My instincts says that after seeing the name of the dish, all the non-veg brigade or those who hate the sight of an eggplant, will wear a smirk for sure. Well! I can’t blame them. The eggplant has not been able to earn a very decent reputation among the veggies and is often thought to be meant for the boring grown-ups. I know kids have only one vowel related to eggplant and that is ewwww! But …..yes there’s always a but….things can change and so can your likes and dislikes.
This dish is prepared especially during the months around Durga Puja and the Chath Puja when we were not allowed to eat or cook with onion and garlic. Simple and without any overpowering spices it is made in such a ways that you can hardly deduce the presence of an eggplant. I tricked my daughter into eating it and she at least agreed to try it (not to forget her-what-the-hell-is-this expression) Though she managed to pick almost all the green coriander leaves I put in her serving…..But still I wore my best smile till the end….almost till the end (God ! how much time these kids take to eat when we are running short of patience).
Baigan(eggplant):500grms (4 medium ones)
2 medium sized carrots (cut in sticks)
2 medium potatoes (cut in sticks or fingerchips)
2 radish(cut in sticks)
5 medium tomatoes chopped
1 inch ginger grated
3 green chillies slit
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp sugar
½ tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
½ cup green coriander leaves chopped
1tsp cumin seeds
2tbs mustard oil
Method: Make sure while cutting all the veggies like eggplant, potato, radish and carrot in same shape. I go for the simple fingerchips style as it makes cooking easier. As we do not add water to the dish it is important that they are of same size so that they cook evenly. As for the tomatoes they should be ripe and just roughly chop them the way you like.
Now heat the oil in a kadai. I use mustard oil as I love the flavor of it. You can use other veg oil if you want. Now add the cumin seeds and let it splutter. Now add bayleaf. Wait till the aroma comes. Now, it’s time to lower the heat and add the grated ginger and the slit green chillies together and cover the pan immediately to avoid the splutter. You have let the green chillies take a nice colour. It’s time to add the eggplant first. Mix and cover for 5min on low heat. Add the potatoes, carrots and radish now and mix. Cover for 5min on low heat. Now add first the tomatoes, salt, sugar and turmeric powder but do not mix. Just cover for 5 more min. When you lift the cover after 5min, you will notice the tomatoes have become tender and the salt and turmeric have taken in the moisture. Mix well slowly and cover for last time for 5min. By this time the eggplant will be all mush mushy so please do not worry. This is what we want. All the veggies should come together but take care not mix too much. When still on heat add the garam masala and green coriander leaves and mix. It gives a nice aroma to the whole dish. Serve with rotis or parathas.
Tips: I insist on choosing tender eggplants with minimum seeds otherwise they won’t cook properly. You can even add other seasonal veggies like the cauliflower. The radish is very unusual in this dish but trust me it’s yummy once everything comes together as a dish. The cooking has to be done on low flame once you add the veggies as there is no water being added to the dish so ladies! Have patience and your fruits of labour will be a sweet…
I mean .. a yummy one.