This is a richly flavored, spicy dip that is very easy to prepare. It is one of my favorite appetizers, and a good choice to acquaint newcomers to the flavors of curry. I highly recommend serving it with hot pita bread triangles so you can scoop it up, but it also works well as a spread on crackers.

MAKES 1Вј CUPS

1 medium eggplant (1Вј pounds)

3 tablespoons butter or Ghee

2 teaspoons ground coriander

ВЅ teaspoon turmeric

Вј teaspoon cumin seeds

в…› teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

ВЅ cup finely chopped tomato

ВЅ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons yogurt

2 tomato wedges for garnish

Fresh coriander or parsley sprigs for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 400В°F. Cut the stem end off the eggplant and discard. Prick the eggplant with a fork in a few places to prevent it from exploding when cooking, and place it on a pie plate or baking dish. Bake for 1 to 1ВЅ hours, or until the eggplant collapses and is very soft. Let sit for 10 minutes or so, or until cool enough to handle.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter or ghee in a medium skillet. Add the coriander, turmeric, cumin seeds, cayenne, and garlic, and toast these spices for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomato and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
  3. Scoop out the pulp of the eggplant into a medium bowl and mash very well. Add the spiced tomato mixture, salt, and yogurt, and mix well. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Spoon into a serving dish and garnish with the tomato wedges and the coriander or parsley sprigs. Serve with hot pita bread triangles.