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Mahä brinjal
(Pureed eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes)

Mahä means “great” and brinjal means “eggplant, “ the most popular of all vegetables in India. This dish is made by cooking the vegetables until they form a thick sauce. Mahä brinjal goes well with a light rice and hot chapatis.

Preparation and cooking time: 40 min

2 lbs (900 g) eggplant, peeled and diced
1 lb (450 g) fresh spinach, washed, stemmed, and chopped
2 lbs (900 g) tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and chopped
5 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
1 or 2 dried chillies, crushed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
2/3 cup (150 ml) water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
21/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Heat the ghee or oil in a large saucepan and fry the chili and the ground coriander for a few seconds. Follow with all the other powdered spices, fry a few seconds longer, then immediately drop in the eggplant cubes. Stir-fry gently over medium-high heat until the eggplant becomes soft and begins to release its seeds.
Now stir in the chopped tomatoes, spinach, and water. Mix well. Partially cover the saucepan and simmer (stirring occasionally) for about 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is very soft. Turn up the heat to medium and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently, until the spinach, eggplant, and tomatoes have merged into a thick velvety sauce. Finally, season with the sugar, salt, and garam masala. Mix well.