In a bit of neutral oil, toast a spice mixture made from fenugreek, cumin, green cardamom (all freshly ground), and some coconut. Add diced eggplant, zucchini, and fennel along with some turmeric and let cook until the vegetables are about ready to go. Add a small amount of crushed tomatoes, a squeeze of lemon juice, and adjust seasonings.
Meanwhile make the popu: toast black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, and asafoetida in clarified butter until the mustard seeds pop, set aside.
Stir in the popu and serve over basmati rice.