I shamelessly copied my favorite restaurant's version of Shaahi Baigan. If you google that term you'll come up with a truly absurd amount of stuff, and some recipes want you to toss around turmeric and tomato paste, but this is my tasty tasty recipe. Do not make this recipe if you do not like cardamom. (If you do not like cardamom you have more problems than I can help you with.)
Take 1/2 cup of cashews and start them soaking in hot water.
Dice 2 small or 1 large eggplant into chunks. Salt liberally and rinse after about 15 minutes of sweating. (My stepdad taught me this step, it helps keep it from being bitter.) Toss with oil or ghee and roast the eggplant in the oven at 450 for 30 minutes.
Once the eggplant is ready, toast up your spice mix with ample butter:
- 1 Tbsp ground cardamom (you could go lighter if you really want, but why?)
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- several cloves of fresh garlic
- 2 tsp powdered ginger or fresh grated ginger
Fry up one chopped onion with the spices.
Blitz your cashews with a about a cup of reserved soaking water until you have very milky liquid & small bits of cashew. Add this and the eggplant and combine. You can add cream at this point, but you don't have you. Let it cook down until it's the right texture and heated through, and serve with garlic naan.