My People — the Sindhis — have made a lot of contributions to world culture, but I must say this ranks as an important one. Sindhis discovered that spinach and eggplant, when cooked together, meld well, marry well, and make a tasty nutritious brew.
Not only is this technique explored in the very famous Sai Bhaji, but in this rather less well-known dish as well. It goes well with rotis, but would go on the side of rice very well too, if you have some plain yogurt on the side. A very nice accompaniment would be yellow rice — cooked with some garlic, salt and turmeric powder (recipe forthcoming).
I found this recipe in this book and as usual made some modifications.
The Eggnach — eggplant and spinach dish
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1 regular-sized eggplant
- 1 medium tomato or 2 small ones
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- half and inch piece ginger
- 2 serrano chilies or several smaller birds-eye chilies
- half a teaspoon coriander powder
- half a teaspoon cumin seeds
- half a teaspoon red chili powder
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon ghee (optional)
Rinse and chop the vegetables.
Chop the garlic, ginger and chili. Give them a pounding in a mortar and pestle after sprinkling a bit of salt on it to add a bit of roughage and to draw out moisture.
A note about salt: it draws out moisture! This is an incredibly useful fact that helps out in various ways. In this case, I pound it with a bit of salt, so that the paste self-makes itself, without adding even a splash of water.
Salt also pre-cooks food as it draws out the moisture, at least that is how I think of it. If you mince garlic, and salt it, in 10 minutes you will see that it has turned mushy and wet, and by the way, the taste of the garlic will not be as aggressive as when it is raw.
So anyway, getting back to our job. Pound those guys to get them to paste up. You don’t need to go the extra mile, just a simple smashing will do.
Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pot. When it shimmers, throw in the cumin, red chili powder and coriander powder. Now enters the garlic/ginger/chili paste. Let it sizzle. Now in tumble all the vegetables, chopped. Salt them, stir them around, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes on medium first, then, when it comes to a boil, on medium-low.
Everything you have in there is quite mashable by this point. So attack it with a potato masher or simply the back of your spoon.
If you like, top it with a teaspoon of ghee, and possibly a sprinkle of lemon juice, and you are done.