Cut eggplant into 1" thick slices. Salt, let stand in non-corrosive bowl for 30 minutes. Press out excess liquid with paper towels. Cut into 1" cubes.
Cut potatoes into 1" cubes.
Cut bell pepper into 1" squares.
If using tomatoes, cut into wedges, then cut wedges in half.
Heat oil over medium high heat in large saute pan. Press garlic into oil and add all spices. Stir a couple of minutes.
Add eggplant, potatoes, and bell pepper. Toss until evenly coated with spices.
Add water, cover, simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cover and simmer 15 more minutes.
If using tomatoes, add at last minute, allowing just enough time for tomatoes to heat through.
Serve over rice.
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