We wait with great anticipation all year long, waiting for the summer to bring both grilling weather and fresh local eggplant. Once it’s here, we make this recipe repeatedly, regardless of the flavors of the other food we’re eating – it’s just so good.
The recipe is from Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking, although I don’t believe we’ve ever made it quite like the original – it calls for using very small baby eggplants, stuffing them and frying them whole. We prefer slicing slightly larger eggplants (Japanese or Italian, doesn’t matter), coating them in the spices and oil, and grilling them until soft. So all we’ve really borrowed here is the spice blend, and it’s a good one.
This particular batch of eggplants is from our usual source, Hedlin Farms in LaConner. Not only are they purty, but they’re wonderful – firm, sweet and almost seedless. We’re sad every time we go to their stand and they’re out of eggplant.
Grilled Spiced Eggplant
- 1 pound fresh young eggplants
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper
- 1/2 tsp amchoor (mango powder)
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Cut the eggplant into thick slices or wedges. Mix all the spices together and combine with the eggplant and the oil. A large bowl or a ziploc bag work well for thorough mixing. Refrigerate until ready to grill.
Grill over charcoal until the eggplant is soft and charred. Blackened is OK, too. Eat hot or cold.