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{Quick Recipe} Baby Brinjals with Ginger and Kalonji

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Baby Brinjals

Baby Brinjals

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.

Baby Brinjals

Baby Brinjals

Baingan Ka Bharta

Baingan Ka Bharta

This is one of those recipes I didn’t eat leave alone try to make for a very long time. Apart from the fact that I avoid multi step cooking like the plague, I am not particularly fond of dishes with too many layers of flavour. Somehow the idea of a smoked charred vegetable double cooked did not appeal much to me. Until I actually ate it one day. You know that feeling when you resist something for the longest time,, only to give in by choice or chance just once, and are then a convert for life? This was one such time.

Like every recipe, there are hundreds of versions of Baingan Ka Bharta, I use this one and it serves me very well.

Baingan Ka Bharta

Baingan Ka Bharta (Serves 3-4)

Ingredients :

1 large bharta variety Brinjal

1 Large Onion, chopped finely

2 Tomatoes, chopped finely

2 green chillies (adjust according to taste)

2 big tomatoes peeled and finally chopped

1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder

1 teaspoon Coriander Powder

1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder

1 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste

salt to taste

1 teaspoon Whole Cumin Seeds

2 tablespoons oil

Fresh Coriander leaves for the garnish

Method:

Wash and pat dry the eggplant/ brinjal and apply a thin film of oil to it. On a medium flame, roast it directly on the gas or place it in a really hot oven (about 200 degrees F for 2 minutes) and char it completely on all sides.

Set aside to cool. Peel off the skin and remove the stalk of the charred eggplant. Chop the flesh roughly. Its like guacamole, you choose to keep it chunky or smooth. I like it in between.

Heat a pan and add the remaining oil to it. When really hot, add the cumin seeds and splutter them. Add the chopped onions and fry for a few minutes till it is beginning to change colour.

Add the green chillies, ginger and garlic paste and saute till the raw smell disappears (about 1 minute).

Add the dry powdered spices -red chilli powder, cumin and coriander powders and saute for a few seconds.

Add the tomatoes and cover and cook on a medium – low heat till the tomatoes turn mushy.

Add the chopped charred eggplant flesh and stir well. Add salt and taste, adjust the spices. Cook for 2-3 minutes till everything comes together. Add the chopped fresh coriander leaves to garnish and remove to a bowl.

Serve hot with hot off the pan phulkas or rotis.

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