I love eggplant so much. It is definitely in my list of top 10 foods. I make Italian and Greek inspired eggplant dishes but never have tackled an Asian eggplant recipe. The first time that I had an Indian eggplant dish was in the spring at a restaurant in Media, PA near my daughter's college in Swarthmore. It was so good and has left me craving it ever since. It is a vegetarian dish made with roasted eggplant, onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, jalapenos, peas, and lots of spices. Savory, sweet, spicy, creamy - perfect. Served with basmati rice and garlic naan - oh yeah! Well, when I got several eggplants in my CSA box, I just knew that I would have to try and recreate the baingan bhartha from Shere-E-Punjab.
I searched all over trying to find a recipe that seemed to match what I had at the restaurant. I distinctly remember peas and tasting garam masala. The waiter had asked how spicy I wanted the dish and I responded with 8 out of 10. He seemed a little surprised that I would want it so hot but it was perfect for me. I can handle spicy food. I finally found a recipe that seemed just about right on the blog showmethecurry.com - I followed their spice mixture pretty closely but did not have asofoetida so I went without it. I used only one jalapeno (I could have used a little more heat) and grilled two Japanese eggplants totaling just over a pound. I also used five plum tomatoes. The resulting dish was fantastic! I served it with basmati rice. I also made garlic naan from the same site - so good! It was great to step out of the box and try something new. The bad thing about this - no leftovers and I am already craving this dish again!!