South Indian Style Shallot and Brinjal Masala

We had a surfiet of farm grown small onions. They arent the sambar onion variety, but regular onions, just small. After using them as per usual, I decided to try out a hybrid dish with them whole. I call it my baghara baingan meets pulusu gravy.It turned out so delicious that I am writing the recipe down before I forget it. That’s why I started this blog. To record recipes that turned out well, for furture reference because I can never remember otherwise.For the masala:Dry roast the following and grind to a fine paste1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds1/2 teaspoon black pepper6 or 8 dried red chillies, adjust according to spice tolerance2 teaspoons white sesame seedsAdd all of the above to a medium hot pan, dry roast till aromatic and the sesame seeds are beginning to get a light golden brown colour.Next add 4 tablespoons grated fresh or dessicated coconut and roast stirring regulary till the coconut is also light golden. Remove everything from the heat and cool.Powder it finely in a blender, add 4 tablespoons of water and make a thick but fine paste.For the curry:15 ~ 20 shallots6 medium sized brinjals2 tablespoons gingely oil1 teaspoon each whole cumin and mustard seedssalt to tastea sprig of curry leavesa lemon sized ball of tamarind, soaked in hot water and pulp extracted, about 1/2 cup1 teaspoon of sugar or jaggeryWash and skin 15 to 20 shallots, the onions I used were slightly larger so I used 10Wash and remove the stalks of the brinjals and make an ‘X’ cut at the bottom, keeping the brinjal whole.Add the oil to a thick bottomed kadai, heat the oil and add the mustard, cumin and curry leaves. Allow the mustard to splutter.Add the onions and brinjals and on medium heat, fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until the skin of the onion turns pink.Add the ground masala paste and fry, stirring frequently until the masala begins to separate from the oil. Takes about 4 minutes. Add the salt, tamarind extract and 1/2 cup water, stir, cover and simmer on low for 10 to 12 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.Remove the lid and continue to cook the curry until the gravy becomes thick and almost coats the vegetables. This gravy needs to be thick and not runny. Taste and adjust any seasonings as required. Add the jaggery/ sugar and stir a couple of minutes. Take off the heat. Allow to rest for 30 minutes before serving.Eat hot with hot steamed rice and a little ghee.AAWash and skin 15 or 20 shallots. You can quarter

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