We love eggplant. This is an adaptation of a Mardhur Jaffrey recipe, from the early days of our self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic (March, 2020). I hadn’t been able to do much cooking since our arrival in Vancouver—Mary Jo had taken over that job—so I really enjoyed this opportunity to chop things up! I also made Keema Matar—a beef and chickpea stew and Basmati rice.

4 Japanese eggplants
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 fresh hot green chili, seeded and finely chopped
3 tbsp cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
zest and juice of ½ a lemon
2 tsp garam masala (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Trim the ends off the eggplant, cut lengthwise in half, then into ½ or ¾ inch slices . Place skin side down on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour. Remove the cooked eggplant from the oven and pile on a sheet of tin foil and seal the packet tightly.

Using a small food processor, blend the onion, ginger and garlic into a smooth paste. Add 3 tablespoons of water and continue to blend for about a minute.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Pour in the paste from the blender and add the turmeric and cumin. Sauté this mixture stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. Add the green chili and cilantro and stir for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the eggplant to the sauce and cook for 10-15 minutes, seasoning with lemon juice and salt. To serve, garnish with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of garam masala (if you wish).