“Inspired by eggplants eaten in a friend’s house years ago, she said it was her mother in-law’s dish who was from Hyderabad. That was years ago so I cannot vouch for authenticity but it is the way I make it in mine; it is so simple but really delicious. She served it as part of a meal but I also love it as it is with a little crispy naan. You can also add chickpeas to the hot spiced oil before adding to the yoghurt for extra protein. The pomegranates add a lovely texture, colour and burst of sweet, sour freshness but if you don’t have any, add some halved baby tomatoes. Lastly, you can griddle your eggplants instead of frying them, it will not taste as good but will still be lovely.” Anjum Anand, Anjum's Australian Spice Stories
- 2 smallish eggplants, cut into 1 cm-thick slices
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs
- 65 g (1 heaped cup) dried breadcrumbs or panko
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- few mint leaves, finely shredded
- good handful pomegranate seeds
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- ¾ tsp brown mustard seeds
- ¾ tsp cumin seeds
- 12-14 curry leaves
- 1 medium-large tomato, peeled and finely chopped
- large pinch red chilli powder
- 250 g (1 cup) Greek yoghurt
- 2 tsp sugar, or to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 20 minutes
Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with salt and for 15-20 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess water and place on a double layer of paper towel.
Meanwhile, to make the yoghurt topping, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds, then once they start to pop add the curry leaves and cook for 10 seconds or until cooked through. Add the tomato and chilli powder and season to taste. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the tomatoes have become pulpy but still retain some shape. Place the yoghurt into a serving bowl, stir in the sugar and a little salt. Spoon the still warm tomato mixture onto the yoghurt and stir once to give it a ripple effect.
Place the eggs in a shallow bowl, add 2 tablespoons water and whisk together. Place the breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl. Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a wide non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Dip the eggplant in the beaten egg, then in the breadcrumbs, pressing on both sides to coat well. Place as many slices as you can fit in a single layer into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel and repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding more oil to the pan when necessary.
Place the eggplants on a large serving plate, slightly overlapping in a circular pattern. Spoon the yoghurt into the centre and serve scattered with mint and pomegranate seeds.