Saturday, May 23, 2009

Roasted Eggplant and Dill and Potato, aka Baigan Ka Bartha and Aloo Soa Ki Subzi

It was Saturday night and the husband and I planned to make some dinner using recipes from our new(ish) cookbook "Everything Indian Cookbook by Monica Bhide, 2004.

I LOVE Indian food but am always hesitant to make it home because some the ingredients are hard to get, or because I don't want to buy a whole jar a of tamarind paste or whatever and have to eventually throw it out. Also, it never tastes like what I have at the restaurants. But with the 2 recipes in this title, I felt it was doable because we happened to have all the ingredients on hand, or knew we could get them at the local Safeway (BTW, Thriftway, we miss you!)

Roasted Eggplant (Baigan Ka Bharta) from "Everythin Indian Cookbook"

3 pounds eggplant (we used 2 large ones)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped roughly
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste (recipe below)
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Fresh chopped coriander, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 475. (I used the broiler and but the oven rack to the second highest position).

2. Rub 2 tablespoons of the oil on the eggplants on a baking sheets and place in the oven. Cook until the eggplant is soft and the skin is charred. Turn occasionally so all sides get charred. Remove from oven to cool.

3. Once eggplants are cooled, peel and discard skin. Mash the eggplant with a fork into a smooth pulp. Set aside.

4. In a large skillet, heat the reamining 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add th eonions and saute until they are transparent. Add the Ginger-Garlic Paste, red chili powder, and coriander powder, saute for 30 seconds.

5. Add the tomatoes and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Use the back of your spoon or spatula to mash the tomatoes. When the mixture is ready, oil will start to separate from the mixture (mine never did this so I went ahead to the next step).

6. Add the eggplant and mix well. Add salt to taste and fry for about 7 - 10 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat, garnish with fresh coriander and serve with basmati rice.

I order this every.single.time. at our local Naan 'n Curry and love it so much. This version was OK. Don't get me wrong, the balance of spice with the eggplant and tomato was really nice, but I was looking for something with more oomph, more kick, more flavour. I think next time, I'll add more ginger-garlic paste or maybe add curry powder or garam masala or something. Maybe even a chili.

Ginger-Garlic Paste From "Everything Indian Cookbook"

2 serrano chilies (optional)
1/2 cup gingerroot, peeled
1/2 cup garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp cold water

1. Remove the stems from the green chilies (if using)

2. Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree to form a smooth paste. Add mo more than 1 tbsp of water to help form a smooth consistency.

3. Store the paste in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. The paste will keep for up to 2 weeks.

We put ours in a glass Pyrex container with lid. We put plastic wrap to keep any air out and have kept it in the freezer for about a month now. You could probably halve or quarter this recipe since you really only seem to use about a tsp or so for each recipe!

Dill and Potato (Aloo Soa Ki Subzi) From "Everything Indian Cookbook"

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (we only had ground cumin so we used about 1/8 tsp of that)
2 green chilies, seeded and minced (we used serrano chilies)
2 large russet potatoes (or 3 medium) peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen peas (we omitted these)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 tsp turmuric powder
salt, to taste
water, as needed

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium. Add the cumin seeds (or ground cumin). When they begin to crackle (or when ground cumin becomes fragrant), add the freen chilies; saute for 10 seconds.

2. Add the potatoes and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the peas, dill, turmeric, and salt; saute for another 2 minutes.

3. Add a few tablespoons of water (the husband added 4), cover and cook on low heat until the potatoes are cooked through, about 10 - 12 minutes.

How can you go wrong with potatoes and dill? This dish was fine, but next time, I might add some curry powder or garam masala for more flavour. We kind of added salt as we ate since the recipe doesn't tell you exactly how much to add.

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