I made this dish after a very inspiring visit to the incredibly delicious Cafe Kathmandu. We didn’t order eggplant bhutuwa (opting for a mustard greens and dahl dish instead) and I regretted it for days – being the eggplant lover that I am. So, I made this, and it was delicious, and I served it with couscous and avocado. Recipe to follow.
If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can use 1 tsp of dried ground ginger – use a scant 1 tsp. If you don’t have bay leaves, the world will go on. As always, feel free to substitute spices when necessary.
Regarding eggplant: I usually use Asian eggplants, which are the long, thin, lighter-purple variety. If you use fatter darker eggplants, note that they are more bitter, and you would do well to cut them beforehand, salt and drain the pieces, or blanch them quickly in salted water.
Here is the recipe:
Vegan Himalayan/Nepalese Eggplant Bhutuwa
1 small onion, diced
2 bay leaves
1 – 2 tbsp oil
Sauté onion in oil on medium-low heat in a medium-sized pan. Add the bay leaves after the onion is coated. While that’s happening, grab a small bowl and fill it with:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
1 – 2 tbsp fenugreek leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 vegetable bouillon cube, crumbled
1 tsp hot sauce or dried chili flakes
Salt and pepper
Once your onions are soft, add the spices to the pan and toast them for a minute or two. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add:
1 large potato, cubed
Stir-fry until the potato is about half-cooked and is browning. Add:
1 eggplant, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup hot water
Stir, bring to a boil, and cover. Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 7 minutes, until the eggplant has lost most of its whiteness and firmness. Remove the top and add:
1 tomato, diced
Stir and let simmer for another minute or two until the eggplant is totally cooked and soft. Serve with rice or couscous.