Tender neem leaves: a bunch (these are readily available here in Kolkata. If you pick leaves from your own tree make sure to collect only tender soft baby leaves. You don’t need much of it but you can collect more and fry to store them. They stay well for 2-3 weeks if dry roasted and refrigerated)
Eggplant: 1 small or ½ of a medium one (there’s no rule or proportion here. Add as many or as less as you like)
Oil: 1 tsp + ½ tsp
1. Pick, clean and wash the leaves and chop roughly.
2. Wash and cut the eggplant in small (1/2") squares. Place them in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with water and place a big bowl on top to submerge the cubed eggplants. Let it stand like this for 10 minutes.
3. (The idea here is to let the eggplant soak as much water as possible. If you have fried eggplant before you might know that in contact with oil it acts like sponge and soaks oil.
4. To avoid that, this trick is used so that when fried, the eggplant will release water and would be cooked quickly in comparatively less oil.
5. also while making this dish eggplants are always fried first so that it does not take up the bitter taste.
6. Heat the 1 tsp oil and fry the cubed eggplants with salt and turmeric. Keep on stirring so that it does not stick to the bottom. It will be cooked within 5 minutes. Once the eggplants are soft and cooked thoroughly take out in a bowl.
7. In the same pan add the chopped neem leaves. Sprinkle little salt and fry on low heat. In the beginning the leaves will release a lot of juice. Let it dry up naturally and then keep stirring and cooking it. Once they are lightly crisp and dry (approx. 5-7 minutes) pour the ½ tsp oil and stir continuously to cook it. Within 2 minutes it would be crisp and dry.