Photo by Sabra Krock for the New York Times.
1 large eggplant
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp gound cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
4 cloves smashed, peeled, finely chopped
1 green chili finely chopped, seeds removed (optional--for extra heat)
1 tomato, diced
2 cups cooked garbanzo or chicken (optional)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of cilantro or basil, finely chopped
1. Prick the eggplant with a thin-blade knife. Grill over very high heat, turning as necessary until the skin is blackened and the eggplant collapses. Or broil, or roast on a heated cast-iron pan or in a counter-top convection oven at 450 degrees F. It will take about 20 minutes.
2. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel (this will be easy) and trim away the hard stem. Chop or mash in a bowl, with lime juice.
3. Toast spices in a dry skillet and set to the side.
4. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger (and green chili, if you'd like) and cook for another minute. Add the tomato, toasted spices and salt. Cook until the tomato is soft, 5 minutes or so.
5. If you would like for this to be a main dish, you can add two cups cooked garbanzo beans or chopped cooked chicken.
6. Stir in the eggplant purée and cook, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and cilantro and turn off the heat. Serve hot with warm chapati bread or pita, or over cooked rice quinoa.