This is a simple and easy way to enjoy eggplants. If you are in a hurry you don’t need to salt the eggplants. But I do it because salting the eggplants and rinsing the salt off absorbs less oil when you are cooking them.
For a vegetarian version leave out the tuna. To be honest you don’t need to add the tuna since the eggplant is meaty enough. But as Maldivians love to add smoked tuna, I have included it in this recipe.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
- 400g eggplant or 1 medium eggplant
- 1 teaspoon salt (use half to salt the eggplant, the other half for the curry)
- 3 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 120g or 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 sprig curry leaves finely sliced (use a kitchen scissors)
- 2x5cm pandan leaf
- 1×2.5cm cinnamon stick
- 5 green cardamom pods lightly bruised
- 1/2 small habanero or scotch bonnet chilli, thinly sliced or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 30g smoked tuna (Maldive fish) thinly sliced (optional)
- 1/4 cup coconut milk powder dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water
- First wash and cut the eggplant into bite size pieces (about 2.5cm).
- Place the chopped eggplants in a bowl.
- Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the salt over the eggplant and keep aside for about 20 minutes or so or until you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Heat the oil in a medium sized non-stick frying pan.
- Fry the onions, stock cube, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, pandan leaf, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods, until soft and lightly browned.
- Add the chilli, turmeric, cumin and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, give it quick stir.
- Wash the eggplants to get rid of the salt and give it a rinse.(no need to pat them dry)
- Add to the frying pan and mix in well.
- Cover and cook over low to medium heat, for 10 minutes or until soft and tender, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the coconut milk, stir well to combine and cook for 1 minute more.
- Take off heat and serve with rotis, rice or bread.
Words & Photos by Aishath Nashida (Nattu)