Chop each eggplant into 8 thin strips. Slit only 1 serrano pepper, but keep it intact.
When you’re ready to start deep frying, heat 1.5 cups oil in a wok. Brown the eggplants. You can also air fry instead of frying. Description in notes.
In a bowl, soak ½ cup seedless tamarind in ¾ cup boiling water for about 10 minutes. Mix it together to form a pulp. Strain the liquid and pulp through a fine sieve. Throw away the pulp and fiber and keep the liquid aside.
Select sauté on the Instant Pot and adjust to normal. Second, add 5 tablespoons oil to the pot. Thirdly, add asafoetida, whole dried red chili peppers, 1 slit but intact serrano pepper, whole black cardamom pods, cloves, green cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick. Stir and sauté for a minute.
Add in Kashmiri chili powder and stir for 30 seconds. Then immediately add in 3/4 cup water to prevent the red chili from burning. Mix well.
Further, add in ground ginger, ground fennel, ground cumin, salt and the tamarind liquid. Next add in the fried eggplant. Add in 4 small whole intact serrano peppers. Mix well.
Finally, close the lid and select manual/high pressure for 0 minutes. When cooking is complete, use quick pressure release to depressurize.
Transfer the cooked dish in a serving bowl and serve over steamed rice.
If you choose to air fry the eggplants, rub the air fryer basket with a tablespoon of oil. Preheat the air fryer at 350°F for 5 minutes. When the air fryer is preheated, place the eggplants in a single layer. Furthermore, gently brush the eggplants with oil. Finally, set the time and temperature (400°F for 10 minutes). Check at the 5-minute mark, brush the eggplants with oil and turn it and air fry again to complete the 10 minutes. Every air fryer is different. If they aren't browned then increase by increments of 2 minutes. Make sure they don’t burn.
This dish is supposed to be tangy and spicy. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would place this at 4 in terms of spice levels, with 1 being low and 5 being very spicy. You can eliminate serrano peppers if you cant tolerate heat.
This dish is supposed to be tangy. If you cant handle very tangy food you can reduce the amount of dry tamarind to half, but keep the water quantity same.
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