Literally translates to Eggplant gravy in oil. As the name suggests, this requires a generous amount of oil, sesame oil preferably. You can take care of the guilt by eating with a light keerai (spinach) masiyal or paruppusili.
This is a simple spinach dish that comes together in 15 mins, in the time it takes rice to be ready. Can be made with any of the greens. I’ve used purslane or paruppu keerai as it’s known in Tamil since I grow it. It grows very easily. All parts of the plant are edible, including the very pretty yellow flowers. There are many varieties of purslane with different colored flowers, and I was told the one with the yellow flowers was the one most used in cooking. It can be sauteed with salt and garlic, or sprinkled on salads, or, as I’ve done here, cooked with onions, chilies, and dals to make a wholesome dish to be eaten with rice. (I am not qualified to give medical advice, but I’m told it is high in oxalates, so if you’re watching oxalate intake which may cause kidney stones, go easy on it.
We had this sandwich this past weekend, after a trip to the local arboretum. We picked up the bread (a loaf of french baguette) and goat cheese, and had most of the other ingredients. It came together very quickly – the eggplant and the zucchini were cut into circlets and cooked very lightly with salt and pepper, the spread was made with goatcheese, sundried tomatoes, and herbs (I didn’t use most of the herbs, just the basil). It was amazing, satisfying. We had it with roasted corn with chaat masala – strange bedfellows, these two but it was a fantastic meal.
This is a very simple, but amazing dish of pasta stuffed with spinach and ricotta/mozzarella cheese. Most ravioli we get in restaurants and grocery stores have eggs in them – either in the pasta or in the stuffing. We wanted to try it without eggs since we know pasta doesn’t really need eggs and our family typically tries to eat without eggs. This was a labor-intensive recipe, but simple. My daughter did most of the work. The results were amazing delicious homemade ravioli, enough to feed 3 of us for dinner, and freeze a couple of servings for my daughter for a busy school night! Win-win-win!
A complex dish with an unusual combination of spices, souring agents, and the star vegetable that’s actually a condiment! I have made bhaghare baingan which is very similar, but made with eggplant/brinjal. This year, I am getting a bounty of slim, long green chilies in my garden and was searching online for suitable new recipes, and ran into this. I have never actually had this dish in a restaurant but decided to make it, since we love bhagare baingan.
While looking for recipes, I did some research on the origins of the dish, and came across the fascinating story of how green chilies made their way into India. Hard to believe, but they are not native to India, considering how much every cuisine of India uses them, and how seamlessly integrated they seem, as to make one think they are native to India. Nope, just like tomatoes, they were brought to India by the Portuguese, specifically the famous Vasco da Gama who brought the saplings wrapped in moss as a gift — he picked them up from Spain, Brazil and Africa! In return, he took home the precious black gold, aka pepper!
Read all about how they made their way into Akbar’s and all the kitchens of India in this story:
By the way, I learned that Akbar was a staunch vegetarian! Wonders never cease, and Akbar continues to amaze me. This dish, with the influence of Karnataka, Telengana, and Marathwada cuisines, apparently appealed to Akbar’s “unifying Hindustan” sensitibilites. I love food stories! On to the recipe now.