1. Soak tamarind in hot water and extract the juice.
2. Heat a pan and add a teaspoon of oil. Add coriander seeds, dried chilies, black pepper, chana dal, toor dal.
3.Fry on low flame till the dals start to change color. At the end add coconut and fry for a min.
4. Switch off the flame and allow it to cool. Grind these to a fine paste adding water, masala paste is ready.
5. Wash the eggplants, wipe them dry. cross( + ) cut keeping the crown portion intact.
6. Heat oil and fry the eggplants until they are 75% cooked. Reserve the used oil.
7. Heat 2 tsp of reserved oil in a pan and saute 1/2 cup shallots until translucent. add tomatoes, cook until done. Grind this mixture into a coarse paste.
8. Heat 3 tbsp of reserved oil, when hot add mustard seeds. When it splutters add cumin seeds, fenugreek, asafoetida, chopped garlic and curry leaves. Add the 1/4 cup halved shallots. Saute until onions become translucent. Add sambar powder and cook for a minute.
9.Add ground onion tomato mixture along with the masala paste. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes.
10. Now add the tamarind juice and adjust the consistency of the gravy. Bring it to a boil.
11.Add the fried eggplants and let everything cook over low heat for another 10 minutes or until oil starts separating from the gravy.
12. Turn off the flame and garnish with fresh coriander.