This is my own personal take on a typical eggplant-tomato dish. Normally the tomato sauce has sugar added, to give it a sweeter taste, so instead I have made it with dried figs.
2 tomatoes (the oval shaped, Roma variety are always best for cooking)
2 green or dried red chillies
4 dried figs, soaked in water until soft
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 bay leaf
2 cardamom pods (optional)
3/4 teaspoon painch phoron (bengali five spices- see here: Spices and Useful Ingredients)
1/4 teaspoon hing/asoefetida
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground into powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Cut the eggplant into medium-large sized pieces (long-ways, not round), and mix with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Leave for 20 minutes.
- Heat some 2 spoons oil, and fry the eggplant until it starts to become a little soft and changed colour. It does not have to be completely cooked. Remove from the oil into another plate.
- Chop the figs into small pieces. Cut the tomatos in half and then grate them, so that you have the pulp, but not the skin. Or, cut then into small pieces.
- Mix the ground cumin seeds and grated ginger in a little water (it should not be liquid, just a little wet, like a paste.
- Heat 1 teaspoon oil, and add the chilli, painch phoron and cardamom pods, until the seeds start to pop. Add the ginger-cumin paste and hing. Cook until it becomes dry, stirring all the time. Add the tomatos, figs, salt and tumeric. Cook until the tomato starts to become dry. You may also add a little sugar if you want a sweeter taste.
- Now add the eggplant pieces and then add water. The water should be enough that by the time the eggplant it completely cooked, the tomato is thick, not very liquid. (The amount of water will be lower than the quantity of eggplant).
- Cook on low heat until eggplant is soft. Make sure the eggplant is nicely cooked!
- Personally, I think this recipe taste best if you will leave it for around 15 minutes after cooking, so that the eggplant absorbs the flavour of the tomato.