Baingan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Curry)

[image: baingan bharta over rice]
[image: baingan bharta over rice]

If you are familiar with how baingan bharta is supposed to look, you may be taken aback by the above photo. I had found a recipe where you made the curry, then turned it into a dip. I did this so I’d have a good bread dipping appetizer for my Lady Evening with Lydia last week. It still tasted good over rice after the dip transformation, though.

Recipe originally from The ABCD’s of Cooking, tweaked a bit so I didn’t have to go to the store.

1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound
1 onion
3 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-oz. can chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 small chili peppers (an Indian variety would be best, I used my SUPER CHILIS because I still have them in the freezer from last year and they’re still hella potent), chopped if you like spice, halved if you don’t
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 400. Poke holes in eggplant with a fork, then wrap in foil and roast for an hour. Set aside to cool a bit. When you can handle it, cut in half and scoop out the flesh. Mash with a fork and set aside.

Puree the onion in a blender.

Heat oil over medium heat. Add turmeric, coriander, cumin, and garam masala and bloom in the oil for a minute. Add the onion puree and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir until it’s reduced to sort of a pumpkin puree-level of consistency. Add the whole can of tomatoes, chili peppers, and lemon zest. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and turn the heat to low. Stir and partially cover the pot. Let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the lemon juice and add salt to taste. (If you went the halved chili route, fish them out now and discard.) Serve over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Puree curry in a blender with 1 Tbsp tahini and 3 Tbsp plain yogurt. Serve warm with cilantro garnish and your grain-based or vegetable choice of dipping matter.

Vegetable Pullao

from Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

15 fl. oz. long-grain rice
2 pints and 1 pint water
4 oz. potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 oz. fresh green beans, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 fresh hot green chile pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 clove garlic, minced or put through a press

Put the rice in a bowl and wash in several changes of water. Drain. Add 2 pints of water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Drain and leave in a sieve for 20 minutes.

Choose a large, heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid. Put 2-4 tablespoons of oil in the pan. When hot, add the cumin seeds, and let them sizzle for 5-10 seconds. Then, add the potato, carrot, and green beans. Stir and saute for a minute. Turn the heat to medium-low anmd add the drained rice, salt, turmeric, ground cumin, coriander, cayenne, green chile pepper, cilantro, ginger, and garlic. Stir and saute the rice for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 pint of water and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, turn the heat to very, very low, and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heart and let the pan sit, covered and undisturbed, for another 10 minutes.

Khatte Chhole (sour chickpeas)

From Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

12 oz. dried chickpeas, picked over and rinsed
3 pints water
10-11 oz. onions, finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 hot green chile, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, very finely grated
4 Tbsp lemon juice
3-6 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz. tomatoes, finely chopped (or a drained 15-oz. can of chopped tomatoes)
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Soak the chickpeas overnight. Pour the beans and their soaking liquid into a large pan and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are tender. Strain the chickpeas and save the cooking liquid.

Put 2 tablespoons of the chopped onions, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the green chile, ginger, and the lemon juice into a teacup. Mix well and set aside.

Put the oil in a heavy, wide, casserole-type pan and set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the remaining chopped onions. Stir and fry for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions bits develop reddish-0brown spots. Add the tomatoes. Continue to stir and fry for another 5-6 minutes, mashing the tomato pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Next, add the drained chickpeas along with 14 fluid ounces of their cooking liquid, plus the garam masala, cayenne pepper, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook very gently for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Add the mixture in the teacup. Stir to combine, and serve. (Good with rice.)

Channa Matar

1/4 cup ghee or vegetable oil
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Pinch of salt
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of cumin seeds
2 1/2 Tbsp Spiced Onion Puree
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garam masala
Dash of paprika
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
2-2 1/2 cups chicken stock
3-4 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 recipe of Channa, fried and drained, ghee or oil from frying reserved

Using the leftover ghee or oil from frying the channa, fry the potato cubes with a pinch of salt and turmeric. Fry cubes until golden and almost entirely cooked. Remove and set aside to drain.

Heat 1/4 cup ghee or oil in the skillet. Add the cumin seeds and spiced onion and fry gently for about a minute. Add the potatoes back to the pan along with the turmeric, cayenne, ground cumin, salt, and sugar. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add garam masala and paprika and stir to blend well. Remove from the heat and mix in the yogurt. Return to the heat, add the peas, and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the channa cubes. Sprinkle with the chopped cilatro and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

Variation: Tofu would probably work pretty well in this recipe instead of the channa. It’ll still need to be cut into a half-inch depth and pressed to get out the extra liquid, then fried. I have no idea whether firm or soft tofu would be used.


1/2 gallon milk
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water

If using for Channa Matar:
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup ghee or vegetable oil (for frying)

Combine the vinegar and water, and line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth or paper towels. Bring the milk to a boil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. When a boil is reached, remove from the heat and slowly stir in the vinegar-water combination until the curd and whey just separate. If you use too much vinegar, the resulting cheese will be tough. Pour the curd and whey into the colander and let drain.

If using for Channa Matar, add salt to taste. Take the drained channa and pat it out into about a 1/2 to 1-inch thick rectangle. Put it on a plate or cutting board covered with a paper towel, and place another plate on top with a weight on it. Leave in the refrigerator until hardened enough to cut into 1/2-inch cubes (approximately). In a large skillet, fry the channa cubes in the ghee or oil until browned. Set aside to drain while preparing the rest of the dish.

Aloo Matar (Potato and Pea Curry)

2–4 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
Pinch of punch-phoron seeds*
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or use a drained can of same)
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4–1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala
2 cups fresh (or frozen, really) green peas
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) coconut milk or warm water
3–4 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/8 tsp paprika

*Punch-phoron is a mixture of five whole spices mixed in equal proportions- cumin, black cumin, mustard, fenugreek, and fennel. I think I used cumin, fennel, and coriander (mistakenly), because those were the only ones I had in whole form.

Heat vegetable oil or ghee in a large saucepan. Fry punch-phoron seeds, bay leaf, ginger, and onion for 3 minutes. Add potatoes and continue cooking another 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, salt, ground cumin, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, garam masala, and peas and cook for another 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and boil rapidly for 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to a bare simmer, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cilantro and paprika.