1. Trim the crowns of the whole Indian egg plants. Rinse them in cold water, cut from the bottom into quarters just up to the crown so that the whole egg plants is intact at the crown and opens into quarters only from the bottom. Drain, towel dry and keep aside.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven or thick bottomed pot and deep fry them till they are crisp and shiny on the outside and soft and lightly browned on the inside. They look so yummy, you would want to eat them right away. Drain and set aside.
3. Dry roast lightly the peanuts, sesame seeds, poppy seed, cumin seeds and methi seeds separately, let them cool down completely then pulse them together coarsely. To this dd 4 tbs of water or a little more and grind to a paste. Do not grind the roasted seeds when they are still hot as all the flavour will be lost because of the heat.
4. Heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a pot or wok. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle add the dried red chillies and curry leaves followed by the onion paste. Fry it a little on medium heat till the water evaporates, then add the garlic paste and the ground masala from step 3.
5. Fry the masala in the oil, adding a little (1-2 tbs) water if too dry. Now add the fried egg plant to the pot, sprinkle 1 tsp salt and mix well with the ground masala gently by turning over the egg plants slowly from the bottom of the pot one by one taking enough care not to break them. Toss in the whole green chillies after removing their stems. Leave the egg plants on simmer to cook and soften a bit while you prepare the tamarind juice. Take care not to let them turn mushy.
6. Soak the tamarind in a little water then squeeze it with your fingers to extract the juice. Strain the juice into the pot over the egg plants. With your oven mitts or gloves hold the pot on the sides and slowly swirl to mix the tamarind juice with the egg plant masala.
7. Now add 1 tbs vinegar, then taste and adjust the salt till it reaches the bliss point. Then sprinkle a tsp of brown or cane sugar and let it simmer for a while till the oil comes on top.
8. As a finishing touch sprinkle a pinch of roasted cumin and fenugreek powder (for extra flavour), let it simmer for a couple of minutes and then turn off the heat. During the whole process of cooking enough care should be taken not break the egg plants, or let them stick to the bottom or turn mushy.
9. Serve warm as a side dish with Biryani or any other rice. Enjoy!!
* To make roasted cumin and fenugreek powder, roast 2 parts of zeera to 1 part of fenugreek seeds separately, cool completely and then grind to a coarse, but not very coarse powder to use in chutneys, sour curries etc.