Eggplant Raita

Eggplant raita
Eggplant raita

Summer colours have started to drape our trees. I haven’t seen the yellow of the Laburnums (as yet) but the Flame trees have a burst of red on them. With summer temperatures soaring, it’s time for raita to be more regular on our tables. I usually make do with raw forms as in cucumbers and dhania/pudina pastes but sometimes, it’s raita with cooked vegetables. I picked up some tiny eggplants from the supermarket and thoughts of several eggplant dishes crossed my mind but gave up the idea as the fried version was so delicious. A bit of seasoning and they were good enough (to vanish)!

These tiny eggplants would be lovely in the Hyderabadi dish Mirch baingan ka salan. Or in another kind of curry with a rich gravy. Maybe next time. For now the thought of a raita was tempting enough!
300 grams thick curd
6 small eggplants
2 tbs vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Pinch of turmeric powder
Pinch of whole cumin and mustard seeds
Pinch of red chilli powder+extra for the garnish
A quarter tsp roasted cumin powder+ extra for the garnish
A small bunch of coriander and mint leaves, chopped fine

Eggplant raita
You can barely see the eggplant coated in all that curd!

Wash the eggplants and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Remove the stem ends and quarter them. (I used the tiniest ones from the batch).
Rub some salt and turmeric and set aside.
(There was no bitterness in the vegetable so I didn’t let them sit and sweat after a salt rub).
Heat the oil in a pan. Throw in the cumin and mustard seeds.
As soon as they sputter, add the quartered eggplants.
Cook for a few minutes then add the spices. Powdered spices have a tendency to burn so a bit of water can be sprinkled into the pan.
Keep it covered and stir in between.
Check doneness and remove from the flame.
Prepare the curd as the fried eggplants cool down.
Place the curd in a bowl and whisk it till creamy and no lumps remain.
Season with salt and powdered sugar.
(I like a hint of sweetness in raita. This is optional)
Add the finely chopped herbs. Mix well.
Add the fried eggplants and stir gently.
Decorate the raita with a fair sprinkling of roasted and ground cumin and chilli powder. You can add some whole mint leaves too.
Chill till ready to be served. Take it out of the fridge about ten minutes prior to serving.
Goes well with rice and rotis.

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