This dish is inspired by culture, history, and regional ingredients. The traditional name for this dish is Borani, which refers to the eggplant with a garlicky yogurt topping. It has ties to Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and India, so the origins are vague. However, because of the use of local flavors and easy preparation, this is a dish that can be consumed on a regular basis, as a filling snack or meal.
My version of this dish incorporates a little extra protein by introducing the chickpea element to the tomato sauce. This makes it more substantial, but also adds texture and color in the presentation. The element of nigella sides also enhances the rich deep flavor of the tomato sauce, which pairs so beautifully with the cumin crusted eggplant. The medley of spices also enhance each element of this dish to the next level, it’s one of this meals that will become a staple part of the menu, and one you will enjoy preparing as much as eating.
Cumin Crusted Eggplant
1 large eggplant
1 TBL Noor Oil
Spicy Tomato Sauce
3 large local tomatoes
1 medium white onion finely diced
1 clove of crushed garlic
1 TBL crushed ginger
1 ½ tsp nigella seeds
pinch of garam masala
1 tsp. coriander Powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp. chili Powder
½ crushed red chilies
1 cup of chickpeas soaked, seasoned and cooked through
Salt to taste
5 fresh curry leaves
fresh chopped coriander
1-2 TBL Noor Oil
1 medium container low-fat yogurt
2 tsp cumin powder
1 clove of crushed garlic
1 tsp dried mint leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Serves: 3-4 ppl Preparation Time: 1 hour (+ a couple of hours to1 day ahead of time for the eggplants to drain)
First step is to slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch Rounds sprinkle with salt and set aside for a couple hours or overnight. This will bring out all the bitter juices in the eggplant and result in a tastier eggplant.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C, After you’ve patted the eggplant dry, place in a bowl cover with Noor Oil, sea salt, and cumin seeds. Bake for about 20-30 minutes depending on thickness of eggplant. Turn once during the baking process. Remove from oven and keep warm.
While the eggplant is cooking prepare the tomato sauce. In a medium sauce pan heat 2-3 TBL Noor Oil. Once it reaches a medium high temperature, add the nigella seeds to release all the aromatics and oils. Now add the onions, ginger and garlic cook until soft and all the flavors have melded. Now add the tomatoes and seasoning (coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, crushed red chillies, salt). Stir until mixed thoroughly, If it starts to dry out, add a little water. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low add the curry leaves and chickpeas. Simmer for 5 minutes and lastly add the fresh coriander leaves, stir, and remove from heat.
Now make the yogurt topping by emptying the yogurt to a medium bowl. Add garlic, mint leaves, cumin powder, salt and pepper. Mix and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
When you’re ready to serve place all the cooked eggplant slices on a large platter, then top with tomato sauce, and last with a dollop of yogurt. You can also garnish with fresh coriander or mint of you like.