieces
1 tsp udad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1. Char grill the eggplant on a flame, rotating it every minute or so, until the entire surface is blistered and charred, and the eggplant is cooked right till its center. A medium sized eggplant will take not more than 7-8 minutes. You can also do this over a grill or in the oven. Place this in a bowl and place a lid over it until it is cool enough to handle and peel.
2. Discard the peels and large chunks of seeds (if any). In a bowl, mash the eggplant pulp till soft with fingers or a whisk. You can even make it into a paste in the blender, but I like the rustic, uneven texture.
3. Beat in the yoghurt with salt.
4. In a small pan, heat the oil. Put in the mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the snipped red chillies, udad dal, curry leaves. Wait until the dal turns golden brown. The Kashmiri chillies colour the oil red and gives it a smoky, mildly spicy flavour. Transfer the content of the pan over the eggplant-yoghurt mix, give it a stir. Serve chilled.
If you want to cut calories you can use fat-free yoghurt, but make sure you use homemade Indian style or Greek yoghurt that is fresh. Since this recipe has only two main ingredients, both need to be of the best quality.
For a vegetarian low-carber, eggplant is a great choice. Yoghurt provides the proteins and probiotics that play a great role in many aspects of well being.