This fried eggplant pickle was the dish that first sparked my love for Sri Lankan cuisine. The first time I tasted brinjal moju was at a roadside eatery in the remote village of Mankada. It was unlike anything I had ever eaten: the subtle tanginess from the coconut vinegar and the slight sweetness from the sugar and fried eggplant worked brilliantly together. This is the recipe
Slice the eggplants in half and then into quarters lengthways. Place the eggplants in a bowl with the turmeric and 1 teaspoon salt; toss to coat well. Add the curry leaves and set aside.
Heat the coconut oil in a small wok to approximately 160°C (315°F) (a cube of bread dropped into the oil will brown in 30 seconds). Mix the shallots with a pinch of salt, then deep-fry the shallots for 3 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Deep-fry the chillies for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel. Deep-fry the eggplant and curry leaves in two batches for 3—4 minutes, or until golden brown, being careful not to overcook them. Remove and drain on paper towel.
In a heavy-based saucepan or clay pot, combine the fried eggplants, shallots and chillies. Add the ground mustard seeds, garlic paste, chilli powder, extra turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, coconut vinegar and coconut cream. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until the coconut cream has evaporated. Serve with a main curry and rice.
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