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Showing posts with label eggplant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eggplant. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Baba Ganoush ( Culinary cousins and random ruminations )

Baigana Poda or roasted aubergine is one of my favorites winter recipes. This typical Odia recipe is characterized by the frugal use of seasoning. Just some green chillis, chopped onions, garlic, salt and a dash of mustard oil to compliment the smokey sweetness of the tender flesh. Nothing that would reminds one of the more flamboyant 'baingan ka bharta' .

But in the food-scape of this vast universe, culinary cousins keep popping up here and there. Sometimes at the most unexpected of places. Whoever would have thought that another frugal 'roasted aubergine' recipe would find so make takers in a land that is better known for it's baklava and Shawarma. The 'Baba Ganoush' is nothing but a mellower cousin of the fiery 'baigana poda'. The ingredients, olive oil, tahani (sesame paste ), garlic, lemon juice and cumin, are almost banal for the residents of Lebanon. Just as mustard oil, onion and garlic are for most odia folks.

Mellow, smokey and infused with just the right amount of pungency, the Baba Ganoush is the perfect definition of comfort food when served with some pita bread. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 35 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 big aubergine (around 300-350 gms)
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • a pinch of roasted cumin powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • parsley for garnishing

Ingredients - Wash the aubergine and pat it dry with a paper towel. Rub a few drops of olive oil all over it and place it on the burner . Grill on medium flame till the skin starts to peel off.

Wrap it up in aluminium foil and place it in a pre-heated oven. Roast at 200 C for 20 mins.

Remove and take off the foil. Keep it aside on a plate for 10 mins to let the liquid ooze out of the aubergine. Discard this amber colored liquid along with the blackened skin.

Place the tender flesh in a bowl and mash it up with a heavy fork.

Add the tahini, lemon juice, cumin powder and finely crushed garlic to the mashed aubergine. Season with salt and mix it up with the fork.

Finally drizzle the olive oil on top and garnish with parsley.

Serve immediately with the Pita bread or even some chips.

[ Cover with a layer of olive oil and store it in the fridge up to 5 days. Bring to the room temperature before serving. ]

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Baigana Alu Posto ( Eggplant cooked with Poppy seeds )

The last few days have been tough on me. As if a seasonal flu coupled with throat infection wasn't bad enough, the balmy weather in Blore has been making things worse. The kid does not want to be cooped up inside the house, meals/groceries are getting delayed thanks to rains and traffic snarls, and I am constantly feeling drowsy thanks to a combination of factors.  Even the latest Harry Potter book is not temptation enough for me to keep my eyes open. A few pages ( or rather dialogues coz this book is written for a stage play ) down and I am dozing off blissfully.

So, the meals have been reduced to the very basic dal-chawal or dal-roti with one dry curry. Any cribs from the boys are strictly being ignored. The pickle is accessible to all and hubby dear can just about manage an omelette for himself.

Kid has been busy with figuring out the intricacies of the capital and small alphabets. The gaps in between are taken up by story telling sessions where he just lets his fantasy take flight. To sum it up, my folks are managing rather well by themselves .

But the pace at which I had been working on my blog has slowed down significantly. Last 3-4 weeks, I was editing my old posts, redoing the pics of some of the recipes and rarely finding the time to post new ones. But this week I havn't really managed to get anything done. Except for this very basic recipe which is just an adaptation of our 'Janhi Alu posto'.

This recipe came to exist when I purchased a batch of the green aubergines (long ones) as I could not find any decent veggies at the neighbouring shop. I discovered that they are quite bland and even somewhat bitter in taste. Since I had to somehow use them, I cooked them with potato and poppy seeds paste. It improved their taste by a large extent and I was able to use up the entire batch over 2-3 meals.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup sliced aubergine ( I cut them into a half moon shape )
  • 1 medium sized potato ( chopped into small pieces )
  • 1 small onion ( chopped into medium sized bits )
  • 2 garlic flakes (crushed)
  • 1-2 dry red chili
  • 1/5 tsp pancha phutana
  • 2-3 pinch turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp mustard oil

For the paste -

  • 1-2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 garlic flakes 
  • 1 green chili ( only if you want it to be spicy. I skipped )

Preparation - Dry grind the poppy seeds in the small jar /chutney jar of your mixer. Then add garlic, green chili and a little bit of water. Grind into a somewhat coarse paste. Keep aside.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add broken red chili and pancha phutana. Once it gets spluttering, add the crushed garlic and allow it to turn golden brown.

The onion goes in next. Fry to a translucent.

Add the aubergine and potatoes. Cook on a medium - low flame till 70 percent done.

Now add the poppy seeds paste along with 1/3 cup water, salt and turmeric. Cook covered on low flame till all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from flame. Drizzle with a dash of mustard oil for better flavour.

Serve hot with white rice and dal.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Maseladar Baingan (Spicy Eggplant Curry)

Eggplant is perhaps the most used vegetable in our house. So I try to make various combinations and permutations so that we do not get bored of it. That is why when i saw this recipe in the Sunday edition of TOI, I added it to my To-Do list.

It turned out to be very nice and spicy. Goes great with rotis!!! Read on for the very easy recipe:

Preparation Time - 20-25 mins

Ingredients -

  • Sliced brinjal/eggplant ( 4 cups )
  • Finely chopped onion ( 2 medium )
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/3 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1/3 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Amchur - 1/4 tsp ( But I used 1/2 tsp anardana powder instead )
  • Yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice - 1 tsp
  • Oil - 4 tbsp
  • salt to taste

For the paste -

  • Peanuts - 2 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/3 tsp
  • Green chillis - 2-3 nos
  • Coriander leaves - 1/3 cup

Preparation - Make a fine paste out of the ingredients listed under 'For the paste'.

Cooking - Add 1 tbsp oil to a wok. Add and fry the eggplant slices for 4-5 minutes. Remove and keep aside.

Add the remaining oil to the wok. Add cumin seeds and allow to crackle.

Add chopped onions and allow to turn translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook till raw smell goes away.

Add all the powdered spices. Fry for 1 min.

Add the masala paste along with salt and fry for 3-4 mins.

Add the beaten curd along with the eggplant slices. Fry for 2-3 mins on medium flame.

Add 1 1/2 cup water slowly. Cover with lid and allow to cook for 6-7 mins.

Remove from wok. Add lemon juice and coriander leaves. Mix well.

Serve hot with rotis.

Note - The original recipe made use of the raw eggplant pieces but I choose to stir fry them as it tastes different ( I like it better this way).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Aam Kasundi Begun (Eggplant in a mango-mustard sauce)

Aam Kasundi Begun. Sounds almost poetic, doesn't it ???. Ever since I read this name in the TOI last week,  I have been scouring the net and some of my cookbooks/paper cuttings to get the exact recipe. After referring  quite a few sources (including Bong Mom's Cookbook) , I decided to take a bit from here and a bit from there. And the result was almost magical. It surpassed my expectations by a plenty of notches. Tangy, tart, hot, titillating, fragrant.

This is the first time I made it. And since I havn't tasted an authentic 'Kasundi' dish ever, I can not vouch for its authenticity. But the taste is something that I can vouch for...quite unforgettable. "Cholbe naa", I can almost see some of my Bong friends shaking their heads. And I almost wish for Ushnish da to appear out of thin air and reveal the magical recipe to me. On second thoughts, I think I will drop a note to him and ask him to rate my recipe. Till then this has to do (already planning for an encore on Thursday).

Read on for my version of an 'Aam Kasundi Begun':

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 cups sliced eggplant
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp grated coconut
  • 4 tsp roughly chopped raw mango
  • 2 garlic flakes
  • 2 green chillis
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/5 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tsp mustard oil

Preparation - Add a little salt and turmeric to the eggplant slices. Keep aside for 15 mins.

Dry grind (fine powder) the mustard seeds first. Then add raw mango, coconut, green chilli, coriander and garlic flakes to the same grinder cup along with a few teaspoons water. Grind into a smooth paste.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok till it smokes.

Add the eggplant slices and stir fry till almost done.

Add the kasundi paste and coat all the slices. Fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add 1 cup boiling water and cover with a lid. Cook on medium heat till almost all the water evaporates.

Serve with white rice.

Note - If you find mustard to be too hot/spicy, then replace half of the quantity of mustard used with poppy seeds. Also treble the quantity of coconut used in the gravy to mellow it further.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Ambila. This watery yet yummy sweet-sour preparation from Orissa can also be termed as 'Odiya rasam' as it is similar to the south indian delicacy. But as compared to the latter it is quite loaded with vegetables, usually the seasonal variety. Hence it is nutritious and low in calories at the same time. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 25-30 mins

Ingredients - 1/2 cup cubed pumpkin, 1/2 cup thickly sliced cucumber, 1/2 cup cubed colocassia, 1 large tomato, 3 tsp yogurt, 1 tsp besan, 1 tsp tamarind pulp/ 1-2 ambula, 2-3 pinches turmeric, 1 tsp oil, salt to taste, 1 tsp sugar.

For tempering - 4-5 crushed garlic flakes, 2 sprigs curry leaves, 1-2 tbsp chopped green onions, 2-3 dry red chillis, 2 pinch asafoetida, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 2 tsp oil

Preparation - Take yogurt, besan and 3-4 tsp water in a bowl. Mix well till no lumps remain.

Dissolve the tamarind pulp in 3-4 tsp water and keep aside. ( if using ambula soak it for 2-3 hours before using)

Cooking - Boil the pumpkin, cucumber and colcassia with 5-6 cups water, turmeric and salt in a large saucepan.

Heat another pan/wok. Add 1 tsp oil. Fry the chopped tomato till mushy. Add the tomato to the other vegetables when they are half cooked. Boil for 2-3 minutes.

Add the yogurt mixture and keep stirring for 5 minutes till it gets to a boil. Add the tamarind water/ambula and sugar.

Heat oil in a tempering pan. Add broken red chilli, mustard and cumin seeds. When it starts spluttering, add the asafoetida, crushed garlic, curry leaves and spring onions. Fry for 30-40 seconds.

Pour the tempering over the contents of the saucepan. Boil for 2-3 minute. Switch off flame and remove from stove.

Serve cold. (Tastes even better the next day, just take care to remove it from the fridge a good 2-3 hours before consuming.)

Note - Other vegetables like eggplant, radish, okra, ash gourd, amaranthus stem are also added to this recipe. But I had prepared this with all the leftover veggies in my fridge. 

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.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Besara ( Vegetables in a light mustard gravy )

Besara is an authentic oriya dish that is light and spicy, all at the same time. It is part of the abhada or the prasad offered to Lord Jaganaath during midday. While the former does not make use of any onion or garlic, I have been generous with garlic in my version.

Also i have skipped ambula in favour of tamarind as the latter adds a lovely color to the dish. This is one recipe which my South Indian friends would really enjoy (Most of them find the Oriya vegetarian fare stuff a little bland). Read on:

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup diced pumpkin, 1 cup diced eggplant, 1 cup sliced potato, 1/2 cup diced pointed gourd,1/2 cup chopped okra, 2 medium sized tomatoes, 4 slit green chillis, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 4 tsp oil, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 2 dried mangoes slices ( ambula ) or 1 tsp tamarind paste.

For the mustard paste - 2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 7 garlic flakes, 1 red chilli.

Preparation - Dry grind the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dry red chilli. Add the garlic flakes and a little water at a time. Grind into a smooth paste.

Add 1/2 cup of water and allow to stand.

Soak the ambula in 1/2 cup water . Or if using tamarind paste dilute it with 1/2 cup water.

Cooking - Heat 3 tsp of oil in a wok. Add the chopped okra and fry on a high flame for 2-3 mins. Add pumpkin, potato, eggplant and pointed gourd. Fry on medium to high flame for 3 minutes. Remove from wok and keep aside.

Add 1 tsp of oil to the wok and add the tomatoes. Fry for 2-3 minutes till soft. Remove and keep aside.

Add 4-5 cups of water to the wok. Add the mustard paste ( drain the cup slowly into the wok so that the sediments settle down in the bottom of the wok. This removes the bitterness of the mustard seeds. ), salt and turmeric.

Bring the water to a boil and then add the fried vegetables. Once the vegetables are almost done, add the fried tomatoes. Boil for 8-10 minutes or till veggies are a little mushy.

Add the ambula/tamarind and slit green chillis. Boil for 3-4 minutes.

Remove from wok and serve hot with white rice . ( Garnish with coriander leaves/fried boris if desired )

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Khatti Meethi Dal

The humble 'Dalma' (link here) used to reign supreme on my menu on the fasting (Osa-bara) days till I discovered its tantalizing Western counterpart. Like a willful seductress it threatens to steer me away from my ever dependable wife 'dalma'. When I first glimpsed her while leafing through a Tarla Dalal cookbook, i was hardly impressed. But the supremely impossible task of feeding vegetables to my kiddie made me try it out. And i have been re-visting her ever since while side-stepping the risk that it poses to my digestive system ( Tamarind and my system are not exactly compatible ). But for the more fortunate beings, this tangy-sweet-spicy Gujrati Dal is a must try.

With Mahalaya today, the nine day Navaratri fasting/celebrations have begun and most of us will be avoiding the use of onion/garlic in our meals/snacks. I have adapted the original recipe for fasting days as the former makes use of onions. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 20-25 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup toor dal, 1/2 cup whole/skinless masoor dal, 1 1/2 cups peeled and diced pumpkin, 1/2 cup diced carrot, 1/2 cup diced eggplant, 1/2 cup peeled and diced raw banana, 1 cup diced potato, 2 tbs powdered jaggery, 1 1/2 tbs tamarind paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric, salt to taste.

For tempering - 3 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2 whole red chillis, 3 cloves, 1 inch long cinnamon stick, 2 sprigs of curry leaves, a pinch of asafoetida, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional).

Preparation - Take the jaggery and tamarind in a bowl. Add 5-6 tbs water and make it into a paste.

Cooking - Wash and transfer the dals to a pressure cooker with 2-3 cups water. Add salt and turmeric .Cook for 2-3 whistles.

Allow to stand till steam escapes. Open lid and beat the dal with a heavy spoon to get a smooth mixture.

Boil the vegetables with 2-3 cups of water, little salt and turmeric. Remove from stove when done.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds, broken red chilli, cloves and cinnamon. Fry for 20-30 seconds. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves followed by red chilli powder.

Add the dal an boiled vegetables to the wok. Boil for 2-3 minutes.

Add jaggery-tamarind paste. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.

Remove from flame and serve with rice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Baigana Khatta

Cooking time required: 15-20 mins
Cost of preparation: 15-20 rupees

Ingredients: Small brinjal (2-3 no), curry leaves( 2 sprigs), green chilli (1-2 nos), turmeric powder (1/5 tsp), black cumin seeds/ kala jeera (1 pinch), garlic flakes ( 3-4 nos), oil ( 2 tsp), powdered jaggery ( 3-4 tsp), thick tamarind juice ( 1- 2 tsp), salt to taste.

Preparation: Cut the brinjal into small pieces.

Cooking: Heat oil in a wok. Add the chopped green chillis, crushed garlic flakes, black cumin seeds, & curry leaves. Fry for a minute.

Add the brinjal pieces and sprinkle salt and turmeric. Fry for 5 minutes till it softens.

Add about 1 1/2 cups of water along with the tamarind paste and bring to a boil.

Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 7-8 mins. Add the powdered jaggery at this stage and boil for 2-3 mins till it is mixed well.

Remove from stove and serve it with rice.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Baigani ( Eggplant fritters )

Cooking Time Required: 10-15 mins
Cost of Preparation: 20-25 Rupees

Ingredients: Baingan/Eggplant/Brinjal ( 1 no., large ), gram flour ( 3 tbs ), cornflour ( 1 tbs ), kasuri methi ( 1/2 tsp ), roasted coriander-cumin powder ( 1/ tsp ), red chilli powder ( 1/3 tsp ), baking powder ( a pinch ), salt, turmeric, oil for deep frying, green chilli ( optional ), coriander leaves .

Preparation: Slice the eggplant into circles ( 4-5 mm thick ). Add salt, turmeric and red chilli powder. Rub it all over the eggplant slices.

Keep aside for 15 mins.

Mix the gram flour and cornflour with all the remaining spices and a little bit of salt.Add water to prepare a paste of thin consistency. ( One can also add finely cut green chilli and corinader leaves to this paste )

Cooking: Heat the oil in a wok.

Dip each eggplant piece into the gramflour-cornflour paste. Shake off any excess and dip into the hot oil. Fry on both sides till golden brown.

Remove from the wok and put on blotting paper ( or one can use a newspaper which works equally good ).

Garnish with finely chopped coriander and green chillis.

This can be served either as a snack or a side dish with Mutton Jholo/Kasa and Basmati Rice/Puri.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stuffed Baingan Bharta

Cooking Time required : 30-35 mins
Cost of preparation: 20-25 rupees

Ingredients: Brinjal/Egg plant/Aubergine ( 1 no, large ), onion ( 1 medium ), garlic pods ( 5-6 nos ), green chilli ( 2-3 nos ), red chilli powder ( 1/ 2 tsp ), sour curd ( 1 tsp ), mustard oil ( 2 tsp ), cumin powder ( 1/2 tsp ), finely cut coriander leaves ( 2 tbs ), salt.

Preparation: Slice off the top of the brinjal. Make a deep hole into the brinjal and remove some of the inner core. Rub in the sour curd inside the hole.

Cut the onion into small pieces. Crush the garlic pods and cut the green chillis into long pieces.

Cooking: Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan. Add half of the onion pieces and crushed garlic pods along with the red chilli powder and salt . Stir fry till reddish brown.

Remove from the pan and stuff inside the brinjal.

Make slits along the length of the brinjal, Rub in salt and mustard oil. Put back the sliced top of the brinjal and secure it with toothpicks and pins.

Put inside a pre-heated oven/microwave and roast for 15 mins at alternate temperature of 150 degrees and 200 degrees for 5 mins each.

Remove from the oven and cover with a vessel for 5-10 mins.

When the brinjal is cooled down a bit, remove the outer peel of the brinjal. Add the salt, cumin powder, green chilli, remaining mustard oil , onion pieces and coriander leaves. Mash togather .

Serve hot with rice or roti.

Stuffed Eggplant - "Bharwa Baingan"

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