Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables ~ E is for …

Hooray! It’s Saturday, almost time for another installment of Nupur’s eggceptional emumeration of The A-Z of Indian Vegetables. I can’t wait to see what will be featured over at One Hot Stove come Sunday or Monday.

Thanks again, Nupur, for the chance to play along!

Back when I was about 12 years old, the American Egg Board introduced a new ad campaign featuring the slogan “The Incredible Edible Egg ™”. The slogan was paired with a catchy little tune and the resulting four-word jingle remains in my head to this day — pretty successful marketing to last that long! 😉

For my entry to Nupur’s Letter “E”, I made an obvious choice. I make no excuse for being predictable however, as this veggie is none other than the enticing and unequaled… incredible edible eggplant!

Known in various languages as aubergine, baingan, brinjal, berenjena, daimaru nasu, makhua, melanzana, qie zi, terong, and many other names*, I was fascinated to learn that the eggplant is native to India*. You’d think I would have known that somehow, with endless exquisite eggplant edibles created and perfected by so many excellent Indian bloggers.

eggplant varieties
beautiful fresh purple and green eggplants

I have always been an eggplant fan, and now that I have found the sweet and tender asian varieties, I find myself indulging in eggplant esctasy every chance I get. Healthy and delicious, there are innumerable ways you can enjoy the enchanting eggplant:

Try Menu Today’s yummy Tamilian-style Stuffed Brinjals

Giniann’s spicy Brinjal Theeyal

For for wedding days or any day, Sailu’s Vankaya Bataani Kura

Indosungod’s rich and tangy Mor Kozhambu or
yummy brinjal curry with spinach and brussels sprouts
yes, that says brussels sprouts! 🙂

With tasty menthi podi from Swapna’s Kitchen

Mix it up into Jasu’s brinjal chutney

In the mood for something timeless?

Try your eggplant elegantly sliced and spiced from Meena’s Hooked on Heat

Use some in Mrs. Marthi’s classic sambhar

Or make a beautiful ‘bouquet of brinjals’ with help from Indira at Mahanandi;
the Best Food IndiBlog of 2006! Congratulations, Indira!! 🙂

And how could I leave out our hostess’ traditional Marathi dish: Bharli Vaangi!

~~~

Many recipies for eggplant call for peanuts and/or coconut, two things I love but am trying, at the moment, to cut back on. I wanted to make a stuffing or gravy that had some substance — ie not made only of spices or vegetables — without draining my calorie bank account. The other day I found a bag of frozen jackfruit seeds at the store. They are fairly low in fat and calories, so I decided to give them a try. While not quite the robust nutty dish you get with peanuts, it came out pretty well! I used small purple eggplants, left whole and slit all around, roasted in ghee fragrant with garlic and ginger, and finished up in a thick gravy. I would also like to try this with the longer japanese-type eggplants, cut in chunks.

~~~

Eggplant (Brinjal) with Jackfruit Seed Gravy

For the eggplant:

6-8 small purple eggplants/brinjals/aubergines
2 tsp oil or ghee
2 TB fresh garlic, minced
1 TB fresh ginger, minced

~~

Wash the eggplant and make slits all around, from top down, leaving the stem intact.

Heat the oil or ghee in a pan large enough to hold the eggplants in a single layer. When hot, add the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant. Add the slit eggplants, turn heat to medium-low, and cover the pan.

Roast the eggplants about 20 minutes, turning from time to time, until they begin to spread apart and the skin is well colored. They should be about half cooked.

With a fork, remove eggplants from the pan and hold aside. Don’t wash the pan.

~~

For the paste:

1/2 c frozen jackfruit seeds, thawed

1 tsp oil or ghee
1 big red onion, chopped

2 tsp cumin-coriander powder
1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt

1 small piece tamarind, soaked in 1/2 c hot water, pulp extracted

~~

Dry-roast the jackfruit seeds in an iron or non-stick pan until well browned (I used a spray of Pam to help them brown). When cool enough, grind to a powder and set aside.

In the eggplant-roasting pan, heat another teaspoon of oil or ghee and fry the chopped onion until soft and beginning to brown. Scrape the pan out well, removing all the bits of ginger and garlic as well as the onion.

When cool enough, grind this to a paste with the powdered jackfruit seeds, cumin-coriander, chili, and turmeric powders, about 1/4 c of the tamarind pulp and the salt. Set aside.

~~

For the gravy:

1 tsp oil or ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp chana dal
2 tsp urad dal
1 tsp cumin seeds
5-6 curry leaves
1 big or (2-3 small) green chile, slit
3/4 c chopped fresh tomatoes (or 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes)
1 TB jaggery, powdered
1 TB Vineela’s magic vangi bhath masala
salt to taste

In a deep frying pan or saute pan, heat the oil or ghee and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add chana dal, urad dal and cumin seeds.

When the dals change begin to change color, add curry leaves and the green
chile(s). Fry a minute longer, then add the onion paste and cook about 10 minutes over medium heat.

Add the tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture has cooked off and the mixture starts sticking to the pan.

Add jaggery and vangi bhath masala and cook 5 minutes further, stirring.

Add 1/2 – 3/4 c water, stir well and bring to a boil. Add the roasted eggplant, pressing down a little on them with the back of a spoon to get the gravy in and around the eggplant as much as possible.

Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat about 20 minutes, or until eggplant is tender.

Taste for salt before serving.

~~~

The gravy was thick and rich-tasting, with a faint nutty flavor from the jackfruit seeds and extra dal in the tempering, and a hint of coconut from the vangi bhath masala. I would recommend using ghee rather than oil for this dish. Ghee lends rich, mellow note to the flavor of eggplant that oil simply can’t match. Four teaspoons might seem like alot; considering I didn’t use peanuts, I felt it was a worthwhile addition.

Tasted even better the next day.

~~~

eggplant with jackfruit seed gravy
eggplant (brinjal) with jackfruit seed gravy

There you have it!

Earthy yet exotic, enchanting and enthralling cooks the world over, elevating essential everyday meals to extraordinary ecstasy, simply exquisite ~~

eggy
The Incredible Edible Eggplant!

*source wikipedia

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21 Comments »

  1. asha said

    HUH!!! Queen of Eggpalnts here with my Masala Baingan!!You forgot!Boo Hoo!

    That dish of your’s looks out of this world and very delicious.How the heck did I forget E for Eggplant?!!!! Me getting old Linda!;p Boo Hoo again!!

    Oh well,it’s too late now.I love the photo,wish I could grab some,I have some plate Idlis left in the fridge!!!YUM!!!

    Miss Asha, my *young* and dear friend… you have SO many yummy recipes for eggplant baingan brinjal and homegrown ones at that!!! You are indeed the Queen of Eggplants, and this mere commoner begs forgiveness but I already had a long post so I had to choose but one of your lovely creations :):):)

    Bring on the idlis and we’ll cook up an eggplant extravaganza!! 😉

  2. giniann said

    That looks delicious. ‘In a jackfruit seed gravy’ – I could never bring myself to try this recipe, if I hadn’t seen that picture.
    I never used eggplants that much until I started blogging. Hurray for eggplants!

    Thanks Gini! I was a little nervous too, till I tasted the roasted seeds. Then I thought it would be worth the try. Came out ok! Hurray for eggplants indeed! 🙂

  3. Nupur said

    How cute and creative are you?? Truly amazing, Linda! This one I have to try, as well as recipes from all these amazing links you have here.

    Thanks for having me again, Nupur — love this series of yours! 🙂

  4. Dilip said

    gosh….eggplants yes but jackfruit seeds…gosh thats new to me…and the dals too in such a dish…I can smell it from here…looks devine my friend…I have to try the gravey…I am sure it can be used with other veggies too…thanks for sharing…~smile~…

    Thank you Dilip! I’ll have to try that gravy with some other veggies, maybe something green… Hope to see some recipes from you when you’re able! 🙂

  5. prema said

    Hi Linda,
    I always use peanuts and coconut to make brijal curry. Using jackfruit seeds instead of coconut and peanut is really a very innovative idea… looks great ..love to have it with hot rice.

    Thanks Prema — I was skeptical but I was happy with the results. Jackfruit seeds tasted a little more subtle than peanuts 🙂

  6. Vani said

    How good does that look, Linda!! Very unique with the dried, roasted and powdered jackfruit seeds! That must’ve tasted wonderful! My mom makes a curry with dried and boiled jackfruit seeds and raw jackfruit pieces. Now, after reading your post, I should get that recipe, I think!
    Very nice one, Linda! 🙂

    Oh! If you get that recipe Vani, please post it! Would love to try that! Thanks for your kind words 🙂

  7. Sushma said

    Ohhh what a lovely post Linda…I still have a smile after reading your statement..”Thats my story and I am sticking to it “…:-) I am a big fan of eggplant and just LOVE It …. It tastes great and is such a healthy treat for oneself…

    I have also posted about eggplant bharta which is about roasting the eggplant of direct fire and it takes the eggplant to a new level…Its one of fav way to eat eggplant..try it if you like it….

    Adios
    -Sushma

    Hi Sushma, I haven’t tried bharta yet, but will definitely check out your recipe and perhaps try in summer when the charcoal grill is going 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post… I’m a big eggplant fan too 🙂

  8. sandeepa said

    Linda you have listed such a wide variety of eggplant dishes and cooked in the indian way that even I am not aware of most of them 🙂 I love your passion and dedication for Indian food.
    Always wanted to know what got you interested in Indian food ?

    Hi Sandeepa, and thank you! I had fun collecting those links… some I have tried and some are on my wish list. How I got interested in Indian food: I tried some dal from a takeout place, wanted to make it at home, got on the internet and started cooking, and got hooked. I’ve always loved trying authentic recipes from different cuisines, but Indian food seems to be natural for me. Can’t really explain! 🙂

  9. sailaja said

    You amaze me no end with your love for creative indian cooking. You rock, Linda!!

    Sailaja, thank you! 🙂

  10. indosungod said

    Linda that looks so delicious and with one of your creative twists of adding jackfruit seeds (I should grab a bag one of these days) and needless to say my mouth is watering. Loved reading your writeup. I did make a Brinjal dish yesterday but did not know about Nupur’s event.

    Thanks ISG! Your vaangi baath looks absolutely delish! I love those jackfruit seeds… have more plans for them 🙂

  11. swapna said

    WOW WOW WOW u did a wonderful job!!!!!

    Wow! Thanks, Swapna! 🙂

  12. Trupti said

    Dayum girl, you can COOK….! that’s all I have to say!

    Trying to learn all I can from all you *eggcellent* cooks, Trupti! Thanks 🙂

  13. Arjuna said

    Great post Linda! Lots of eggplant dishes at one place..

    Thank you Arjuna — so nice to see you! Hope all’s well. I always think of you when I’m shopping around Boston 🙂

  14. pelicano said

    Well Linda! I must say this dish looks pretty awesome! I think you and I are so much on the same page in the discovery of so many wonderful, sensual, aromatic dishes made of eggplant….those large Italian eggplants don’t hold a candle at all to the sweet and smaller asian eggplants of great variety…my favorite are those thai green and white striped ones in your pic- “hybrid kermit” being a popular variety of them. I love them in both Thai and Indian dishes, as well as raw on a crudite platter!!
    Is this recipe from Hyderabad? I see elements of both southern cooking and Moghlai so I was wondering, as I have never seen this dish before…but it sure is making me drool!! 😉

    Hi Pelicano, and thank you! Agree, eggplants are fabulous, but I will admit I haven’t eaten them raw yet! As for the recipe, it’s from Massachusetts. Of course, I have absorbed alot of ideas from others’, but I made this one up as I went along 🙂

  15. sia said

    linda, how did u manage to get jackfruit seeds girl? did u get fresh ones or canned? wish i was staying somewhere close to ur place. i loveeeeeeeee brinjals and ur dish looks toooooooooooo good:) ah… hope techie guys come with some cool s/w where we can taste food from blogs;) love it girl…

    Hi Supriya, these jackfruit seeds were frozen. Would you like some? I can airmail them with a plate of brinjals … 🙂 Thanks for your nice comments 🙂

  16. Menu Today said

    Hi Linda,
    Brinjal and Jackfruit seeds great combination… I love all your post. Thanks for mentioning.

    Hi MT, thanks so much, I appreciate your kindness 🙂

  17. Mishmash! said

    hey,linda, the picture says it all !! Though I feel like trying this dish, my husband doesnt come anywhere near this veggie:O 🙂

    Shn

    Thanks, Shn… I’m about the only person in this house to eat them too… more for us hmm? 🙂

  18. MeltingWok said

    my goddd..jackfruit seeds are such a delicacy, not many knows how to appreciate the taste. Haven’t had it in a while…well, there’s jackfruits here in CA, but no seeds haha..arghh 😦 great recipe, Linda, I know how these two combo goes, darn..me wanna plate now !!

    Thanks Shirley — you might find jackfruit seeds frozen as I did, in an Indian or Asian grocery? I liked the taste very much 🙂

  19. pelicano said

    Ah! You fooled me! With this recipe you could pass for a Royal Hyderabadi Kitchen Sorceress!

    I seriously doubt that, Pelicano, but I thank you for the encouragement 🙂

  20. jaspa said

    Brinjal with jack fruit seed gravy, thats absolutely looking delicious.
    Very creative.

    Thank you so much, J! 🙂

  21. Lera said

    Egg plant magic,is what I get to see,with such a beautiful combo.jackfruit seeds are my fav, I’m sure this would have tasted great.liked your choice,you’ve excellent taste:))

    Thank you for your kind comments Lera… those eggplants are magical aren’t they 🙂 I loved the jackfruit seeds. Your lotus seeds gravy was big inspiration there! 🙂

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