Fried Eggplant with Tomatoes and Chickpeas + Chutney
FOR THE EGGPLANT
2 pounds of small Italian eggplants sliced 1/4-inch thick rounds
A lot of olive oil (1/2 cup probably)
1 large yellow onion, cut in half and then sliced (into smiles)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon smoky or sweet paprika
1 pound ripe tomatoes (I used Roma in the winter), chopped into 1cm chunks
1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cups) cooked chickpeas (if in the can, drain and rinse the chickpeas)
FOR THE CHUTNEY
2 cups of mint leaves
1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves & tender stems (1 bunch)
1 jalapeno pepper cut into chucks (and seeded if you don't want it too spicy)
1 scallion cut into 1-inch chunks or 4-5 chives
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons water only if needed to get the blender going
2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Serve over rice.
(If making rice, start that now)
1. Season the eggplant slices with salt all over. Heat a large flat-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of the pan. Place the slides on the bottom of the pan to fit in one layer without overlapping. Cook until the bottoms are browned, about 3-5 minutes per size, then flip and cook for a couple minutes more. You will most likely need to add more oil during the frying (the eggplants soak up a lot of olive oil). Once cooked, transfer the eggplants to a plate and continue this with the other slices of eggplant until they are all cooked.
2. Heat another 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the pan and then add the onions and cook until golden and softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes (don't burn the garlic). Add the spices, tomatoes, and chickpeas, and 2 tablespoons of water. Partly cover the pan and let this simmer for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are completely broken down. Taste and salt (lightly) if needed.
3. Add the eggplant to the pan and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens to your liking.
4. While the eggplant / chickpeas cook, place the mint chutney ingredients in a blender or in a food processor and blend until pureed. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, or both.
5. Combine the tamarind chutney ingredients in a small cup / bowl.
6. Serve over rice with the chutneys and with plain yogurt if you would like.