Sautéed Eggplant and Bell Peppers

-Recipe from Yamuna mataji

          This dish can be made with green, red or yellow bell peppers, all yielding wonderful flavor and color variations. The eggplant is steamed prior to its browning in seasoned ghee, a step that cuts calories to the minimum. Fresh garam masala puts of distinction on the dish.

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 4 or 5
½ teaspoon (2 ml) caraway seeds
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cardamom seeds
½ -inch (1.5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick, crushed
½ teaspoon (2 ml) cumin seeds
½ table spoon (7 ml) coriander seeds
3 whole cloves
6 black peppercorns
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) freshly ground nutmeg
3 table spoon (45 ml) ghee or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) black mustard seeds
3 green, red or yellow bell peppers (about 1 pound/455 g), stemmed, seeded and cut lengthwise into thin strips
1 medium-sized eggplant (1-1 ¼ pounds/455-570 g) cut into ¾ -inch (2 cm) cubes and steamed until tender
½ teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
1 ¼ teaspoons (6 ml) salt
2 table spoons (30 ml) chopped fresh coriander or parsley
¼ cup (60 ml) yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature (optional)

1.    To make the garam masala, combine the caraway seeds, cardamom seeds, crushed cinnamon, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves and peppercorns in a spice or coffee mill and grind to a powder. Add the nutmeg and blend well. Set aside.
2.    Heat the ghee or oil in a large, heavy nonstick frying pan over moderately high heat. When it is hot, but not smoking, add the mustard seeds to fry until they sputter and turn gray. (You may want to use a lid or spatter screen to prevent the seeds from scattering on the stovetop). Drop in the peppers and sauté until blistered and wilted (5-7 minutes). Remove and transfer to a plate.
3.    Add the eggplant, freshly ground seasonings and turmeric to the pan, then gently tossing, fry until slightly brown. Add the peppers, salt and fresh herb and toss to mix. If desired, fold in the yogurt or sour cream before serving.