Eggplant and Tomato Choka

This is Madhur’s method and barely modified. Of the handful of cookbooks I’ve used – I own only four – this is the best one. As far as I’m concerned choka (as M defines it anyway) is the perfect food for me. Vegetables simply prepared and then dressed with garlic, chiles, salt, aromatic spice, and hot oil – a very satisfying dish.

1 medium eggplant
3 medium tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (keep one crushed clove aside)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1 fresh hot red or green chile, finely chopped

for the final “choka”:

2 tablespoons olive, peanut, or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

Preheat the oven to 450. Line a baking tray with foil and spread out the eggplant and tomatoes on it. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and put in a bowl. Rotate the eggplant and continue to bake another 35 minutes, rotating every 6 to 7 minutes, until it has flattened and turned soft. Remove the eggplant.

Discard the liquid in the tomato bowl. Peel, remove cores, and coarsely chop them. Peel the eggplant and chop the flesh coarsely. Add three of the cloves garlic, the salt, pepper, and chiles. Mix well.

Heat the oil on medium high heat. Add mustard seeds. When they pop, add the garlic and cook just a few seconds more. Now pour the contents of the frying pan, oil and seasoning, over the eggplant and tomato mixture. Serve warm, at room temperature (my favorite), or chilled.

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