We did eat our share of groundnuts or peanuts, boiled, roasted, made into sweet treats, mixed in with puffed rice etc etc. Other than the once in a blue moon groundnut chutney it never was a common ingredient in cooking.
I made the peanut gravy once and we have been hooked ever since. DH likes it, the kids like it and peanuts are a plenty in the pantry so every vegetable I fancy gets paired with peanuts but none more so than eggplants. Peanuts and eggplants are a match made in heaven and I have an unbroken record so far of clean plates to prove it. The trick is to not use too much peanuts, else it becomes blobby and not very appealing. I have played around with ingredients from various peanut based gravies to arrive at once that sits comfortable. The addition of a bit of coconut gives it the perfect gravy texture, not too blobby but creamy.
Thai eggplants, unlike their Indian cousins take a while to cook. Several times I have started cooking on a stove top only to transfer all the contents to a pressure to speed up the cooking process. These days I start and finish the cooking in the pressure cooker.
And that my dear friends is how this exotic gravy ingredient has taken hold in my kitchen.
Thai eggplants in a spicy peanut gravy
1. 8-10 Thai Eggplants (any kind would do) stem removed and slit but still intact
2. 1/4 onion chopped - 2 tbsp
3. seasonings: mustard, cumin and curry leaves
4. 1 cup of tamarind pulp from a small lime sized piece of tamarind
For the paste
1. 1/4 cup of roasted skinned peanut
2. 1/4 onion chopped - 2 tbsp worth
3. 6 red chilies
4. 1 tbsp grated fresh coconut
5. 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
6. 1 tsp cumin seeds + a few pepper corns
7. 1 tsp dried curry leaves powder or use about 10 fresh curry leaves
In a drop of oil saute the onions followed by the coriander seeds, red chilies and cumin, pepper corns followed by the coconut and curry leaves.
Start by powdering the peanuts first, add the rest of the ingredients and blend to a paste without adding any water.
1. If preferred stuff the egg plants first and set aside.
2. In a pressure cooker add a tsp or so of oil and add the seasonings followed by the onions and saute till they are translucent.
3. Add the brinjals and saute till they start to turn brown on the outside 6-8 minutes.
4.Add the peanut paste and the tamarind water and 1 cup of water along with salt.
5. Let cook for a whistle.
Tastes best with rice but goes with chapatis or parathas as well.