Monday, August 08, 2011

July 30-31, 2011: Spiced yoghurt eggplant & naan

July and August's calendar recipes were designed to be cooked together, and we found plenty of time to do this on the last weekend in July. I started out with the naan on Saturday - my dry yeast was a bit old and I couldn't work as much flour into the dough as the recipe listed, but they still puffed up nicely in the frypan. The test naan we nibbled was lovely, light and buttery though a little sweet for our taste.

On Sunday Michael took responsibility for the spiced yoghurt eggplant. The eggplant rounds soaked up staggering amounts of oil as we fried them - we'll use a much lighter touch next time. The sauce is a cinch to stir together but a little more care is needed to cook the eggplant in it, if you want to retain their shape. While they weren't exactly pretty they were very, very tasty. The naan was perfect for mopping up the extra turmeric-stained oil on our plates. Leftovers microwaved magnificently, stretching the meal into August as intended.

Spiced yoghurt eggplant
(a recipe that seems to be online here, here and here)

2 large eggplants
1 tablespoon oil
2 green cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
1 cup yoghurt
2 teaspoons fennel seed powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
more oil to fry

Slice the eggplant into thick rounds and fry them in oil until golden brown. You can deep-fry, shallow-fry or alternatively recipes say you can brush the eggplant in oil and grill it - though they may mean American grilling, which I'd call barbecuing or dry-frying. Drain the eggplant on absorbent paper once cooked.

Heat the tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the cardamom pods and asafoetida, tossing them around, then stir in the yoghurt. Add the fennel, turmeric, chilli and ginger powders, stirring to combine and cooking for about 4 minutes. Add the fried eggplant, gently layering them up and slathering them in the yoghurt as you go. Turn down the heat, cover the saucepan, and cook gently for a further 4 minutes. Season to taste and serve with naan and fresh greens.

(looks like it's sourced from

1 x 7g packet active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup castor sugar (I would use less next time)
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, stir together the yeast and warm water until the yeast is completely dissolved. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, after which it should be a bit frothy. Stir in the sugar, milk, egg, and salt, then gradually add flour to make a soft dough (the original recipe had 4 1/2 cups flour, but I couldn't work that much into it). Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes, until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a damp cloth and set it aside to rise for about an hour.

By this time the dough should have doubled in volume (mine hadn't, but I persevered anyway). Pinch off golf ball-sized portions of dough, roll them into balls and place them on a baking tray. Cover the tray with a towel and allow the dough to rise for a further 30 minutes. They should double in volume again (mine didn't).

Heat up and lightly grease a frypan. Roll out a dough-ball at a time into a thin circle or oval (mine were about 4mm thick) and lie them out in the frypan, cooking for 2-3 minutes on the first side. When it's lightly browned and a bit puffy, brush the top side with melted butter and flip the naan over to cook on the other side for 2-4 minutes. Transfer the finished naan to a plate and continue with the remaining dough. Serve warm with your favourite curry.


  1. Adore the mix of spices in that eggplant dish!

  2. I find with eggplant to go light on the oil for as long as possible (think BBQ but in a fry pan), with a little drizzle near the end of cooking, that way they get nice and smoky with minimal oil. This sounds lovely, although I'd maybe try chapattis rather than waiting for naan!

  3. Hi leaf - me too! Fennel seeds are a personal favourite. :-)

    Thanks for the tip Nudbot! We fried our remaining eggplants a couple of days later with just spray-oil and had good results. Not quite as browned but pretty close.