Eggplant Bites

We turned novice vegetable gardeners at home this year. We planted a few different vegetables and they have been doing great so far (touch wood!). Checking on the plants every evening, watering, pruning when necessary, photographing them at different stages of growth is keeping us well occupied. It is pretty exciting to see the transformation of seeds into tiny saplings then into healthy plants producing flowers that turn into veggies. To make the most of our limited backyard space, we have been growing most of these plants in fabric pots from ‘Root Pouch’. They have handles on either side and are pretty easy to move around if needed and the plants have been growing great in them. We also added a small raised garden bed in which we added a few more plants that couldn’t be accommodated in the fabric planters.

We started most of the vegetables from seeds but for eggplant we bought 2 saplings of the ‘Black Beauty’ variety and planted them in the first week of June. In just a month, the plant produced beautiful purple flowers which then turned into these deep purple eggplants in another 3 weeks. We have been harvesting atleast a couple of eggplants every weekend for the last 2 weeks and are hoping the plants stay healthy and give more yield all through the growing season.

With the first eggplant that we harvested I wanted to make something quick and simple yet flavorful. Baked eggplant slices smeared with spicy coriander chutney and topped with fresh tomato relish sounded like a perfect idea. The mixture of tomatoes, onions and green chillies with a hint of fresh lime juice and coriander (which is pretty close to pico de gallo with the exception of using green chillies instead of jalapeno) compliments the baked eggplant perfectly and oozes a burst of freshness on every bite. We savored these for a light weekend lunch but it could be a great snack for any day.

Recipe –

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 to 25 mins

Ingredients –

  • Eggplant
  • 1 cup finely diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 4 or 5 finely cut green chillies
  • few teaspoons of lime juice
  • coriander leaves
  • coriander chutney

Instructions –

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice the eggplant evenly into 1/4th inch thick slices. Sprinkle with salt on both sides and leave aside for about 15 minutes so that it brings out the moisture to the surface. Pat both sides dry with a paper towel.
  3. Place the eggplant slices on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pop it into the oven and bake it for 20 to 25 mins flipping them once half-way. Keep an eye on them and remove from oven a few minutes earlier if they are starting to char.
  4. In a bowl, add finely diced tomatoes, onions and green chillies. Add some chopped coriander and a teaspoon of lime juice. Give it a good mix and set aside.
  5. Spread some coriander chutney over the baked eggplant slices and add a generous spoonful of the fresh tomato relish.
  6. Add a hint of lime juice and garnish with more coriander leaves before serving. These are going to fly off the plate in minutes.