Eggplant, or aubergine, or brinjal, has become one of my favourite vegetables over the years. It’s fabulous in any type of cuisine be it Chinese (in spicy garlic sauce, yum!), Greek (Moussaka, my favourite), French (Raaaaatatouille), Japanese (Nasu Dengaku, anyone?), Malay (Sambal eggplant… and more), you name it, there is bound to be a recipe for it.
Some interesting facts about eggplant (partly stolen from my old blog):
1. It’s a fruit – It is part of the nightshade (Solanacene) family, which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, and chili peppers.
2. Tobacco is also a member of the nightshade family. Thus like tobacco, eggplants contain nicotine!
3. Italy, China, Turkey, Egypt, and Japan are the earth’s greatest producers of the eggplant. The Italians call it “melanzane,” which means “crazy apple.”
4. According to a 5th century Chinese scroll, fashionable Chinese women used to make a dye out of the skin of purple eggplants and polish their teeth with it until they were a shiny gray. (sexay!)
5. One cup of cooked eggplant has only nearly 28 calories, and at almost 10% of your daily fiber, they are also high in copper and potassium.
So I had a surplus of Eggplants from over-enthusiastic groceries shopping, and I ended up googling uncommon recipes to use them up. And then I found (and made) this:
Having never heard of the term Kasundi, I did a little research: Kasundi is actually a rich, unctuous tomato relish/pickle originated from India. Specifically, it’s a Bengali recipe. Traditionally this is made in big batches because it tends to last quite long due to the sugar, vinegar and spices. I’m not sure if adding Eggplant is a common practise but my guess is that this is more of a “bastardised” version, but nonetheless delicious. I had no intention of jarring it though as I know we’d be able to finish it in a day or two.
Eggplant Kasundi (Recipe from Taste.com.au)
1 Eggplant (around 300g), cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Brown onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 Green Chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
400g can Diced Tomatoes
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 tablespoon Malt vinegar
Coriander to Garnish
To minimise oil absorption (if you have cooked eggplants you would know how much they suck up oil!), salt the eggplant for at least 20 minutes, then wash and dry.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat until almost smoking. Cook eggplant (in batches if needed), stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium. Cook the onion, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until golden. Add mustard seeds and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the seeds start to pop.
Add the ginger, chilli and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until soft. Add the cumin, paprika and turmeric and stir to combine.
Add the eggplant, tomato, sugar and vinegar and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring, for 30 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly. Serve with bread, rice or papadums.
This Kasundi definitely packs a lot of heat with the chillies as well as the mustard, but at the same time has a balance of sour, sweet and savoury notes with a hint of bitterness from mustard seeds and eggplant seeds (although salting it has reduced the bitterness a great deal). By the way, this is totally vegan, and totally good for you. We actually had this with pasta (rebels, we are) and it was quite addictive. As a result, I only had a little bit of leftover and I made this for lunch today.
I like making my ‘Instant noodles’ this way. Just buy packets of noodles (just noodles, no seasoning, non-fried ones are even better), and use my own stock + flavourings. I usually go crazy with toppings too. Don’t judge! 😛
Do you like eggplants as much as I do?