Serve this pickle with any Indian meal and alongside Mango Chutney and a stack of poppadums. It’s equally delicious served with any cold roasted meats.
4 medium eggplants
2 teaspoonscumin seeds
2 teaspoonscoriander seeds
1 teaspoonfenugreek seeds
1 teaspoonfennel seeds
2 teaspoonsblack or brown mustard seeds
2 teaspoonsground turmeric
1/2 cupsunflower oil
1onion, finely chopped
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 in. (4cm)piece of fresh ginger
2 long red or green chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2red peppers, seeded and diced
1 rounded tablespoontamarind paste
1 cupwhite malt vinegar or white wine vinegar
5 rounded tablespoons soft light brown sugar
juice of 1 lime
Trim the eggplants and cut into 1in. (2cm) cubes. Place in a colander and sprinkle with the salt. Set the colander over a bowl and leave the eggplants to degorge (release their bitter juices) for at least 1 hour.
Place the cumin, coriander, fenugreek, and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan and toast over medium heat. When the seeds start to give off a lovely, toasty aroma and are just starting to brown, remove fromthe heat and finely grind using a mortar and pestle. Add the cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, and turmeric and set aside.
Rinse the eggplant cubes quickly under coldwater and pat dry on paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of the sunflower oil in a large sauté pan over mediumto high heat. Add one-third of the eggplants and fry until soft and starting to brown. Transfer from the pan to a bowl, and cook the remaining eggplants in batches in the same way.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in the pan and add the onions, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and red peppers. Cook overmedium heat for about 7-8 minutes, until soft and just starting to color. Add all the spices and continue to cook for another couple of minutes. Return the eggplants to the pan along with the tamarind paste, vinegar, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer, and continue to cook for another 30 minutes, until the pickle has thickened and the vegetables are very tender.
Taste the pickle and add fresh lime juice andmore salt, if needed. Spoon into sterilized jars and seal immediately. Once the pickle is completely cold, label the jars and store in a cool, dry place for at least 1 month before opening.
Store, unopened, for months in a dark, cool cupboard or pantry. Once opened and stored in the fridge, it will keep for at least 2-3 months.