This is a family favorite, whenever I make it, I also make double the usual number of rotis as we always end up eating more than our regular quota.
Here's how I make it:
Masala for stuffing inside the baby eggplants -
2 tsp canola oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
2 heaped tbsp of dry shredded unsweetened coconut
1 heaped tbsp of peanut pwd (dana koot)
1 heaped tsp dhana - jira pwd.
2 heaped tsp Maharashtrian Goda Masala
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd or to taste
2 tsp crushed jaggery
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp Salt or to taste
Heat the oil, add the onions and saute 5 mins. Add the coconut and peanut pwds. Saute 2-3 minutes on medium. Add the dhana-jira pwd, goda masala, red chilli pwd. Mix well. Add 1/2 cup of water and the jaggery and tamarind. Stir occasionally till jaggery melts. Add the salt, mix and take off heat. Cool slightly. This masala mix will absorb water the longer it sits. You can add a few more tsps of water later if it thickens.
For the bhaji/subji:
2 tsp oil (usually this bhaji uses more oil, but I limit it to 2 tsp)
12 - 15 baby eggplants
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 medium potato - diced (optional)
Cut off the stems at the top of the eggplants. Cut an X shape on the bottom of each eggplant. It should be a fairly deep cut since it will hold the masala mix. But it should not completely cut the eggplant into 4 pieces. Stuff about 1/2 - 1 tsp of the masala mix in each eggplant. There should be some masala mix remaining after stuffing all the eggplants.
Heat the oil in a wok/kadai. Fry the ginger and garlic pastes for 1 min. Add the potatoes & fry 2-3 mins. Gently place the masala-stuffed eggplant all around the kadai. Add all remaining masala and 1 cup water. Cover and cook on medium low for about 20 mins till the potatoes and eggplants cook well. Like with the masala mix, this bhaji will go on thickening the longer it sits. In that case you can add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup water and reheat before serving.
Enjoy with polis/rotis.
This Bharli Vangi goes to Viki's Kitchen for her Side Dish for Chapathi event.