This is one of the recipes I adored as a guest in a jain friend’s home. People following the religion of Jainism are vegetarian and do not consume any root vegetables. Hence, their food has always been a mystery to me as I come from a culture where garlic and onions are considered as essential ingredients in most recipes.
Anyhow, every Saturday we’d follow a religious day and only eat vegetarian, that meant not eating root vegetables either. So, my mum would often pick up inspiration from jain recipes and this is one of the things I grew up eating. It is easy, quick and the spices are easy to find.
1 whole aubergine, diced
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder (more if you like it hot)
1tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Tamarind paste (to taste) or vinegar/lemon juice
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
Heat oil in a pan and temper cumin seeds. Add aubergine and the spices with a splash of water. Cook the spices until the water has nearly evaporated and then add more water, tamarind paste, sugar and salt. Let it simmer until the aubergines are cooked and the water is dry.
It has a sticky constancy, not too dry, not to runny.
Serve with rice and dal. It also makes a nice side to be served with pasta or a bed of couscous.