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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Eggplant Yogurt Salad ( Dahi Baigana in a new avatar )

As part of the food makeover series, I have picked up the mundane 'Dahi baigana', a delicious raita made with deep fried aubergines/eggplant . For this particular recipe, I had a twin agenda in mind. The first requirement was to reduce the number of calories. So instead of deep frying, I chose to bake the eggplant. But with an unscheduled power-cut throwing my plans out of gear, I decided to roast them on the non-stick tawa/frying pan instead. Used an oil-spray instead of using regular oil.

To give it a pretty look, I replaced the curd with thick yogurt and made it into a salad. Along with a few pomegranate seeds thrown in for the garnish (they do add a nice sweetness when you bite in), one can use some fresh herbs to add that extra zing to this dish. I used cilantro but it tastes equally good with basil/mint/parsley.

















Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients - 7-8 thin slices of eggplant, 3/4 cup thick yogurt, salt to taste, oil spray/1 tsp olive oil.

For tempering - 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 sprig curry leaves, 1 dry red chilli, a pinch of asafoetida, 1 1/2 tsp oil ( i used rice bran oil ).

For garnish - handful of pomegranate seeds, 1 tsp chopped cilantro, 1/3 tsp roasted cumin-chilli (jeera-lanka) gunda.


Preparation - Rub a little salt over the eggplant slices and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a tempering pan. Add the seeds along with broken chilli. Just as they start popping, add curry leaves and asafoetida. Switch off flame immediately and cover the pan with a lid.

Take the yogurt in a bowl. Add the salt and whisk gently. Strain the contents of the tempering pan when cool and add to the mixing bowl ( we will just be using the oil which has absorbed all the flavors of the tempering and leave out those offending bits ). Mix well.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.

Dry the eggplant slices with a paper towel and brush a little oil on them. Place a foil on the baking tray and place eggplant slices on it. Cook at 200 degrees Centigrade for 2-3  minutes on each side. ( Else spray on some non-stick oil on a pan and roast the slices for 2 minutes on each side. )

Arrange the roasted slices on a platter. Pour the tempered yogurt over it. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro. Finally add the roasted cumin-chilli powder.

Serve as a salad.

Note - I quite liked this makeover as it actually captures the essence of the original recipe (like the use of tempering, addition of the jeera lanka gunda and the use of pomegranate seeds instead of sugar for adding sweetness). Let me know what you think about it.


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