Bengalis are renowned for their love of mustard seeds. Both the seeds and oil are used prevalently in their cooking. My friend Rita, who grew up there, made this as part of a delicious lunch with warm naan bread. The pungent oil adds a nutty flavour to the silky eggplant and the whole spices add delicious pops of texture.
Cook the eggplants over a gas flame or on the barbecue, turning regularly for 10 minutes or until the skins are blackened and charred. Put them in a colander over the sink to allow the bitter juices to drain away. When cool enough to handle, peel the eggplants and discard the skin.
Chop the flesh and put it in a bowl with the yoghurt, onion, chilli, coriander, nigella and salt. Combine well, then spread the dip over a serving dish.
Heat the mustard oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, cumin seeds and mustard seeds and shake for 1-2 minutes until the seeds start to pop and the garlic turns golden. Remove from the heat and pour over the eggplant dip. Serve with warm roti, naan or flatbread.
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