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Beingan Bharta--Indian Eggplant
(measurements are approximate)

1 large eggplant
1 green chili - thinly sliced
1 pinch asafoetida (optional)
1 tsp mustard seed
2 tsps salt
1 medium onion, chopped
generous amount fresh cilantro, chopped
vegetable oil for frying

The eggplant should be grilled first to give the dish a nice smokey
flavor. You can do this either by putting the whole eggplant on
an outdoor grill and turning a couple of times, or you can grill
it on a gas range. First remove the stems and leaves so they won't
burn. Put down some tin foil in the well of the burner to catch
the juice which will come out. Place the metal burner on top and
grill the eggplant directly on it. The outside of the eggplant
will burn as the inside cooks, turn it frequently. Once cooked,
let it cool until you can comfortably handle it. Peel the skin
off--this should be easy because it is burnt, but if a little bit
of skin sticks, that's fine. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a
frying pan or wok. Don't let it get too hot, though--because you
want the heat on low as you add the mustard seeds. Let the seeds
pop gently in the oil, then add the onion. Fry until translucent.
Add the eggplant, asafetida, green chili, and salt. Fry for 5-10
minutes. Add the chopped cilantro about a minute before serving.
Enjoy with flat bread (naan or chapatis) or plain old pita.


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