I did a column recently for the newspaper I write for, emphasizing that most beginners in the kitchen shy away from Indian cooking on a weeknight because we think it is complicated, uses too many ingredients and is a multi step process. While this is true for elaborate recipes, there are an astounding number of dishes that can be made in under 20 minutes. For instance this brinjal dish, I like to make it with the freshest and most tender green baby brinjals I can find. With a light seasoning of kalonji, this cooks in less than 10 minutes. Perfect for a week night dinner and pairs well with both rice and roti.
This recipe can be made with any kind of brinjals, although I strongly recommend the green ones.
Baby Brinjals Saute ~ with Nigella Seeds (Kalonji) and Fresh Ginger
Baby Green Brinjals 250 grams, stems removed and quartered
Onion 1 small, sliced (optional)
Green Chilli 1, finely chopped or crushed with a mortar and pestle
Fresh Ginger 1/2 inch piece, grated
Vegetable Oil 1 teaspoon
Kalonji or Nigella Seeds 1 teaspoon
Fresh Coriander Leaves 1 small bunch
Salt to taste
In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat till hot but not smoking. Make sure the oil is not overheated, as the kalonji seeds will burn easily and become bitter.
Splutter the kalonji seeds, add the onions and quartered brinjal together and saute for about 3-4 minutes, till the vegetables begin to wilt.
Add the crushed green chilli, grated ginger and salt to taste and stir. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 minutes, checking to see that the vegetable doesn’t stick to the pan.
Stir in the fresh coriander leaves, remove from the heat and serve hot with rice or rotis.
This dish cooks in the moisture from the brinjal, in steam because it is covered. If you prefer open pan cooking, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of water every few minutes, till the vegetable is cooked.