I have always waxed eloquent about my husband`s love for eggplants/Brinjals in any form. As soon as my local Indian grocer stocks baby eggplants I immediately bring a couple pounds home as I know I would have eggplants at least twice a week! When I picked up these babies, I was already conjuring up recipes in my head for my husband, for the weekend. I already had some leftover paneer from last week tightly wrapped in cling to lock the freshness and texture. I knew I had to use that up too. A quick look at my pantry and I knew I had to put the green peas in , both for nutrition and for that splash of colour. I had seen my friend using yoghurt as a base sauce and I was completelty taken by it, I knew I had to put it to test in my kitchen too….Here is the recipe, tried and tested in my kitchen….to yours…
1 Medium Onion.
10 Baby Aubergines.
1/2 cup diced Paneer.
Handful of green peas.
1 cup Sour Cream.
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream. (Optional).
1 cup Yoghurt.
3 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste.
1 1/2-2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.
2 1/2 Tsp Dhania Powder.
Handful of cashews.
2 Inch Cinnamon Sticks.
1 Tsp Elaichi Powder.
2 Bay leaves.
1 Tsp Sugar
Salt to taste.
- Slice the baby eggplants in to four keeping the calyx intact. Spray oil and salt in to the eggplant and allow to cook in the microwave for 5 mins on high.
- Optionally you could cook it in the oven at 350F for 5-7 minutes until the eggplants are well cooked and soft. Set aside.
- Grind the onion in the mixer along with the cashew and salt to a smooth paste.
- In a kadai, add 3-4 spoons of oil and when hot, add the whole masalas – Bay Leaf, Cloves, Cinnamon and Elaichi Powder. Allow to roast for a few minutes until the aroma fills the air around you.
- In a cup full of water, add the masala powders – Tumeric, Red Chilli Powder and the Dhania Powder and mix well. We do this so that the powders do not get burnt when we add them to the hot kadai.
- Pop in the ground onion paste and add the ginger garlic paste at this stage. Allow the onion paste to fry well in the oil on medium flame until the water from the onion completely disappears and becomes a whole brownish pink mass that comes together. Keep stirring to prevent clumping.
- Add the masalas dissolved in water, to the kadai at this stage . Again keep stirring on medium flame until the water is completely evaporated and you see the oil seperating from the sides.
- Cooking on slow flame cannot be replaced as it adds valuable taste to the dish. Do not attempt to override this and finish quickly by bringing the flame up.
- This is the most important stage of preparation as after adding the yoghurt the heat has to be tempered and the cooking finished.
- Add the brinjals, peas and the diced panner at this stage and mix well. Allow a quick couple of minutes for the masalas to delve in to the veggies.
- Beat the sour cream in the mixer with a little water and dilute it to 2 cups. Add the one cup of yoghurt beat togther to get 3 cups of smooth thick buttermilk.
- Add the 3 cups of thick buttermilk, cream to the stove and stir in carefully.
- Keep the heat on medium low as high heat could lead to buttermilk curdling.
- Allow 5-6 minutes of low flame cooking for the gravy to come together.
- Switch off flame, garnish with chopped corriander leaves and serve Hot with Peas Pulav or Butter Naan.
And my husband had it for lunch the next day too….with aromatic Methi Theplas!!!