2 tbsp Cilantro, leaves
1 tsp Coriander, powder
6 Garlic cloves
1 1- inch piece Ginger
1 Globe variety eggplant, small to medium
1 Green chili pepper such as thai or serrano, small
2 Tomatoes, medium
1 Yellow onion, medium
1 tsp Lemon juice
Baking & Spices
1/2 tsp Black pepper, ground
2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp Red chili powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric, powder
Oils & Vinegars
1/4 cup Neutral oil
Nuts & Seeds
1 tsp Cumin, powder
1 tsp Cumin seeds
¼ tsp garam masala or chaat masala (optional)
2 Medium russet potatoes (peeled and cubed into ¾-1” cubes (place in a bowl of water to prevent browning))
Slice off the stem of the eggplant. Then continue to slice the eggplant widthwise into 3/4 inch-thick rounds. Dice the rounds into 1-inch cubes.
Place a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ¼ cup oil to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the eggplant in a single layer (you may need to do this in 2 batches) and pan-fry for 3 minutes, until golden brown. Then flip the pieces and pan-fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add oil as needed and distribute as needed because the eggplant has a tendency to absorb oil. Remove onto a plate and set aside. (See Note 1)
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for a few seconds. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until lightly golden (~8-10 min). Deglaze with 2 tbsp of water.
Once the water dries up, add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute, until the raw smell disappears and the onions deepen in color. Add the tomatoes, green chili pepper, all spice powders (except garam masala), and salt. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and the oil begins to separate from them (~4-5 minutes). If needed, add 2 tbsp of water to deglaze the pan and help the tomatoes disintegrate into the masala.
Once the oil has separated from the curry base/masala, add the potatoes. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes to soften. Add 1/2 cup water and stir to mix.
Turn the heat down to low-medium, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the pan-fried eggplant (See Note 2) and cook for another 15-17 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it's sticking to the bottom of the pan, deglaze with 1/4 cup of water. The eggplant should get mushy and the potato should be very tender.
If needed, raise the heat and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the oil starts to separate again and most of the eggplant has disintegrated into the masala.
Adjust salt and seasoning if needed. Turn off the heat and sprinkle in cilantro, garam masala or chaat masala (if using), and lemon juice. Serve hot with roti, naan, or any type of bread.