I improvised this recipe late last summer as part of my desperate campaign to hold at bay the endless flood of eggplant from my vegetable garden. It came out rather well and I’ve been trying to share it on the blog ever since. But you bastards shot it down in the recipes poll in November and December. I was tempted to just declare that it would be posted in January but I kept faith in the democratic process and it finally limped into the top four this month. (Now if we can only get justice in February’s poll for the masala spare ribs which have been shot down in the poll for four months straight.) Anyway, if you like pork and if you like eggplant you will like this. I guarantee it or your money back. Indeed, I may have to go get some long eggplant from the desi store and make it again for us. If you don’t have access to long eggplant, don’t fret: it’ll be good with regular globe eggplant as well. The only real controversy here is whether this should be named Baingan Masala with Pork Keema or Pork Keema Masala with Baingan. It’ll taste as good either way.
- 1.5 lbs eggplant, cut into thick wedges
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tblspn freshly pounded ginger
- 1/2 tblson freshly pounded garlic
- The following ground to a coarse powder:
- 2 tspns zeera/cumin seeds
- 2 tspns dhania/coriander seeds
- 1 tspn black peppercorns
- 1 tspn Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tspn methi/fenugreek seeds
- 1 tspn white sesame seeds
- 1 tspn fennel seeds
- 1 heaped tspn hot red chilli powder
- 1/2 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
- 3 tblspns Chinkiang vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tblspn jaggery
- 3-5 slit Thai chillies
- 2 tblspns chopped dhania/cilantro
- 2 cups water, fresh of the boil
- Neutral oil of choice
- Heat a tablespoon or so of oil over medium heat in a saucepan and add the ground pork. Saute, till a fair bit of fat has rendered and pork is beginning to brown a bit. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and keep aside in a bowl.
- Add the sliced onion to the hot fat and saute, stirring often, till it has softened and begun to brown.
- Add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minute or till the raw aroma is gone.
- Add the ground masala mix, the haldi and the chilli powder, mix well and saute for another 30 seconds or so.
- Add the sliced eggplant, the vinegar, jaggery and salt; mix it all in well and saute for 10 minutes or so, stirring often to make sure nothing sticks.
- Add the water, bring to a high simmer and cook till the eggplant has begun to soften appreciably.
- Return the browned pork keema to the pan and mix in carefully, taking care that the eggplant does not come apart.
- Add the slit green chillies on top, cover the pan and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Garnish with the chopped dhania and serve with chapatis or parathas (or tortillas)
- I say above that you can use globe eggplant if you don’t have long eggplant—just try to get on that’s longer than it’s thick and cut it into wedges; otherwise it may fall apart. It’ll still be tasty though.
- I do want to urge you to not substitute some other ground meat for the pork. Thai food has taught me that the marriage of pork and eggplant is a wonderful thing; and here the pork fat does wonders for the texture of the finished dish.
- Speaking of the finished dish, it should not be dry but it should not be easily pourable either.
- It should ideally be pretty hot to cut through the cloying textures of the eggplant and pork. [“How do you cut through textures with flavour?” Ed.]
- This is very good with chapatis or parathas eaten in the usual way of tearing off a bit of the chapati/paratha and folding it around the keema etc. But it’s also very good made into a roll in a soft paratha. You could even try it on/in a bun.