This one, I had to try. I wanted to believe in the magic of smoking something inside the house. But unless one of my readers can come up with a way to make this smokiness much headier, then the risk of fire from this method is simply not worth it. Probably much easier to smoke the eggplants on (or in) a grill.
Smoked Eggplant Curry
Veggie Belly blog
6 cashew nuts
1 T butter, ghee, or vegetable oil
1/2 lb eggplant, American or Asian
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp lemon juice (or less, if tomatoes are already sweet)
For smoking the eggplant:
1 lump charcoal, about the size of a lemon (be sure to use charcoal that is chemical-free)
1 tsp vegetable oil
Roast the eggplant in the oven by coating loosely with olive oil, piercing with a fork and placing on the oven rack. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 50 minutes - until soft.
Boil a medium pot of water, and drop the tomatoes in whole and let them boil for about 60 seconds. Remove from the water, drain, and let cool. Peel tomatoes and discard the skins. Core the tomato. Place the skinned, cored tomatoes in a blender along with the cashew nuts and puree. Set aside.
Cut the eggplant into 1" cubes.
Heat butter, ghee or oil in a medium skillet. Add the eggplants, and let them brown a little on medium-high heat, about 4 minutes.
Then add ginger and garlic. Stir on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the garam masala and chili powder and cook another 30 seconds.
Pour in the tomato puree and salt. Boil for 7 minutes or till the eggplant is cooked and the sauce has thickened a little. If the sauce gets too thick, sprinkle some water over it.
Turn off heat. Taste the curry and add lemon juice, if using.
Hold a piece of charcoal, using tongs, over an open flame. You can do this on an open gas flame, or an outdoor grill.
Heat it till it becomes red hot. (Be careful, the hot coal may give out sparks, turn on your ventilator or exhaust). Now you need to work quickly. Place the red hot coal in a small bowl.
Immediately place the bowl inside the skillet with the eggplant curry. Pour the oil over the coal, so that it smokes. Quickly place a lid over the skillet.
Let the smoke from the charcoal infuse into the covered curry for about 6 minutes. The longer the charcoal bowl sits in the skillet, the smokier your curry will get.
Remove the bowl from the skillet, and discard the charcoal.