Locomotoring

Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

Learning to cook with mom – Eggplant bonanza

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Smoky eggplant mash, Eggplant with poppy seeds, Eggplant in mustard sauce

Begun pora: This is perhaps the simplest smoked eggplant dish that exists and it is yummy. What can be simpler than smoking the eggplant on open fire and adding a couple of spices to it! To serve two, start with a medium size eggplant, make a few slits, smear a bit of oil all over and then roast on open gas flame. I like to cook on medium high and I keep a close eye on it. It is often done in a few minutes. You want to turn the eggplant as the skin gets completely blistered. Once all of it is done, set aside to cool. If the skin isn’t blackened properly, it will be hard to peel. If you cook too much, you will end up with charcoal. One trick I learned from an Indian chef is to stick in a few cloves of garlic in the slits. They get cooked during the roasting process. If you love garlic, go right ahead, but the dish doesn’t really need it. Once cooled, peel off the dark skin, mash up the flesh, add 1-2 chopped green chilis, 1 tsp of salt, 4 Tbsp of chopped cilantro leaves and 2 Tbsp of raw mustard oil. Optionally add 2 Tbsp of chopped onions. That’s it! Enjoy with rice or chapati.

Begun posto: To serve four, start with a medium size eggplant and cut it half. Then cut each piece in four along the length. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt and set aside to sweat for an hour. In a kadai, take 4 Tbsp of mustard oil, let it reach smoking point, reduce heat, add 1/2 tsp of nigella seeds, let splutter for 10 seconds, add the salted eggplants, then gently fry the eggplants, stirring occasionally until they are well browned. In the meantime, in a spice grinder, grind 1/2 cup of white poppy seeds. It doesn’t really become a paste, it breaks down a bit and some of the oils come out. Pull the eggplants out of the kadai and set aside. Add 2 Tbsp of mustard oil, let it reach smoking point, reduce heat, add 1-2 chopped green chilis and the poppy seed mixture. Fry gently for 8-12 minutes. Add the fried eggplants back along with 2 cups of hot water. Taste the salt and adjust if necessary. Let cook on medium high heat until the water is almost evaporated. Don’t stir (or stir very gently) or the eggplants will turn into mush. The eggplant should fall almost apart but not quite and the poppy seeds should coat the eggplant.

White poppy seeds to grind, Eggplant, Green chilis, nigella seeds (kalonji), mustard oil.

Begun jhaal: Very much the same as begun posto for the first part – frying the eggplant. In the meantime, take 4 Tbsp of mustard paste and add 2 Tbsp of yogurt, 1 tsp of turmeric powder and mix. Add 2 cups of hot water to the eggplant along with the mustard mixture. Taste the salt and adjust if necessary. Let cook on medium high until the water is almost evaporated. Don’t stir (or stir very gently) or the eggplants will turn into mush. The eggplant should fall almost apart but not quite and the mustard sauce should coat the eggplant. Top with 4 Tbsp of chopped cilantro leaves.

Yellow and brown mustard seeds and green chili for the mustard paste, eggplant, turmeric, nigella seeds (kalonji), cilantro and mustard oil

Written by Som

December 11, 2021 at 9:15 am

Posted in Recipe

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