The small Japanese eggplants have a milder, sweeter flavor than the big boys. They are narrow, 6 to 8 inches long, and range in color from deep color to white. For this recipe, the eggplants are slit lengthwise, filled with a mixture of caramelized onions, peanuts, spices and fresh herbs, then gently cooked, making them exceptionally succulent.
Slit eggplants lengthwise with 2 cuts, about 1/2 inch apart, keeping the stem end intact. Place them in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes to open cuts slightly and to avoid discoloration.
Meanwhile, in small heavy skillet, heat 1 1/2 Tbs. oil over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeños and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, 5 minutes. Add turmeric, coconut and peanuts and cook, stirring often, 4 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, curry powder, salt and cilantro and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Remove eggplants from water and pat dry. Stuff each eggplant with about 1 Tbs. of stuffing mixture by gently inserting it into the slits.
Heat a nonstick skillet, large enough to hold all eggplants in a single layer (or cook in batches), over medium heat. Add 1 Tbs. oil; when oil is hot, transfer stuffed eggplants to pan. Drizzle remaining 1/2 Tbs. of oil over eggplants. Cover and cook until lightly browned on one side, 6 to 8 minutes. Gently turn eggplants, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.