100 g/31/2 oz/1 cup dried chick peas
2 slender eggplants (aubergines), about 500 g/1 lb
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup light vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ghee
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 fresh chilli, sliced
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida mixed with rice powder or peppercorn-sized piece pure asafoetida
3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 large red capsicum, diced salt to taste
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or coriander leaves
Soak chick peas overnight. Drain, cover with fresh water and boil until tender. To avoid overnight soaking bring to the boil in water to cover, turn off heat and leave to soak in covered pan for 2 hours. Change water and cook with half the salt and turmeric until tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving cooking liquid.
Wash but do not peel the eggplants. Cut into large dice or slice crossways 1 cm (1/2 in) thick. Sprinkle lightly with remaining salt and turmeric and set aside for 20 minutes. Blot moisture with paper towels.
Heat oil in a wok and fry the eggplant until brown and soft. Lift out with slotted spoon and put into a bowl. Pour off oil except for 2 tablespoons. Add ghee to the oil remaining in pan and fry the ginger, mustard and cumin seeds until ginger is golden and mustard seeds pop. Add sliced chilli and asafoetida, then the tomatoes. Cover and simmer until tomatoes are pulpy.
Add 1 cup reserved liquid from the chick peas and the peas themselves, the eggplant and diced capsicum. Simmer for 15 minutes or until tender, stirring from time to time, then stir in the garam masala, chopped mint or coriander and serve with rice or flat bread.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)