With thanks to Kalpana, the original spice girl from Mixed Roots for this recipe!
This classic Sri Lankan dish with eggplant and black garlic is sweet and savoury with incredible flavours. It is surprisingly easy to make, and even easier to enjoy. It can be enjoyed hot as a side dish, or cold as a pickle. Either way, you will love it.
The original dish is quite oily, but if that's not your thing, just cut back on the amount of oil used. The flavours will still come through just fine.
Eggplant with Black Garlic (Wambatu Moju)
This classic Sri Lankan dish is easy to make and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. It is recommended to prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking.
2 medium size eggplants, cut into 1cm sticks
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 whole red, dried chillies
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
15-20 dried curry leaves
1 tbsp crushed ginger
1 tbsp Black Garlic Puree
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tbsp coriander powder
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nigella seeds
olive oil, up to 1/2 cup
Bring 2 tbsp of oil to medium / hot heat in a large heavy bottom pan.
Add 1/3 of the sliced eggplant at a time, and cook till browned. Stir occasionally so that while the eggplant browns, it doesn’t burn. (Add more oil as needed.)
Set aside the cooked eggplant and use the same pan to finish cooking.
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil and add the mustard seeds, snapped in half dried chilies and the curry leaves. Be careful of the spluttering mustard seeds. Turn the heat down to a medium / low to prevent burning and extra spluttering.
Add the sliced onion and stir through.
When the onions are translucent, add the sugar and crushed ginger. Keep stirring so the ginger doesn’t burn.
When the onions look caramelised, add the turmeric and coriander powder. Stir till well combined.
Add the vinegar and stir it all up.
Add the salt, followed by the nigella seeds and the Black Garlic Puree. Mix well.
Add back in the cooked eggplant and ensure all the pieces are well coated with the caramelised onion and spices..
Serve hot as a vegetarian side or topped onto flat bread. Also delicious cold with crackers, a sharp blue cheese, or some salty feta.
This keeps well in the fridge for up to three weeks. Just store in a jar with a lid.