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!


sunita said...

musi,lol...that does look like a spider indeed!Glad to see you posting again with that yummy curry :-)

Uma said...

looks delicious. the spider, I mean star anise looks cute.

TheCooker said...

the anise does look like a spider.

Rachna said...

haaa star anise always looks like a spider to me... and this one specially... looks like a crab!!! hey i love this baingan tomato sabzi... with the gravy...and the combination with star anise...very unique!!!

Medhaa said...

First time here, you have a nice blog. The minute i saw the picture I was like oh my god she is holding a bug... well now i know. Nice unique recipe using star anise

Namratha said...

Phew, so that's not a real spider...I almost freaked out :D This is an interesting dish, like the look of it :)

evolvingtastes said...

Thanks for the suggestion of adding star anise to chai - have to try it. Just drop whole while the water is boiling, or do you powder it?
Sabjee looks lovely too.

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

oh my!! you actually scared me for a minute.... :)
The eggplant dish looks yummy, though!!

musical said...


He he, the starry/spidery thing was really good to me in my chai :-D. And you know what this dish was meant for, right ;).


Thanks, dear :). Welcome to my corner. It is a very unusual looking piece!

The Cooker:

Thanks :). Not just a spider, when i put it on a white paper-towel and clicked from a distance, it looked like a tiny bat!!


He he, like a crab-you have changed the scale now ;). Try the eggplant dish, if you love this vegetable, you'll enjoy this dish.

musical said...


Welcome to my corner, dear :). No, am not that brave, yet :-D. The dish tastes very simple and flavorful, try it sometime.


Welcome to my kitchen and thanks! I look at this picture and i still get some secret thrill out of it ;).


I just break the star anise into two pieces. half a piece per cup is good. My Grandma used to use to this spice. I never knew about it, because i never had chai before i started living independently. And then my Dad happened to mention it some time ago-it does taste really good!


Did i ;). Yup and the "scary" looking thing was a total delight when i used it :).

Dee & Chai said...

Looks like a sambar but not one! Great recipe(mouth watering).

TBC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TBC said...

That does look like a spider...
Oooh, I like the addition of basil...nice Italian touch to an Indian dish.:-)

bee said...

thanks for scaring me with that scorpion anise.

Divya Vikram said...

Looks really spicy n delicious..BTW that was a nice scary pic..

Srivalli said...

subji looks good..and that spice looks bhoooo...hahah..nice one..I know you are a month late for the entry!

sra said...

Aargh! That's a monstrous spider, wasp, star anise and gremlin all rolled into one!

KayKat said...

Whoa! That piece of star anise is whacky looking :)

I like the idea of adding basil here, am sure it was delicious!

indosungod said...

Musical! thought the header said Scarry combination and then I see a spider ;)

Yes tomatoes and Eggplants do make a great pair, the star Anise might push it to greater!

Richa said...

hope u made sure that it was a star
that is a lovely combo, musy, sure must taste yum :)

Siri said...

The dish looks yummmO musi, w/o the title read, the first pic indeed looked like a small spider..hehhee..:D


Pelicano said...

I suppose we could also use young gourds in place of the eggplant eh? It's all in the sauce- Musy, you are truly creative! At first I was thinking totally nuts, but now I am imagining how basil- and especially Thai basil- have that edge of anisol-esque flavour that certainly would be delicious paired with star anise. And then tomatoes...well, I loves them so much(!), and your inspired dishes have never failed to delight me so....this must be total Chinesey-Italiany-Indian-yummy bliss!
And a late (march 23rd) Happy Anniversary to your kitchen too!

bee said...

happy blogiversary to you, dear musy. i will be making your gonglu recipe soon.

musical said...


Thanks :). Its more of a Thai/Chinese touch. I had something similar once at a Chinese restaurant in Boston-the dish had basil and star anise in it and i loved it a lot!


I kinda' remember from your "rant" blog that you happen to be a scorpion too ;). This poor lil' star anise shouldn't scare you :-D.


Welcome to my corner, dear and thanks for the kind words :). It indeed is delicious.


Yup, more than month late ;). A spider like this is not scary :-D.


He he, the picture served its purpose :-D.

musical said...


Not star anise, i got whacky ;). Thai basil really goes well with eggplants.


He he, its not scary anymore, i hope :). So you love this combination too. Its great, isn't it.


It was star anise indeed-am not that brave yet ;). You'll like this combination, girl!


Just a small spider? He he, you are brave, girlie :-D.

musical said...


Hmm, gourds-now have to think about it. Chayote squash and zucchini would go well, i guess. May be fried bitter gourd too. Like i said, this one was totally inspired by a Chinese dish i had once. The souring agent was not tomatoes, but it had star anise or may be five-spice (which has star anise) and Thai basil and ofcourse a lovely sweet and sour taste. So you did think i am totally nuts-not far from truth ;).

There's a very desi variety with this combination: Kashmiri tamater wangun. Fried pieces of eggplant, cooked with tomatoes along with hing, saunth, saunf and some red chilli powder. Some people add some green chillies and grated ginger at times. And it is yummy! Thanks for the lovely wishes, dear :).


Thanks, dear :). Say it with me aloud: GONGLU.......... :-D.

Anita said...

I was going to say it looks a lot like tamatar waangun! And tat star anise is a bit scary looking!

I have to make that garam masala variation with this spice which I bought promptly when we talked about it some time back, but am yet to use!

Pelicano said...

Kashmiri tamatar wangun...oh, Anita says waaangun. (Yep, that's not Manisha!)I'll need to try that one...but a thought struck me: have you ever tried Vietnamese pho? It's a noodle soup thing usually using the forbidden meat, but other kinds (even vegan) can be had. It contains star anise in the broth and is served with fresh basil leaves. Had it a few times- totally yummy combo!

musical said...


Tamatar-wangun is one classic! You must blog about it sometime :).

Yes, yes, bring that star anise out of the box, use it in your chai and add it to your garam masala. Its really a great flavor!


Yup, i love vegetarian Pho, replacing meat with tofu, seitan or soy granules! The cinnamon-star anise combination with mint/basil is really very fragrant and refreshing! One of the most comforting foods of all times. We should blog about it sometime :).

Madhavi said...

Hi, first time on your blog. This is very interesting recipe, looks yummmy :)

musical said...


Welcome to my corner, dear :). You have a lovely blog with really innovative dishes!

Sig said...

lol that is a cute spider anise :) Nice find, you can probably sell it on e-bay ;) Lovely looking eggplant dish too... Glad to see you posting again musy...

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bee said...

yes, we made gonglu and will post about it soon.

i'm cancerian, not scorpion, but it's all in the same family.

musical said...


So good to see you, girl! Spider Anise, now that's a cool name :). He he, too late to sell it on e-bay: i already dropped it in my chai ;).

TV de plasma:



That's really sweet of you :). Infact i was thinking of posting it too, what do you say?

I realized soon after i had left the computer tghat i was cancerian and not scorpion :( Sorry :).

Sandeepa said...

you have a good eye pick up the right spidery anise.

I love tomatoes in almost all sabzis :) so this should be great

musical said...


He he, thanks :-D. Yup, tomatoey stuff is usually yummy :).

Anonymous said...


Padmaja said...

hey hey! I thought it was a spider at first my dear!!! Lovely dish!!

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Sia said...

why scaring us with taht spider musie? ;)
and u too a cancerian???

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Eggplant and tomato curry looks good... So tempting.... Delish!

Linda said...

Hi Musy, I did scroll down to check out the pics before reading, and had to rub my eyes -- I DID think you were holding a spider in photo #1! ;) Star anise sounds like an interesting addition -- I love new ways with eggplants! Thanks for the yummy pics and recipe -- glad you're feeling better now :)

Anonymous said...

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Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

Musical, the addition of star anise is remarkable.. The pic of the star anise looked spooky though...he he :D

Tee said...

Looks delicious and comforting! I am constantly in search of recipes to cook eggplants which ar ein abundance in the grocery stores here...this recipe works perfectly for me :)

Dee & Chai said...

You and us think alaike(:-), that's why we love each other ! We have also posted an eggplant recipe- your recipe sounds yummy!

Manasi said...

Hi,where r u babe?? have tagged u for a MeMe if u
d like to play along!

Sia said...

musieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, wake up!!!!

Srivalli said...

musy..its been way too long gal..wake up..remember you got a blog to blog about and friends whom you got to entertain!...come on gal!...well I know how to get you all perked up..come drop in my blog, for I have something for you!

Shweta said...

Hi dear! How have you been? I finally posted after a really long time today. Had been feeling guilty for ignoring my blog, but just couldn't get to it! Hope I am 'really' back! :)

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Shubha Ravikoti said...

Looks too good... first time to ur blog and i loved it...:) do visit my blog too... would love to see u there

Alka said...

Hi musical(sorry i don't know how to address u),
Thanks for stopping by at and leaving those wonderful words for me to enjoy!
I felt in love with those words that u left as comment ,so much,that i changed the tag line of my blog
Need to go thru this wonderful work of urs,so will be back soon
Take care and keep cooking!

Srivalli said...

hey musy..still not remembered your blog?????...have seen you around but not on your own..whats up..hope things are fine with you!

Sia said...

same question as sri :)

bee said...

tomatoes do go so very well with eggplant. we made a thicker version of this recently.


AMIT said...

Delicious post.

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