Archive for May, 2007

Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables: R is for Roasted Eggplant Sambhar

Lucky me, taking a breather from yard and housework for a long weekend getaway. But first, I finally get to rejoin the fun over at One Hot Stove, where lovely Nupur is hosting her weekly A-Z of Indian Vegetables!

Radishes, red peppers, red potatoes, all a possibility for “R” but I had none in the house. I was determined not to miss out on yet another week, so I made my favorite, sambhar — but instead of using plain eggplant, I roasted it. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of eggplant, and the delicate Asian varieties take wonderfully to this treatment. Deglazing the roasting pan with a little water and adding it to the sambhar carries that lovely carmelized sweetness into the finished dish. The addition of fresh ginger is probably not authentic at all, but it compliments the taste of roasted eggplant.

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Roasted Eggplant (Brinjal) Sambhar with Ginger

1/2 c toor dal, picked over and washed
1 small piece tamarind
2 fresh eggplants/brinjals (preferably long asian type)

For tadka:

1 tsp ghee

1″ piece very fresh ginger, peeled and quartered
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp chana dal
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
a few methi seeds
1-2 dried red chiles
few curry leaves

For seasoning:

1 tsp kashmiri chile powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp methi powder

Salt to taste

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Because my brinjals were so fresh and young, I didn’t put them in the oven but pan-roasted them in just a little cooking spray. To do this, heat a frying pan over med-high heat and spray with Pam, or use a little veg. oil. Cut the eggplant into half moons, somewhat thick, and place them in the hot pan. Let them cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes, until they’re good and brown all over and smelling delicious. Turn off the heat and leave the eggplant in the pan. Add about a cup of warm water and stir it around, scraping up any little bits that stuck with a wooden spoon. Reserve the eggplant and this deglazing liquid.

The rest of the recipe is almost identical to the jackfruit sambhar I made a few weeks ago:

Pressure cook the dal with 1 1/2 c water. Mash to a smooth paste and set aside.

Soak the tamarind in about half a cup of hot water till soft. Strain the pulp and set the tamarind water aside.

In a saucepan, heat the ghee and do the tadka. I did the dals and methi first until fragrant, then popped the mustard; cumin, curry leaves and ginger were added last.

Add the roasted eggplant and its deglazing liquid along with the tamarind water, and simmer this mixture about 5 minutes or so, then add the powdered seasonings. Let it simmer together about 10 minutes, then add the mashed dal paste and 2 cups fresh cold water.

Bring everything to a boil, mixing well to blend the dal in completely. Boil just a minute or two, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add salt to taste and simmer a further 15-20 minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Thin with a little more water to get the consistency you prefer.

sambhar with pan-roasted eggplant
roasted eggplant sambhar

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend, and thanks for having me, Nupur! 🙂

Comments (13)

Rainy Day Dreaming

Dream, dream dream dream…

dream, dream, dream…
summer squash seedling, waiting to be planted… dreaming of summer!

Oh, and…

Lookie what I found! 🙂

Comments (13)

Spicy Green Brinjals

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

When I took my vacation a month ago, I had planned to be back to blogging as soon as I returned. Then suddenly, after all of my whining about waiting for Spring — Spring rolled in with a vengeance! My daughter went to her first prom, my son finished his first year at college, and too many outside demands vied for my time. Then I stumbled onto a case of “blogger’s block”. Although I was cooking, nothing I made seemed important enough to write about. I was even having trouble taking decent photos! I gave it a rest for awhile, but oh, how I’ve missed my blogging time!

I’ve also been playing outside in the yard. With college costs increasing, one kid already there and another heading that way in a couple of years, there is a good possibility that we will downsize this house and move. In order to increase “curb appeal”, I’ve been taking more pains in the yard than I have in previous years. I’m also trying to plant a few veggies. The soil in this yard is mostly clay and shale, so planting a living thing requires more than hoe and shovel — what I really need is a jackhammer to break the ground! Needless to say, much time has been spent outdoors.

I have a newfound respect for people who maintain showplace lawns and gardens!

fresh green brinjal
fresh green (Thai) brinjal

I recently found a new enclave of Indian stores — well, they aren’t new, but new to me. One shop, Patel’s, has an amazing array of fresh produce — I really must make a special trip back there soon — and Arjuna, if you’re out there — this is only a few miles down the road from where we usually go!

Last weekend I picked up some fantastically fresh veggies, including a bunch of these beautiful baby brinjals. They were so fresh, I only threw a few away for black seeds, even after they sat in the fridge for five days. Last night I cooked them up with some whole peanuts and spices — they were rich and delicious.

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Spicy Green Brinjals

8-10 fresh green brinjals, quartered and soaked in salt water

1 tsp canola oil
5-6 big garlic cloves, minced
1 big piece fresh ginger, minced
2-3 dried red chiles
1 small onion, sliced thin
2 TB peanuts
2 TB spicy masala powder (I used ISG’s yummy mixture from this recipe)
2 TB jaggery
1/4 c water
salt to taste

In a large saute pan, heat the oil and saute garlic and ginger with red chiles until fragrant. Add onion, peanuts, and brinjal pieces. Cook over med-high heat, tossing and stirring frequently, until onion and brinjals are slightly browned.

Add 2 TB ISG’s spicy masala, jaggery, and water. Stir well and then cover, reduce the heat to med-low and cook about 15 minutes, or till brinjals are tender. Add salt to taste.

Delicious hot or at room temperature.

spicy green brinjals
spicy green brinjals

Comments (19)

Springtime in Northern Michigan

Spring comes slowly to the upper reaches of Michigan… it’s a beautiful time for leisurely walking and watching the world wake…

(click on the photos for larger view)

crocus
crocuses and trout lillies peek through last year’s leaves

deer
fawns begin to lose their spots…

wondering eyes
…but their wondering eyes remain

fluffy ~ click to see all of him!
and a baby squirrel knows a good supper when he sees one!

ore boat passing sleepy town
further north, a huge ore boat glides past a sleepy little town ~ early morning on the shore of Lake Superior

beach glacier
a “beach glacier” holds hidden treasures…

lake superior agates
…buried all winter, they appear in early spring

swans
graceful trumpeter swans in the warm spring sunshine ~ Seney National Wildlife Refuge

st. helena island
St. Helena Island floats serenely in Lake Michigan ~ view from Gros Cap

dreaming…
dreaming of summer and the next trip home…

Comments (25)

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