Oh man, Dino’s book has some greatness in it. Yesterday I went with his eggplant planks and gravy but changed it slightly. Let’s dig in.
- 1 eggplant
- Cumin seeds
- Coriander seeds
For the gravy I used you need
- Vegetable stock
- Tomato Sauce
To begin, set your oven to 400 degrees and get it going, toss some jasmine rice in a rice cooker and get it going as well.
Alright the eggplant couldn’t be simpler. I used a regular fat normal everyday eggplant. When shopping for eggplant make sure you pick them up and feel them. It should be firm but not hard as a rock; it should have some give but not be squishy. It should also be heavier than it looks like it should be. If its light get another one and don’t waste your money on that one, if it’s squishy and mushy move on to the next.
To prep the eggplant I cut off the side with the leaves and the tip on the bottom, then I slice the skin off of just 4 sides do it looks like its striped down the sides. Then cut it into 1/2 inch rounds and set on a wire rack on a baking sheet (if you don’t have a wire rack get one, but don’t sweat it for now), a griddle pan will work just as well as long as it is oven proof (meaning a metal handle).
Take all the spices and use a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder) and grind until nice and powdered. I used about a tsp of everything except clove, I went a little light on the clove, you can go as heavy as you want. Mix them with about 2 tbsp of oil and stir. Lay out the eggplant rounds on the rack and brush the mixture on one side of each, then pop in the oven for 20 minutes.
While these are cooking let’s make the gravy. Dino called for simple gravy of peanut oil and veg stock but I wanted something a little more robust, so I added some tomato sauce. Start with a tbsp of oil, heat in a pan until hot, add the tbsp flour and stir, cook this down until it turns a light brown/blonde color. This is a roux. Add the vegetable stock, about ½ a cup at first and watch it thicken up, you want to add enough vegetable stock until it’s the consistency of a thin gravy. Once you get there let it simmer for a few seconds to make sure it isn’t going to thicken back up. Add a few tbsp of tomato sauce, I used 4, you can use more or less. Add until you like the flavor, or leave it out all together and be happy with the regular gravy. Salt and pepper the gravy to taste and its ready.
Set a nice big mound of jasmine rice on your plate and place some eggplant rounds on it, top with the gravy and enjoy.