Baby eggplants are small eggplants that are plum-colored and are native to India. They are a staple to the Indian diet and are utilized in various traditional dishes. However, instead of cooking down the eggplant into a curry dish, we take a different approach to Indian baby eggplant.
First, we use some of those traditional Indian spices and bloom them in hot oil with ginger and garlic to create a deliciously fragrant and spicy topping! Then, we take that topping and evenly spread it over those tenderly roasted baby eggplant halves. Finally, we garnish those eggplant halves with yogurt, honey, cilantro, and mint!
The result is a delicious, lightly-spiced, and aromatic side dish that you can serve alongside any Indian or other main course!
So, let’s get cooking!
How to Select Baby Eggplant
When selecting Indian baby eggplants at the grocery store, choose eggplants that are firm to the touch, display visibly glossy skin, and feel relatively heavy. Beware of wrinkled skin, soft spots, or brown patches. These are indicators that the eggplant is spoiled and should likely be discarded.
What is Tadka?
Tadka (also known as “tarka”) is the technique of blooming spices in hot oil to catalyze the release of their natural oils. Blooming imparts intense fragrance and robust flavor to the oil. It only takes 1-2 minutes.
Storage of Spices
The shelf-life of whole spices is up to 4 years, whereas the shelf-life for ground spices is up to 3 years. Be sure to verify that your spices are not expired. When storing your spices, store them in airtight containers in a cool dark place. This step will ensure that the spices stay fresh for the maximum time.
How to Roast Baby Eggplant
Cut the baby eggplant in halves and place them in an oven-safe pan. Roast the baby eggplant halves in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius) for 10 minutes on either side until fork-tender. We recommend using a griddle cast-iron skillet for the roasting process so that your eggplant halves develop those attractive grill marks as they roast in the oven.
Purge Your Fridge
You just finished gobbling up our spiced baby eggplant, and you are left with the following ingredients:
- Greek yogurt
- Mint leaves
Here are some tasty options to get rid of the leftover ingredients:
- 2 baby eggplants
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ginger grated
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 1/4 cup mint leaves finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3/4 tsp salt
- ground pepper
Grate the Ginger and Mince the Garlic
- Grate the ginger and mince the garlic. Set aside.
- Finely chop cilantro and mint. Set aside.
- Pulse coriander seeds in a food processor. Set aside.
Preheat the Oven and Season the Baby Eggplants
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius).
- Slice the baby eggplant in half, lengthwise.
- Brush the flesh of each baby eggplant half with olive oil.
- Season the flesh of each baby eggplant half with 1/2 tsp salt and ground pepper.
Roast the Baby Eggplant
- Place a griddle cast-iron skillet on the stovetop at medium-high heat.
- Place each eggplant half flesh-side-down onto the cast-iron skillet for 2-3 minutes.
- Flip them flesh-side-up.
- Place the cast-iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip the eggplant halves flesh-side-down.
- Roast the eggplant halves for an additional 10 minutes or until soft throughout.
Bloom the Indian Spices
- Place a saute pan on the stovetop at medium-low heat.
- Add 3 tbsp olive oil and allow it to heat.
- Add ginger and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes or until fragrant and soft.
- Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and 1/4 tsp salt. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Spoon Spices onto the Baby Eggplant
- Remove baby eggplant halves from the oven.
- Spoon bloomed ginger, garlic and spices onto the flesh of each baby eggplant half.
Garnish the Baby Eggplant with Yogurt, Honey, and Herbs
- Drizzle honey and yogurt onto the baby eggplant halfs.
- Garnish with mint and cilantro.