Eggplant and lentils chutney known as kathrikai paruppu thuvaiyal in south India is very similar to baba ganoush, a popular middle eastern dip made with eggplant and sesame seeds. Fire-roasted eggplant is ground with spices and roasted lentils in this recipe from Meenakshi Ammal’s “Cook and See” part 1. This can be served as a dip or paired with rice or roti for a nutritious meal. Fire-roasting the eggplant gives the chutney a smoky flavor, you can roast the eggplant on stove top or oven. Personally i prefer the stove-top method but roasting them in the oven is definitely easier.
1/2 cup split pigeon peas/ toor dal
4 small eggplants
1 dried red chili
2 Thai green chilies
1 tablespoon+1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon split black gram/ urad dal
1 teaspoon tamarind paste mixed in 2 tablespoons of water
1/2 teaspoon powdered asafetida
1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon of oil in a pan. Add split pigeon peas and roast till the lentils turn golden brown. Set aside.
2. For stove-top method, turn 4 burners up, full throttle. Coat eggplants with a tablespoon of oil and place one eggplant on each burner. Using a pair of thongs, turn eggplants every 3 minutes or so until the entire surface of the eggplant is charred and crispy. Remove from burner and place on a plate to cool.
3. For oven method, preheat oven to 450F. Prick the oil coated eggplant all over with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20minutes. Let it cool.
4. Once the eggplant is cool enough to touch, peel the charred skin off the eggplant and discard. Place the flesh on a chopping board and cut into small pieces and set aside.
5. Heat 1/2 teaspoon of oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
6. Add black gram and powdered asafetida, let it cook for 30 seconds.
7. Add dried red chili and green chilies, let it cook for 30 seconds.
8. Place the above along with roasted eggplant, lentils, salt and tamarind paste in a food processor, process until smooth.