As I mention often, my preferred way to char or roast eggplants is on our covered BBQ. It cooks them so much better than over a flame on a stovetop or in the oven. And recently I have started smoking vegetables while they cook in the BBQ, using some rice, tea and herbs – it gives the eggplants a smoky flavour, just as though they have been roasted over a wood fire. To do this, layer some rice, a Tblspn or so of tea leaves and some herbs in a foil pan, and allow to heat with the BBQ. When it begins smoking, add the eggplants. If it smokes too much, add a sprinkling or two of water. Remove the smoking pan from the BBQ after 10 – 15 minutes. It can be left for longer if only smoking a little.
This recipe is Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt, a typical South Indian dish, one of many Tamil Pachadi recipes which are generally a cooked and mashed vegetable mixed with yoghurt and spices. It is a South Indian version of the North Indian Raita. Eggplant pairs particularly well with yoghurt. Use it as a side dish or like you might use a salad, for any meal, particularly South Indian meals.
Meenakshi Ammal has a recipe very similar to this in her Vol 1. of Cook and See. There is also a variation that she includes and I will make that and share later.
Similar recipes include Marinated Eggplant with Tahini and Oregano, Bitter Melon Pachadi, Snake Gourd Pachadi, Baingan Ka Salan (with Poppy Seeds), Smoky Aubergine with Tomatoes and Sweet Peppers, Crispy Okra Pachadi, Boondhi Pachadi, and Cucumber Pachadi.
Sutta Kathirikkai Thayir Pachadi | Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt
1 large eggplant (brinjal)
2 cups yoghurt
1 tspn coriander leaves, chopped
0.25 tspn sea salt
0.5 tspn brown mustard seeds
3 green chillies, or to taste, finely chopped
1 tspn ghee or Indian sesame oil
Rub the eggplant with oil and roast over a flame (stove top or on a BBQ flame) until the skin is charred and the eggplant is soft. Peel off the charred skin and mash the flesh.
Beat the yoghurt, and mix through the eggplant flesh and a little salt.
Heat the ghee or oil, add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add the green chillies and stir for 5 seconds or so. Add the oil and spice to the yoghurt. Mix through.
Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve as a side dish to any meal.