I have made this dish twice now and both times there has been no leftovers. Friends and family just cant get enough. It can be a bit complicate and lengthy to make but so is all Indian "inspired" dishes. Indian cooking is known for taking several hours to prepare and make which is why they are also so flavorful and aromatic and also kind of expensive. Even though once you get the hang of it this isn't that complicated of a dish I still may not recommend it to beginners. I strayed from even the original recipe from Melissa Clark when it came to suggested times and spice amounts but for the most part I owe everything good about this dish to her. Well-done Melissa!!!
This is not a good recipe if you do NOT like super flavorful and spice rich foods.
2lbs Eggplant (Italian)
1 large White Onion (halved and diced)
2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
2 Cups Tomato (diced)
1 15oz can of Chickpeas (drained and washed)
Cut the eggplant into ¼ inch pucks and salt on both sides. Lightly cover the pan in olive oil and fry the eggplant pucks (medium heat) until they are soft and until both sides are browned. The eggplant will suck up the oil like no other and it will be tempting to add more olive oil but as the eggplant softens it will also release a bit of the oil back into the pan so don't over do it. This step will take the longest time so you can prepare everything else as you do this. Once the eggplant is fried remove it and place it on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up excess oil.
Next add some oil to the pan and fry up the onions. When they become soft and golden (about 10 minutes) add the garlic and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add in your spices and mix it all up for a minute or two. CAN YOU SMELL THE GOODNESS??
Finally add the tomato, the chickpeas and about 2 tablespoons of water. Turn the heat up a little to medium-hot, partly cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes I usually add a pinch more of garam masala, paprika and cayenne and mix it in. After another five minutes I add in the eggplant that we previously fried up and let that continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes. The eggplant shout break down and really thicken up the dish.
If you want to see the original recipe and the Mint Chutney Melissa Clark paired with this dish you can check it out at: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017612-fried-eggplant-with-chickpeas-and-mint-chutney
Have any questions of feedback about this dish??? I would love to hear about it!!! Let me know in the comments below and I'll try my best to answer everyone back :)