Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Baingan-Mirchi ka Salan

Eggplant ranks as one of my all-time favorite vegetables. Actually, eggplant is technically a fruit, even though most of us still think of it and utilize it as a vegetable. I can relish it in just about any form-broiled, baked, fried, sauteed, and so on. I also love just about every variety of eggplant that exists, from the huge American eggplant, to the Indian baby eggplants, to the long, purple Chinese eggplants to the small green variety. In the ten days that I have been at home, I must have eaten at least 5 different dishes made with eggplant in some form, including the simply sublime creamed eggplant that I've already blogged about. But, I have heard so many people rant and rave about Baingan-Mirchi ka Salan and how flavorful it is that I just had to try making it myself. So, I sent my mom to the Indian grocery store for baby eggplants, and last night for dinner, I prepared a heartwarming main dish of Baingan-Mirchi ka Salan. That's a fair compromise, no? :) I followed Tarla Dalal's recipe for Mirchi ka Salan, except I added baby eggplants to the curry. The result? C'était un vrai régale. It was indeed a royal treat. Extremely rich and flavorful, but not too spicy, the salan, a Hyderabadi specialty, turned out simply perfect in every way. The green chillis provided just the right amount of heat without overpowering the rest of the dish, and the addition of coconut and peanuts, along with sesame seeds provided the perfect complement to the spices and elevated this curry to a level way above your standard vegetable curry. Though a bit time consuming, this delicacy is worth every second of preparation required. Your family, and your taste buds, will most certainly thank you :) Relish this mouthwatering delight with hot parathas or rotis, or steaming hot rice.

Baingan-Mirchi ka Salan(adapted from Tarla Dalal's Mirchi ka Salan):
8 baby eggplants
4 hot green chilli peppers
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp. nigella seeds
6 curry leaves
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
2 tbsp. cumin-coriander powder
1 tsp. chilli powder, or to taste
1 tsp. tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup coconut milk
5 tbsp. oil, plus 3 tbsp.
salt to taste, or about 1.5 tsp.
1.5 cups water

For paste:
5 garlic cloves
1/2" piece ginger
1 onion
2 tomatoes
1/4 cup shredded coconut

For dry powder:
2 tbsp. roasted peanuts
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tbsp. cumin seeds

Cut off them stems of the eggplants, and cut slits in the eggplants lengthwise in both directions without cutting all the way through. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a skillet, and then add the slit eggplants. Shallow fry, covered, on medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes until almost cooked through. They should still be slightly firm. Remove and drain excess oil.

Add a fresh 5 tbsp. oil to the skillet on medium heat. Slit green chillis, and remove the seeds. Fry in the hot oil until they give off a very strong aroma, about 5 minutes total. Remove the chillis. Add the cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves to the same oil, and fry until they begin to crackle. Add the paste, and fry until cooked through. Add the coriander-cumin powder, turmeric, chilli powder, and dry powder masala, along with the cooked eggplants and salt. Cook for a 5 minutes. Add water and tamarind, cover and cook until eggplants are completely cooked. Add coconut milk, and let simmer until thick. Serve warm.

5 comments:

Umm Mymoonah said...

Looks mouthwatering.

Swathi said...

This egg plant dish looks delicious Ameya. I too fan of eggplant love to eat in any form.

Vaishali said...

I'm nuts about eggplant, and this sounds so, so good. Delicious recipe, Ameya. Wishing you a wonderful 2011!

savitha ramesh said...

Drooling here Ameya....wonderful dish and book marked....

Tanvi@Sinfully Spicy said...

I love your blog header.These eggplants look very tasty! Happy New Year to you!

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