Preheat the static oven to 200 degrees Celsius, 400 Fahrenheit, Gas 6.
Wash and chop the eggplant into bitesize pieces, then lay these on a baking tray that has been covered in greaseproof baking paper and cover them with the cooking spray. Once the oven is ready, roast on the middle tray until cooked thoroughly. It took me about 10 minutes, but it will depend on the size of the chunks of eggplant and the oven. You can start preparing the masala meanwhile, but as soon as they are ready, remove the eggplant bites from the oven, as if you over-roast them, they will go dry.
Start preparing the masalas: this will happen in a very methodical way, the ingredients will be of about the same size and consistency, and it will be done in a nonstick frying pan. See which items to roast together for the best result:
In the frying pan, dry roast the coconut on its own, until golden brown, then remove and set aside.
Using the same frying pan, dry roast the ginger, garlic, and onion for about four to five minutes, until they are all golden brown and the rawness of the garlic has gone. You can set this aside with the coconut.
Again, in the same pan, dry roast the peanuts, almonds, cashews, sesame and poppy seeds, coriander seeds, and dry red chilies. This will take not more than three minutes, as you want them to become fragrant without burning, and there is a very fine line. Set aside with the other dry-roasted ingredients.
Now, finely grind all of the roasted ingredients to create the masala paste; if you have it, try using an upside-down grinder with the littlest amount of water (only if required) and make it as smooth as possible.
In a large pan (you should be able to easily mix the curry once all the ingredients are in), ass the tablespoon of sunflower oil and heat on a medium flame.
Once warm, add the methi (fenugreek) seeds and mustard seeds and allow to crackle; once done (about 30 seconds) add the curry leaves and quickly mix, ensuring these do not burn.
To this base, add the masala paste and mix well, allowing it to warm up for a minute, then add one cup of water.
Once the masala has warmed through again and the oil is separating on the sides, add the tamarind, jaggery (or brown sugar), black pepper (if using tamarind paste), and salt. Stir well and adjust the level of water to the consistency preferred.
Add the oven-roasted eggplant to the hot curry just before serving, and allow them to cook in it for about 5 minutes. Serve with a garnish of fresh coriander. Enjoy!