Sunday, March 30, 2008

Eggplants and tomatoes: a starry combination :)

This has to be the post that has enjoyed the cozy comfort of draft-box for the longest ;). Originally meant to be posted more than a month ago, it was lovingly forgotten there as i switched from a "cough", through an "achooooo" (and finally), to my everyday life :-D. But here it is, finally!

Tomatoes and eggplants are a very regular combination in my kitchen and i enjoy them together in many different ways. The title of this post says that this combination is really starry, so that should give you a hint of what is to show up next ;). Yup, a very simple recipe, where the main spice is the pretty, starry, Star Anise. Don't get me wrong, the intent of the following picture is not to scare anyone ;). Just that this piece of star anise was breaking all stereotypes for the said spice and looked more like a spider :-D.

This sweet and tangy combination is very quick to make and super delicious.

Here is how we make it:

We need:

  • 2 long eggplants (Chinese ot Japanese variety), cut into 2" long pieces
  • 2-3 big and juicy tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 piece star anise (one whole and the other ground into powder).
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar (or as per taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • Red chilli powder (to taste)
  • 7-8 basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp. oil

In a pan, heat the oil and splutter the cumin. Add the eggplant pieces and stir-fry them on high-heat. Set the eggplant pieces aside. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook till tender. Add the sugar, turmeric, red chilli powder and star anise powder. Add 2-3 tbsp. water, if needed. Add salt, and the stir fried eggplant pieces. Reduce the flame and cover to cook another 10-15 minutes or so, till the eggplant pieces have absorbed the flavors. Add the basil leaves. Garnish with the whole star anise and enjoy hot with rice or chapatis :).

And you are so right, the inspiration for this dish is from Chinese sweet and sour eggplants. Oh, and before i forget, do try out Star Anise in your chai, its the best!