Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bhagara Baingan & Narm Paratha





"Only a fool argues with a skunk, a mule or a cook."
(~Cowboy saying)

For some reason, I just don't know what, I am unable to upload any pictures to this blog. Suddenly my brower's not supported by whatever! I tried whatever I could, with my limited understanding of these things, to find and solve the problem but it just didn't work. I am at my wit's end here. A no picture blog is like....oh well, let's get over it! The recipe is here and please do go to Facebook and search my Fb page: Chef On The Run, the pics of each dish will be uploaded there. You will find it easier to follow the process step by step from the pictures! 

Since I uploaded this recipe some months back, I have resolved the problem of pictures, as is obvious enough! I think it is looking better with the pics!

Well, to come back to what this is all about: Food! It had been a long time since I'd made made Bhagara Baingan, a dish I love, because we don't get the long brinjals here. The ones available are good for sabzi, or bharta! Anyway, I found some that were neither a complete round 'bharta' variety nor a complete long 'bhagara' variety...and they were fresh, and I cannot resist such fresh verduras! So that night we had bhagara baingan and lachha parathas instead of the usual Narm Paratha, simply because I was clean out of papas!!


For Narm Parathas:

Atta (Harina integral)............as required
Potatoes.................................boiled and mashed well, no lumps. I use 1 small potato for each big katori/cup of flour or 1 big potato for 2 cups...it all depends on the quantity of flour and the size of the papas! I'm trusting you on this!!
Salt to taste
Green coriander chopped very fine
Green chilli chopped very fine (optional)
Ajwain (totally optional) I don't use it with this dish but I do when it's not going with this dish!
Whole cream milk to knead the flour

Mix the mashed potatoes, coriander, green chilli into the flour. Pouring a little milk at a time, knead the mixture into a soft dough. Make balls of the dough and roll out into roundels/rotis on a surface sprinkled with dry flour.
Not too thick.
Cook each on a tava or shallow fry-pan, non-stick would be preferable. They cook like chappatis.
After two turns add a bit of oil (abt 1 tsp) on one side, spread it around quickly and turn over.
Now move the paratha around to absorb the leftover oil in the pan.
Three turns should see them cooked on medium heat, depending on thickness of the paratha, of course.
When you remove it from the tava, you have the option of spreading a bit of butter on one side.
These should be eaten hot, so if you have one of those 'casserole' airtight dishes, one finds aplenty of these in India, store them in this and serve hot.



For Bhagara Baingan

Ingredients:

Aubergines/Brinjals (baingan) long variety.....4-5, large ones, add a couple more if they are small
Onion................................................................1 large, sliced fine
Garlic...............................................................3-4 cloves, adjust acc to variety of garlic being used.
                                                                          I used the larger pods.
Ginger..............................................................1" x 1" pc
Coriander seeds...............................................3 tsps.
Cumin seeds.....................................................1 level tsp
Dry red chilli (whole)......................................1-2 or acc to heat desired
Cloves..............................................................3
Cinnamon/cassia.............................................2 sticks abt 1 n 1/2 " in length
Pepper corns...................................................8-10
Copra/dessicated coconut...............................7-8 thin slices 1" long of copra or 3 level tbsps. of
                                                                         dessicated coconut
Tamarind (seedless).......................................A ball the size of a ping pong ball
Gur/jaggery....................................................4 tbsps. or acc to taste
Extra Virgin olive oil to shallow fry
Ghee (purified butter) for tempering.............abt 3-4 tbsps. unmelted ghee, more if melted
Salt to taste
Green coriander for garnish (optional)

For tempering:
Mustard seeds................................................1/2 tsp
Sesame (Til)...................................................1/2 tsp
Curry leaves (aka:Curry pata/meetha neem) 4-5, you could use dry curry leaves too



Soak the tamarind and gur/jaggery in a bowl of water. I used the normal glass bowls one uses for puddings or dal in an Indian meal.



Heat a teaspoon of oil and roast 3/4 of the onion slices, coriander seeds, red chilli, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, pepper corns and copra slices until the coriander begins to turn colour and the onion slices start to turn translucent. The masalas will give out a nice aroma of coriander. If you are using dessicated coconut, add it last, and roast for a few seconds before taking off the masala from the stove. Allow to cool.


Now grind the roasted masala and ginger, garlic to a paste. Add a bit of water to make a thick paste.


When you remove the masala from the mixer, add some water, about 1/2 a cup and make a masala rinse by swirling it around to collect whatever masala is stuck to the sides. Retain this for later use.


Now slit the brinjals lengthwise into four strips. Cut across to make smaller strips of three inches or as desired. Note: Aubergines tend to blacken when they are cut and come into contact with air due to oxidization. So, drop the slices immediately into water as soon as they are cut. Add a bit of salt to the water.


Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. Not too much, you have to shallow fry and not deep fry the brinjal slices. Now drop in the slices of brinjals. Do not overcrowd. When they start to brown on the edges and a bit here and there, remove. The slices should be cooked, spotted but not browned all over!



In the same pan, add more oil if necessary, heat and then add the remaining 1/4 sliced onion. Brown the onions to a golden brown.


Time to add the ground masala. Add salt. Reduce to medium/low and 'bhuno' the masala well giving it frequent turns. When it begins to reduce add half of the masala rinse and continue the bhuno process. Add the other half when the water content is fully reduced. When the masala begins to leave the sides and oil separates, it is done.




Put in the slices of aubergine and mix well but gently. Once they are covered with the masala, add the tamarind water. Retain the tamarind, you might still require it.


Mix the sweet-sour liquid into the vegetable. Check for flavour.


If you think you need more tanginess, add a bit of water to the tamarind in the bowl, squeeze the tamarind to release its flavour and add this.


Allow the aubergines to simmer and when the water content has reduced and the masala has a thick gravy consistency, remove from the stove.


Now heat the ghee to just hot in a small kadhai/wok/frypan. Add the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering turn off the flame, and add the sesame seeds and curry leaves. Swirl around and immediately pour over the aubergines in the pan. Cover.


Gently mix the "bhagar" into the vegetable masala before serving. Garnish with green coriander.


 This spicy mix of sweet, tangy and hot flavours is a sure winner at any meal. Eat it with our narm paratha or lachha paratha or toasted buttered pao!


Happy eating!


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