While visiting Lucknow, a house cook made this dish for our dinner. Traditionally it involves a quick-smoking technique called dhungar, with coals of nonaromatic wood, but it's also good unsmoked.
- 3⁄4 lb. small (about 4"–6" long) eggplants
- 2 cups whole-milk yogurt
- 1⁄2 -1 green serrano chile, stemmed and minced
- 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds, toasted, finely ground, and sifted
- 1 tsp. garam masala, sifted
- 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 4 onion "cups"
- 4 Tbsp. usli ghee, melted
- Leaves of 1/4 bunch cilantro