Let me tell you about eggplant (“baigan”) choka. But first I want to talk about my mom’s cooking. My mother somehow always made every meal a memorable one for my sisters and I growing up. My love for cooking definitely started with me following her around in the kitchen. I particularly loved it when she made Indo-Trinidadian food. Now, although my mother is not of East Indian descent, she grew up in a town where her East Indian neighbors taught her how to make several Indian dishes. So it was not uncommon for me to open my lunch box at school to find homemade dhalpuri, sada roti or paratha along with spinach bhaji and curried chana. I later learned how truly privileged I was to have a mother who prepared such amazing meals for us every day.
One of my favorite Indo-Trinidadian dishes that my mother made was eggplant (also called “baigan”) choka that she served with sada roti and mashed butternut squash; this dish is similar to baba ganoush. The sweetness of the squash worked beautifully with the smokiness of the choka. Traditionally, eggplant choka is made by roasted the eggplant over an open flame, then combing the silky cooked vegetable with roasted tomatoes, salt, pepper and maybe a few other ingredients.
As a part of Breakfast Lovers Month, I’ve decided to share with you my version of Eggplant Choka. The eggplant can also be cooked using a grill or oven instead of an open flame.
Prep time: 10 minutes . Cook Time: 30+ minutes . Yield: Serves 4
1 Medium to Large Eggplant (~1.25 – 1.5 lbs)
4 Cloves Garlic, peeled
1/4 Cup Red Onions, finely chopped
1/4 Cup Cilantro, chopped
2 Medium Tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/4 Tsp Red Pepper flakes
Dash of cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Wash eggplant. Stick the whole cloves of garlic into the eggplant by cutting small holes into eggplant and pushing garlic into the holes.
2. Place eggplant and tomatoes on a grill or on an open flame or in an oven preheated to 400F.
3. Cook eggplant until tender all the way through; about 30-60 minutes in an oven. Cook tomatoes until a bit soft (and lightly charred if using a grill or open flame). Let eggplant and tomatoes cool.
4. Cut eggplant lengthwise and scoop out insides and put in a bowl. Discard skin. Remove skin from tomatoes. Add tomatoes to same bowl as eggplant. Mash eggplant and tomatoes until soft using a potato masher or fork.
5. Stir in red onions, cilantro, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well and serve with roti, pita, toast or as a side dish.
Nutrition per serving: 58 Cals; 13g Carb; 1g Fat; 2g Protein; 6g Dietary Fiber
Nutrition calculated using the MyFitnessPal Recipe Importer