Cut the eggplants in half. Mince the onion, garlic, and ginger. You can also mince them separately in a food processor.
Dice the tomatoes. Again, you can just use a food processor if you want to make this easier.
Cut the bell pepper into bite sized pieces. Normally, I would recommend using boiled potatoes; we just didn't have any at the time.
Put the eggplants into a deep container, and either microwave for about 10 minutes, or toast evenly in an oven toaster. Once they're done, peel the skin.
Peel the skin using a fork or spoon, and set aside the fleshy part. Be careful since it's hot.
In a frying pan with oil, stir-fry the bell pepper for about a minute (and set aside).
Heat oil in the same frying pan, and sauté the cumin seeds. There will be some popping sounds.
Thoroughly sauté the minced ginger and garlic with oil.
Add onion, and continue sautéing until translucent. It usually takes about 5 minutes. Add all the ☆ spices and mix well.
Add tomatoes, and sauté until it becomes paste-like and some oil comes out. This extra step is crucial in making Indian curry.
Add the peeled eggplants into the paste from Step 10 and stir. Mix the eggplants well by mashing with a spatula.
It'll look like this. At this point, add salt and pepper to taste.
Add bell pepper from Step 3 and garam masala and mix well.
It's done! Serve together with naan and rice. This dish is called Baingan Bharta in Hindi.
Story Behind this Recipe
This is a popular vegetable curry made commonly in households in Northern India. Eggplants easily absorb oil, but if you cook them this way, you only use a small amount of oil and they still come out really good. After spotting a huge pile of eggplants sold at the store, I recalled this recipe and made it.
This recipe is for 1.5 servings. Please adjust the quantity according to the number of people served. I used bell peppers this time (which is delicious as well), but it's more common to use potato in India. See what you have in your fridge and if you do have a potato, boil and cut into bite-sized pieces.