Spicy Mango Eggplant Rice

Eggplants, Raw green mango, red onion, pineapple (1 whole), Curry leaves, Urad dal, Chana dal, Whole coriander seeds, Cumin seeds, Dry red chilies, Black peppercorns, Peanuts.

1. Take a whole pineapple and with a sharp knife, slit it vertically.
2. With a melon-baller, scoop out the insides (just enough to make a depression in both parts).
3. Grate the pineapple and keep aside.
4. For the spice powders:
a. Curry leaf powder (you can buy this ready-made, but I tend to make my own fresh): Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and when they begin to splutter, add broken urad dal, 8 red chilies, and saute. Subsequently, a big bunch of fresh green curry leaves. Roast them till they turn crisp. Blend this whole mixture to a powder with salt and keep aside.
b. Spice powder: Roast a handful of whole coriander seeds, chana dal, 6 dry red chilies and 2 tsps of black peppercorns in ½ tsp of oil and blend them into a powder and keep aside.
5. Take one big green mango. Grate a quarter of it and chop the rest into very small cubes.
6. To a big glass bowl, add 1 cup of rice and add 2 cups of water and add the grated pineapple and grated mango to it. Place it in the microwave for 10 minutes. Stir it at the end of 10 minutes and cook it for another 6 minutes till the rice is done and the grains are separate. Fluff this with a fork and ensure that there is no residual water at the bottom. (Note: this process depends on the power of your individual microwaves. You may need to tweak the timing based on that).
7. Cut 2 Japanese eggplants into 1” cubes.
8. Finely chop 1 red onion.
9. In a big deep pan, add some sesame oil (or regular canola oil ). Add mustard seeds and when they begin to splutter, add chana dal and urad dal and 2 dry red chilies and a handful of peanuts. Saute the mixture till it turns brown and add the onions.
10. When the onions are translucent, add the eggplant and mix well.
11. Add salt, ½ tsp of turmeric powder, a pinch of asafetida.
12. Add 4 tbsps of the Curry leaf powder and 4 tbsps of the Spice powder and mix well.
13. Cover the pan, do not add any water. Reduce the heat. (The condensation from the lid will cook the eggplant).
14. When the eggplant is almost done, add half of the chopped mango and mix well. (The eggplant should be al dente and not cooked down to make it squishy).
15. Turn off the heat and add the cooked rice and mix everything together. Take care to ensure that the eggplant does not break up in the process.

SERVING: Take a big flat platter and place the two halves of the cored pineapple on it. Spoon the rice into the pineapple and around them. Top with the remaining fresh cubed green mango.

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