Curry with Eggplant with Cardamom and Coconut Milk

I just love curry, I make curry at least once a week.  This curry is my current favorite use for the  eggplant. The eggplant helps to thicken the sauce, made creamy from coconut milk.

2 pounds eggplant
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt, as needed 
2 yellow onion (from 2 medium or 3 smaller onions)
8 green cardamom pods, cracked
1 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoons garam masala
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon of ginger
3 tomatoes
1  can coconut milk
1/2 cup water
a few handfuls cilantro leaves, chopped
a handful mint leaves, slivered
1 pint whole milk (Greek) yogurt, for serving
For the rice:
2 cups long-grain basmati rice
3 1/2 cups water, plus more for rinsing the rice
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Roast the eggplant:
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 210º. Slender variety of eggplant, cut on the diagonal into thick slices. Pile the eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat with your hands. Spread the eggplant pieces on two baking sheets, and roast until golden on the bottoms, about 15 minutes. Use a thin metal spatula to flip the slices over, and roast until tender and golden, 5-10 more minutes. Remove and turn off the oven. 

 Make the curry:
Heat the oil in large soup pot or dutch oven over a medium flame until it shimmers. Add the onion and cardamom pods and coriander seeds. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and tender, 10-15 minutes. Add black peppercorns.
When the onions are soft, stir in the ground spice mixture, turmeric, garlic, and ginger. Cook for a few minutes to toast the spices, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, water, and the roasted eggplant. Increase the heat to bring the curry to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When finished, the eggplant should still hold its shape, but the sauce around it should be slightly thickened stew-like. It will thicken further if allowed to sit and cool.
Serve with rice and yogurt.

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