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; hence its 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 not only 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 those meals that will become a staple part of the menu, and one you will enjoy preparing as much as eating.
This recipe is a three prong process, the preparation of the cumin crusted eggplant, spicy tomato sauce and savory yoghurt topping.
Cumin crusted eggplant preparation:
Slice the eggplants into quarter inch rounds, sprinkle with salt and set aside for a couple of hours or preferably overnight. This helps to remove all the bitter juices in the eggplant and result in a tastier eggplant.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
Remove the salted eggplant slices from the fridge and pat dry well, place the egg plants in a bowl with sufficient Noor Oil, sea salt and cumin seeds. Bake for about 20-30 minutes depending on thickness of eggplant, turning the eggplants over to the other side after 15 minutes in the oven for even cooking.
Once the egg plant is well cooked, remove from the oven and keep warm.
Tomato sauce preparation:
In a medium sized sauce pan heat 2-3 tablespoon of Noor Oil. Once it reaches a medium high temperature, add in the nigella seeds to release all its aroma and oils. Add onions, ginger and garlic and cook until soft, sauté continuously.
Add tomatoes and all seasoning powders (salt, coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, and crushed red chillies) and lower the flame. Sauté for a few minutes and add water and stir well.
Bring the resulting sauce to a boil, and then reduce heat to low adding in the curry leaves and chickpeas. Simmer for 5 minutes and lastly add the fresh coriander leaves, stir, and remove from heat and now we have the spicy tomato sauce.
Yoghurt dressing preparation:
Empty the yoghurt into a medium sized bowl, add in garlic, mint leaves, cumin powder, salt and pepper, mix well. Keep the yoghurt concoction in a fridge until it is ready to use.
When the dish is ready to be served, place all the cooked egg plants on a large platter, top them with tomato sauce and few dabs of yoghurt dressing, garnished with freshly cut coriander or mint leaves.