TBS Mart
7836 Portland Avenue South
Bloomington, MN 
This past weekend, I bought vibrant bags of Japanese eggplants and okra from the Midtown Farmers Market.  I decided to check out TBS Mart, an Indian grocery store located off Portland Ave from 494, in search of spices to create my own eggplant curry and Bhindi Masala, two of my favorite Indian dishes.
I spent a lot of time exploring TBS Mart which had a fairly extensive selection of products.  I was especially fascinated with the large variety of spice mixes, snacks, and frozen foods.  The prices were affordable and the owner assisted me in finding some of the spices I could not find on my own including dried mango powder (amchoor) and asefetida.
The asefetida came in a unique bottle and smells like gasoline.  Upon further investigation, I have learned it is a powdered root that has many medicinal properties.  When cooked, it is supposed to mellow and taste similar to leeks.  This must be true because my eggplant curry and Bhindi masala were delicious and did not taste like the raw form.

I was inspired by this Baingan Bharta recipe from Manjula’s Kitchen and altered the recipe to fit my tastes and the ingredients I had.  Overall, I am very satisfied with how this recipe turned out.

TBS Mart  had a fascinatingly large selection of frozen flat breads.  This bag of frozen roti contained 8 flat breads.  The roti tasted best when heated in a hot skillet with a small amount of ghee.  Unlike the original recipe, I chose to saute diced eggplant because I prefer this texture, and left the skin on.  I find skinny, light purple Japanese eggplants are tender and I do not notice the skin.  In addition, they lack the bitterness and seeds of larger, dark purple eggplants.

Spicy Curried Eggplant Dish

-3 Japanese eggplants, cut into a small dice.
-1/2 red onion, diced
-Ghee (clarified butter)
-1 minced Thai chili
-1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
-1 pinch of asefetida
-1 teaspoon of coriander powder
-1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
-1/2 teaspoon of cayenne powder
-1/4 teaspoon of garam masala
-1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger (fresh ginger would be best)
-1 teaspoon of salt
-2 cups of chopped mustard greens
-Juice from 1/2 a lime.

In a preheated pan, saute the eggplant and onion in a couple spoonfuls of ghee.  Cover and occasionally stir until tender.  Add a little more ghee and toast the cumin seeds and asefetida.

Add the Thai chili.  Next, add the coriander powder, turmeric, cayenne, garam masala, ginger, and salt.

Toss in the mustard greens and saute until wilted and tender.

Lastly, add the juice from 1/2  lime.

Serve with hot flat bread such as naan, roti, chapati or paratha.  If you are gluten-intolerant, serve with a grain.  I like to garnish with dollops of thickened yogurt and spicy mango chutney.  I diluted the lebneh with water and lime juice and flavored with diced red onion, garlic, and a small amount of sugar.

You could add so many vegetables to this recipe and it would taste wonderful.  If I made this recipe again, I would definitely add tomato and cilantro.