• 2 large onions
  • 1 1 inch cube fresh ginger
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 2 tsps ground coriander
  • 5 dried chili peppers
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 inches cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 6 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 4 tbsps tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsps dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsps salt


1. Peel and finely slice the onions. Peel the ginger and cut it into fine shreds.
2. Put the cumin, ground coriander, dried chiles, cloves and cinnamon into a clean coffee grinder or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Grind as finely as possible.
3. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes, leaving the skin on.
4. Put the oil in a large, preferably nonstick frying pan or large wok and set it over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the sliced onions and the ginger. Stir and fry for about 4 minutes or until the seasonings have a drying look but have not browned. Add the spices from the spice grinder. Stir for 1 minutes. Quickly put in 1¼ cups water and turn the heat down a little. Add the paprika, tamarind (or lime juice and sugar), sugar and salt. Stir to mix. Put in the cubed eggplant and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook gently for 20–30 minutes, stirring now and then, until the eggplant cubes are tender. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook most of the remaining liquid away. You should have just a thick sauce clinging to the eggplant pieces.


You can substitute 3 tbsps lime juice mixed with 2 tbsps dark brown sugar for the 4 tbsps of tamarind paste.
Another dish of Indian-Malay ancestry, this hot, sweet and sour pacheri may be made with fresh pineapple cubes as well.


Madhur Jaffrey


4 servings



Asian : South East Asian : Malayasian