Before doing anything, peel the eggplant, slice into large cubes, coat with salt, and place within a colander. Place the colander in the sink, or in a larger bowl. The salt will remove much of the excess water from the eggplant and cause it to drain through the bottom of the strainer. This is also purported to remove a shade of bitterness from the eggplant.
Before proceeding to the next step, make sure your onions, garlic, and ginger are diced, minced, and/or grated. You’ll need them, quickly.
Place the ghee or coconut oil in a medium sized soup pot over low to medium heat. Add the ghee and watch for it to ripple.
Once the surface of the fat begins to gently ripple, add the cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds. Within a few seconds, you should hear a bit of popping and smell a rich, spicy aroma. Immediately add the onions, garlic, and ginger to the pan, stirring them in. This process allows for a quick “toasting” of the spices, but the quick addition of the onions will prevent them from burning. Add a small amount of salt and stir the ingredients together.
After 3 to 5 minutes, the onions will become a bit soft and translucent. At this point, stir in the bay leaf, garam masala and cayenne pepper. Add a small amount of salt, pepper, and chili flakes if you’d like a bit more heat. Stir these ingredients in and allow the mixture to cook for another minute or two.
Finally add the chopped tomatoes and drained eggplant to the pot. Stir the ingredients together and bring to a simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer for another 15 minutes, without a lid. Stir occasionally.
Once the eggplant is soft, taste the mixture. If it needs any additional seasoning, add it now.