Monday, 14 April 2014

Baby Eggplant from India

Have you seen The Lunchbox?

In addition to being a truly lovely film about loneliness and regret, it falls into the category of movies that you shouldn't watch on an empty stomach.

A young homemaker named Ila cooks up the most amazing meals in her tiny kitchen and packs them up in a tin canister (tiffin) for the dabbawallah (delivery man) to pick up and take to an office in Mumbai.

While the system of transport is fascinating (so much so that it was studied by the Harvard Business School) it was the dishes that I found most appealing.

Particularly the one made from little eggplants, which was made over and over in the film, until the audience wants to reach through the screen and take a bite.

Or was that just me?

Shortly after seeing the movie, I came across these little beauties on sale at the market.

10 for a $1.

There was no recipe on the back of my movie stub (come on Sony Pictures Classics, why not do a little cross-marketing and tie in with a produce store) so I went straight to the internets.

Found a basic recipe for Hot and Sour Eggplant Stir-fry (see below, courtesy of Carla Hall of The Chew). It is delicious.

And perfectly satisfying until I am able to find the name and instructions for the actual dish in The LunchBox!

Hot and Sour Eggplant Stir-fry
Serves 4
5 small, stripy eggplants or Chinese or Japanese eggplants, trimmed, cut in eighths lengthwise, then cut in halves crosswise
Kosher salt
3 quarts warm water
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and minced, with seeds
1 tbsp. sugar
1½ tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 scallions (green onions), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp. sliced fresh basil leaves
1. Sprinkle the eggplant pieces with 1 tablespoon salt, then immerse in the warm water in a large bowl. Let stand while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, stir the chiles, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch until the sugar dissolves.
3. Drain the eggplant very well and press dry between paper towels. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add 1 tbsp. of the oil, then add half of the eggplant. Cook, tossing and stirring, until browned and just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and eggplant, and then return the first batch of eggplant to the wok.
4. Add the scallions and the chile mixture. Cook, tossing and stirring, for 2 minutes. Toss in the basil and serve immediately.


  1. Eureka! What a "satisfying, " bonus-filled movie review. Gratitude abounds, Auntie!

  2. I can't wait to see this!!!!!! Food movies YEAH,