Today is the saga of the Eggplant / Brinjal / Baingan. Whatever you call it, most people have a love hate relationship with it…….they either love it or they hate it. I know a lot of people who absolutely abhor it !!! As for my family……read on !! When my wedding was fixed to V, plans were being made for the 10 days that we would be in India before leaving for…..well here ! Everyone wanted me to find out what he loved and what food he did not like. V told me to tell everyone that he liked all kinds of foods…but some enterprising soul asked his dad the same question and he very truthfully answered “ eggplant “ . Do I really have to tell you all what happened next ????? We made our rounds , visiting with all our relatives . Lo and behold everyone of them had made eggplant !!!! By the time we came here , V made me promise not to make eggplant for a few months !!!
You would think that after that episode we would not have eaten eggplant ever again but no…we still like it and make it on a regular basis. Now that I have access to a variety of them….I found myself a good farmers market , I can try out many of the recipes that I have languishing in my “to try “ pile .
This is one of the recipes from that pile. I stored in the pile ‘coz it was very different from any I have made before but when it came time to making it , I started with a lot of trepidation as the recipe contained yogurt. Now eggplant if not cooked properly can be mushy and when you add yogurt……..however I had heard rave reviews about this dish from many of the blogs so I decided to forge ahead and have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The recipe claims it is from Kashmir ……I would love to tell you I did the research and that this dish is indeed from Kashmir and all that jazz but …no I did no such thing. So I am going on faith that this is indeed from Kashmir and if any have info proving otherwise let me know and I’ll give it another name !
DAHI BAINGAN KASHMRI
4 medium sized Japanese Eggplants, sliced into thick slices
1 ½ cups Yogurt½ tbsp Fennel Seeds
1 tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Asafoetida
1 tbsp Ginger, finely minced
1 ½ tsp Chilli powder
½ cup Red Onions, finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 tbsp mint
Heat a few tbsp of oil in a large pan. Pat the eggplant slices dry. Fry the eggplant slices in batches until golden brown on both sides.
Meanwhile , beat the yogurt with the salt till completely combined. Set is aside.In the same pan, sauté the onions with the ginger, fennel seeds, cloves and cardamom until the onions are soft and translucent.
Now add the asafoetida, turmeric and chilli powder. Sauté for 30 seconds.
Add the yogurt mixture and mix together quickly. Lower the heat to the lowest it can go and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Now add the eggplant slices and cook on the same low heat for another 2 minutes.
Garnish with the chopped mint and serve.
As I said earlier I approached this dish with hesitation but I was so determined to try new things that I went ahead and made it anyway. I am glad I made this dish. It is a simple dish in terms of both method and ingredients but the result has complex flavours. Imagine if you will golden brown crisp slices of eggplant in a creamy sauce. The yogurt gives it creaminess as well as tang while the onions impart a sweetness. The aniseed like flavour of the fennel seeds comes across clearly. Did you know that anise, star anise and fennel are all in the same family ???
I did make a couple of modifications to the recipe. The original called for deep frying the eggplant but I just shallow fried them . If you want to reduce the oil even further then just grill the eggplant. I like the combination of mint and eggplant but you can use cilantro and in fact the recipe did use that. The recipe also called for fennel powder but I was too lazy to grind some up !!! Onions were my addition too.