I wasn't a big fan of this recipe. I still vividly remember the big neem tree in front of our house growing up. Every spring, my mom would ask someone to cut some tender leaves of neem (margosa, Azadirachta indica) and saute them with eggplants.
We would try to get out of eating them. My mother would insist that we try some. "It is antibacterial and antifungal." Or "You wouldn't get chicken pox if you eat it," she said as she tried to coax us to take a few bites. We would and make faces as the bitter juices escaped and mixed with the rice and soft eggplants and then would quickly gulp it down.
Fast forward to last week when I found some leaves in the Indian store. I picked some up and brought it home. And double checked with my parents, because I was so surprised to find them here for the first time! The leaves were not so tender, but fresh enough. "What perfect timing," I thought, "just in time for spring cleaning!"
So this spring, we are doing an internal cleaning as well with some bitter neem or margosa leaves.
For the little ones, I boiled some leaves in water for a bath.
And for us, I recreated my childhood recipe of neem begun.
small bunch of neem/margosa leaves - the fresher the beter
1 small eggplant
1/4 tspoon turmeric
salt to taste
3-4 tbspoon oil
Chop the eggplant in small cubes, rub some salt and turmeric and set it aside.Tear the leaves and keep it aside.
Heat a pan with half the oil and saute the leaves with some turmeric and salt on low medium heat. Take it out. Add some more oil and saute the eggplants till they start to turn soft.
Once the eggplant is almost done, add in the neem leaves and cover it.
It is typically the first course and tastes best when mixed in with some rice. It is also said to increase appetite too along with all the other medicinal properties.
What are you doing this spring?