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New Year Recipe Friday: Indian Style Sauteed Eggplant

Posted on: January 7, 2011

Ooohhh! Christmas gift cookbook! New recipes to try! Lots of ‘em! I got Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World, his collection of international recipes. The first one I tried, this veggie side dish, was simple, yet a total score! Better yet… I think it tasted even better reheated!

So I was thinking, start with a vegetable to make sure I’m getting my day’s veg intake. Then, as I was researching eggplant’s nutritional merits (of which there are many!), whaddaya know—eggplant is a fruit, part of the nightshade family. Argh! Back to supplementing with more spinach salads. In any case, eggplant is not only high in fiber, but it is rich in antioxidants, potassium, and may also contain compounds that lower cholesterol levels ( As this dish also contains the heart-healthy properties of garlic and anti-inflammatory ginger, your body will thank you!

Before we get to the recipe, one more note: I always “salt-bath” prep the chopped eggplant, no matter how fresh. It just helps get rid of any excess liquid. The recipe steps through the procedure. It will add up to an hour to your cooking time.

Indian Style Sauteed Eggplant
from The Best Recipes in the World

About 2 pounds eggplant (I prefer the skinnier Asian variety)
2 c sliced onion
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil (and/or butter if you prefer)
1 or more stemmed, seeded, and minced jalapeno (optional)
1 tbsp minced garlic, or more if you like
1 tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
Chopped fresh cilantro and mint leaves for garnish

1. Peel the eggplant if you like. If you have any doubts about its quality, cut it into 1-inch cubes and place them in a colander. Sprinkle liberally with salt, at least a tbsp; toss the eggplant to distribute the salt. Let sit in a sink or over a bowl, undisturbed, for at least 30 and preferably 60 minutes. It will shed a good deal of liquid. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can, rinse with fresh water, and pat dry.

2. Put the oil (and butter, if desired), onion, jalapeno, and all but ½ tsp of the garlic in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook until the onion softens, then add the eggplant. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is tender and lightly browned, 15 minutes or longer, adjusting the heat as necessary so the eggplant browns as quickly as possible without burning.

3. Add the remaining garlic and the ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more; taste and adjust seasoning, then stir in some cilantro and mint and cook for a few more seconds. Garnish with more of the herbs and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.


Did Santa bring you any cookbooks or cooking gear this year? I got a lot, and I’ve been slowly using it… it’s going to take a while to peruse the book and use all the implements I got! Thanks, Santas!

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