I have a love-hate relationship with brinjal/eggplant. I like it in tomato chutney, stir fried and fried whole with spices stuffed as in eggplant-masala . I hate it floating as big chunks in curries. But when it is roasted, charred and crushed to make this curry it is a totally new story…I am wild about it!
Eggplant is a silly name for something that is related to tomato and potato. I wonder, why call a vegetable, a plant? It is surely a plant part, still has no taste of an egg to boast. Chickens have every right to be pissed off if they know of egg plants. It should be rightfully named mammoth egg or purple egg to be suggestive but it doesn’t look like an egg to begin with…it’s more of a disfigured bulb. Why didn’t we name it, a purple bulb or Purmato?
Who names these anyways? Common man! Then there should be some common sense applied. There are other vegetables with irrelevant names…like lady’s finger. Does it remotely look like a lady’s finger? Ugh! more like Shrek’s finger! Why not call it, man’s finger…okay, I don’t want to go there!
If eating your greens, means only green leafy vegetables…can purple Kale fit into the list or cabbage and lettuce come under greens?
Poor Mushroom has no room, only a fancy roof to claim. We should consider calling it an fungibrella!
Berries have more to complain with wacky names like gooseberry, elderberry, straw berry (for a dark red berry) and chokeberry (really, and eat it!).
Have you ever thought about these absurd vegetable names? Anyways, quoting Shakespeare, ‘What is in a name?’….an eggplant called brinjal or aubergine or anything would taste slightly bitter when raw and develops a complex rich flavour on cooking.
Technically, Indian curries have a gravy made of onion, ginger, garlic and tomato or yogurt or coconut or pureed spinach or chillies. Curries vary with the addition of cooked lentils and vegetables. A blend of spices that differ from family to family, make each curry distinct. This also contributes to the fact that there are thousands of different curries. Seasoning it with mustard or cumin spluttered in hot oil is another integral process. Garnishing with coriander leaves, curry leaves or cream completes it.
This Baingan Bartha or eggplant masala is made following the same principle.
- 1 medium brinjal/eggplant
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 tbsp crushed ginger, garlic
- 2 green chillies
- 1 medium tomato/½ cup canned cut tomatoes
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp jaggery/sugar
- few sprigs coriander leaves
- Poke egg plant/brinjal with the tines of a fork to let steam escape and roast it on a fire (stove top or in an oven or barbeque).
- Once the skin turns blackish and flaky, remove it from the fire and put it in a container and cover it to sweat out.
- After it cools, peel burned skin from egg plant.
- Roughly chop the flesh with a knife or smash it with a spoon.
- Heat oil in a pan and add mustard to splutter.
- Add chopped onions and saute until golden.
- Crush garlic, ginger and green chillies and saute in pan.
- Add chopped tomatoes and cook until tender and oil separates.
- Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala.
- Toss the mashed brinjal in this mixture and stir well to coat with the spices.
- Cook for a few minutes and sprinkle lemon juice, salt and jaggery before turning off the heat.
- Garnish with coriander leaves.
I used canned cut tomatoes. That gave it a reddish tint otherwise the curry looks more on the darker side. I also added a cube of butter to balance the heat.
This is a picture I took earlier when I used fresh tomato. Oh yeah, I do make this quite often!
This is a side dish that adds cheer to Roti, Naan or any Indian flat bread. I have linked this recipe to thenovicegardener.wordpress.com Fiesta Friday-50