Showing posts with label masala. Show all posts
Showing posts with label masala. Show all posts

Feb 20, 2017

Parsi Garam Masala

Parsi Garam Masala, parsi, garam, masala, recipe, authentic, star anise, parsee, persia, iran, india, spice mix, spices, chakra phool,

Parsis are an ethnic and religious group that emigrated from ancient Persia to India in the 10th century. Parsi cuisine has evolved into a delicious fusion of Persian and Indian influences. This recipe for Parsi style garam masala perfectly reflects this unique blend of cultures. The earthy warmth of green cardamom, cumin, and black pepper are perfectly balanced by the sweet heat of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise in this flavorsome mix.



"Parsis of Bombay" engraving, ca. 1878

Parsis practice a unique religion called Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism encourages wealth creation as well as charity.
 For centuries, prominent Parsis have shared their success through philanthropy. The names of top Parsi traders and industrialists are a common sight on hospitals, schools, and libraries in India.

Parsis celebrating Navroze Mubarak

No Parsi function is complete without good food that has been laboriously and lovingly prepared. The Zoroastrian community gathers for six annual feasts called gahambars and a new year's celebration called Navroze. Weddings too require a lavish multi-course feast called a lagan no bhonu. Parsi dishes reveal traces of their Persian past in a fondness for nuts, dry fruits, and sweetness. The Indian influence on Parsi cuisine is the addition of garlic, ginger, and subcontinental spices.


I've adapted this recipe from Neela Batra's cookbook, 1,000 Indian Recipes. Unfortunately Ms Batra's book has rather incongruent instructions for those 1,000 recipes. The recipes also often result in unsuitably large quantities for the home cook. So I reduced the amounts by half to yield a half cup. The quantities in the original recipe were for ground spices so I've left them that way. I used whole spices and ground them in the same amounts with excellent results. It's the ratio that's most important in spice mixes. Ms Batra's recipe calls for dry roasting the ground spices too. DO NOT DRY ROAST GROUND SPICES OR YOU'LL END UP WITH A SCORCHED MESS.  I don't dry roast my spices for reasons listed here. I'll include instructions for roasting whole spices if you are one of those sorts who simply must dry roast though.

Parsi Garam Masala, parsi, garam, masala, recipe, authentic, star anise, parsee, persia, iran, india, spice mix, spices, chakra phool,

Ingredients:
2&1/2 TBS ground green cardamom/elaichi
2 TBS ground cinnamon or cassia/dalchini (or four 2 inch pieces of cassia bark/cinnamon sticks)
2 TBS ground black peppercorns/kali mirch
2 TBS ground cumin/jeera
1&1/2 TBS star anise/chakra phool
1 TBS ground cloves/laung

Here's what to do:

For raw/unroasted garam masala- 
Coarsely grind all spices until roughly the texture of coffee grounds. Traditionally a mortar and pestle or "sil batta" was used to get this texture. Garam masala is not supposed to be like that finely ground powdery stuff you see sold at stores. To get the traditional texture we're looking for use the pulse button on your mixie, food processor, or coffee grinder until you get the desired results. If you are using a coffee grinder or small mixie jar you might want to grind each spice separately in batches to get a consistent texture. Breaking the cassia bark (or cinnamon sticks) into smaller pieces before grinding helps also. Store in an airtight container out of sunlight or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Parsi Garam Masala, parsi, garam, masala, recipe, authentic, star anise, parsee, persia, iran, india, spice mix, spices, chakra phool,



Two methods to dry roast garam masala-

Traditional- 
1) Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan or tawa for 7-10 minutes.
2) Dry roast spices one at a time in batches, or toss all spices in and stir frequently until spices give off a fragrant aroma.
3) Allow to cool completely. Grind coarsely using pulse button in mixie, food processor, or coffee grinder.  Store in an airtight container out of sunlight or in freezer for up to 3 months.
(The problem with this traditional method is that the temperature isn't really even over a tawa on a gas flame &and some spices may scorch while others remain unroasted. Cumin usually roasts faster than the other spices and when burned has an unpleasant bitter flavor.  Roasting spices separately reduces the risk of scorching but is tedious. Why do South Asians still do use traditional tawa method? Because most South Asians do not have any sort of oven in their homes.)

Fast & easy oven method-
1) Preheat oven to 220F/100C.
2) Spread all spices over 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan or cookie sheet. Bake spices for 10 minutes.
3) Allow to cool completely and grind coarsely using pulse button in mixie, food processor, or coffee grinder.  Store in an airtight container out of sunlight  or in freezer for up to 3 months.

Jan 25, 2017

Mughlai Garam Masala

garam masala, mughal, mughlai, recipe, easy, garam, masala, traditional, authentic, simple, hot, spice, blend, mixture, indian, north indian, sahni, julie,

In Hindi, masala refers to a mixture of spices and garam means hot or warming in the Ayurvedic sense. Mughlai garam masala is a traditional mixture of cardamom, cassia bark, cloves, black pepper, and nutmeg added. It adds a subtle aromatic flavor to dishes and is considered a hallmark of classical north Indian cooking.


Garam masala is used as a finishing touch in many Subcontinental cuisines just as ground black pepper is used in Western cooking. Recipes for garam masala vary from region to region and even household to household! This classic recipe for garam masala in royal Mughal style is adapted from the famed chef Julie Sahni's brilliant cookbook, Classic Indian Cooking. Differing in the lavish use of expensive spices this particular blend is not often commercially available. If you were to purchase the ingredients for this garam masala at a western supermarket or specialty spice store the cost would be exorbitant. However, if you buy the whole spices at your local Indian grocer and grind them yourself, this blend will cost mere pennies!

garam masala, mughal, mughlai, recipe, easy, garam, masala, traditional, authentic, simple, hot, spice, blend, mixture, indian, north indian, sahni, julie,

The flavor of this garam masala is sweeter and more delicate compared to most ready made blends too. I like to use this recipe when cooking the rich cream, milk, or meat-based dishes of north Indian cuisines. According to Chef Sahni, the spices in this blend are so naturally fragrant and easily digested that dry roasting them isn't necessary. I chose green cardamoms for this batch but using black or brown cardamoms results in a deeper, smoky flavor. I also used cassia bark rather than cinnamon sticks because it's traditional and I prefer it's peppery bite over the sweeter cinnamon. Anyway you choose to customize this blend it's sure to add a little Mughal splendor to everything you make!

Ingredients:
1/3 cup (about 200) green cardamom/elaichi pods or 1/2 C (about 60) black cardamoms/badi elaichi
2 three inch pieces of cassia bark/dalchini or cinnamon sticks
1 TBS whole cloves/laung
1 TBS black peppercorns/kali mirch
1&1/2 tsp grated nutmeg/jaiphal (optional)

Here's what to do:
1) Crush cassia bark or cinnamon sticks with a kitchen mallet, rolling pin, or belan to break it into small pieces. (If you have little bits and bobs of cassia bark or cinnamon stick about this is a good place to use them.)

garam masala, mughal, mughlai, recipe, easy, garam, masala, traditional, authentic, simple, hot, spice, blend, mixture, indian, north indian, sahni, julie,

2) Combine all the spices except nutmeg and grind to a fine powder in a coffee grinder, a spice mill, or a mixie.
garam masala, mughal, mughlai, recipe, easy, garam, masala, traditional, authentic, simple, hot, spice, blend, mixture, indian, north indian, sahni, julie,

3) Mix in the grated nutmeg, if desired. Store in an airtight container away from heat and light. Use within three months. Makes about 3/4C

Helpful Hints:
Chef Sahni advises removing the seeds from the cardamom pods and discarding the skins. I disagree, the skin of green cardamoms and black cardamoms have flavor. I can't bear to throw the skins away! Anyway, I use the whole pod when I grind my masalas but peel away if you must. (But don't throw away those skins, put them in your masala chai mix!)

If you are interested in trying other regional variations of this classic spice blend try Punjabi Garam Masala, Nepali Garam Masala, or Kashmiri Garam Masala.

Portrait of Mughal Emperor Zahir ud-Din Mohammad (Babur), founder of the Mughal empire
date 1630AD, artist unknown

Oct 27, 2016

Nepali Garam Masala

Nepali Garam Masala recipe szechuan peppercorns timur sichuan nepal

From the Himalayan nation of Nepal comes this version of the classic spice mix garam masala. Garam means heating in the Ayurvedic sense and masala means spices. What makes this recipe for garam masala unique is the use of Himalayan grown spices like zingy timur (Szechuan peppercorns), fragrant cassia leaves, and aromatic brown cardamoms. Try this simple to make spice mix to add some Nepalese flavor to any savory dish!

Nepali Garam Masala recipe szechuan peppercorns timur sichuan nepal
Don't let the use of timur or the Himalayan variety of Szechuan peppercorns in this recipe put you off. You most certainly can use the easier to find Chinese Szechuan peppercorns in place of the Nepali variety called timur. Let me tell you, the Chinese Szechuan peppercorns pack about half the wallop and pungency that the Nepali variety called timur does. This recipe has just the right proportion of black peppercorns to Szechuan peppercorns to give you a mild sensation of what the Chinese call ma la (translates as 'numbing heat').  I choose not to dry roast my garam masala as I usually fry it when adding to a dish but I've added directions on how to traditional dry roast the spices on the stove top or use an oven. Either way make this spice mix to add a bit of traditional Nepali zest and zing to any curry or chutney!

Ingredients:
1 TBS cumin seeds/jeera
1 TBS coriander seeds/dhania
1 TBS black peppercorns/kali mirch
2 tsp green cardamoms/elaichi
2 tsp black cardamoms/kali elaichi
1 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini, broken into small pieces (or cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp cloves/laung
1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns/timur
1 cassia leaf/tej patta, cut into small pieces
Do not dry roast but mix in afterwards-
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg/jaiphal
1/2 tsp ground dried ginger/soonth

Here's what to do:
For raw/unroasted garam masala- 
Coarsely grind all spices until roughly the texture of coffee grounds. Traditionally a mortar and pestle or sil batta was used to get this texture. Garam masala is not supposed to be like the finely ground powdery stuff you see sold at stores. To get the traditional 'coffee grounds' texture we're looking for use the 'pulse' button on your mixie, food processor, or coffee grinder until you get the desired results. If you are using a coffee grinder or small mixie jar you might want to grind each spice separately in batches to get a consistent texture. Breaking the cassia bark (or cinnamon sticks) into smaller pieces before grinding helps also. Store in an airtight container out of sunlight.

Two methods to dry roast garam masala-

Traditional- 
1) Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan or tawa for 7-10 minutes.
2) Dry roast spices one at a time in batches, or toss all spices in and stir frequently until spices give off a fragrant aroma. Do not dry roast grated nutmeg or dried ginger.
3) Allow to cool completely. Grind coarsely (including grated nutmeg and dried ginger) using pulse button in mixie, food processor, or coffee grinder.  Store in an airtight container out of sunlight.
(The problem with this traditional method is that the temperature isn't really even over a tawa on a gas flame and some spices may scorch while others remain unroasted. Cumin usually roasts faster than the other spices and when burned has an unpleasant bitter flavor.  Roasting spices separately reduces the risk of scorching but is tedious. Why do South Asians still do use traditional tawa method? Because most South Asians do not have any sort of oven in their homes.)

Fast & easy oven method-
1) Preheat oven to 220F/100C.
2) Spread all spices (except grated nutmeg and dried ginger) over 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan or cookie sheet. Bake spices for 10 minutes.
3) Allow to cool completely and grind coarsely (including mace, nutmeg, or allspice) using pulse button in mixie, food processor, or coffee grinder.  Store in an airtight container out of sunlight.

Here's photo of a beautiful Nepali sunset I took from my roof yesterday evening.
There's Mt Macchapuchre on the right and Annapurna III on the left in the parting clouds at dusk. 


Aug 17, 2016

Kashmiri Garam Masala


Kashmiri Garam Masala Kashmiri Garam Masala shahi jeera indian spice mix authentic kashmir fennel

Every region of India has it's own blend of garam masala. The word garam means heating to the body in the Ayurvedic sense and masala means spices. The Kashmiri version of garam masala differs from other North Indian spice mixes in it's use of shahi jeera and fennel seeds.  Richly flavored and warmly aromatic and this recipe perfectly complements the savory dishes of Kashmir.

Kashmiri Garam Masala shahi jeera indian spice mix authentic kashmir fennel
Traditionally, about a half teaspoon of this spice mix is stirred into whatever savory Kashmiri dish you've made just before serving. If you wish to use this garam masala mix in this manner you must dry roast it. Unfortunately dry roasting spices causes them to go rancid sooner so either make this recipe in small batches or store it in an airtight container in the freezer. The mace and nutmeg do not require dry roasting so simply grind them in after roasting and cooling the other spices.

Ingredients:
1 TBS black peppercorns/kali mirch
1 TBS cumin/jeera seeds
1 TBS shahi jeera/black cumin seeds
1 TBS fennel/saunf seeds
2 blades of mace/javatri
7  black cardamoms/kali elaichi
2 two inch pieces of cassia bark/dalchini, broken into smaller pieces
25 cloves/laung
2 blades of mace/javatri
1 tsp nutmeg/jaiphal, ground

Here's what to do:
1) Preheat oven to 220F/100C.
2) Spread all spices except for nutmeg and mace on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
3) Remove baking sheet from oven and allow to cool.
4) When spices have cooled add nutmeg and mace to mixture. Place all spices in mixie, blender or food processor and pulse to grind spices coarsely. Store in an airtight container away from heat and light for up to one month.


Helpful hints:
You can use this as you would any garam masala mix in any recipe for a bit of Kashmiri flair.
If you plan on using this garam masala mix in a recipe where it is to be heated or fried you do not need to dry roast it.

May 16, 2016

Ingredient of the Week: Ajwain, Ajowan, Carom, Omam, Bishop's Weed


Ajwain looks like fuzzy caraway seeds but tastes nothing like caraway.

Ajwain is a member of the parsley family and is often confused with many other spices like caraway, lovage seeds, and celery seeds. Adding to the confusion ajwain goes by many different names: ajowan, carom, bishop's weed, omam, omum, Königskümmel, Indischer Kümmel, Egyptian caraway, and al-kumun al-muluki. The spice's name can be traced to the Sanskrit word "yavani" meaning "Greek." This suggests that the spice originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and arrived in India in during the ancient Greek conquest of Central Asia. It isn't really known why the Arabs call ajwain as al-kumun al-muluki or the "king's cumin," but the German name Königskümmel or "king's caraway" probably derives from it.

The flowers of the ajwain plant
To add even further to taxonomic confusion the ajwain plant has several different botanical names too: Carum copticumCarum ajowan, Ptychotis ajowanAmmi copticum, and Trachyspermum ammi. Ajwain is an annual herbaceous plant about 1 to 2 feet in height and is mainly cultivated in Rajasthan. What is referred to as the spice or seeds are actually the tiny fruits of the plant. Both the seeds or fruits as well as the leaves are eaten in India. Analysis of ajwain seeds or fruits commonly eaten as a spice in India reveals a thymol content of almost 98%. Thymol is the same compound that flavors the herb thyme as well as original Listerine mouthwash.

The flavor of ajwain seeds has been described variously as having notes of thyme, anise, cumin, and oregano. I get an initial blast of almost mentholated thyme as in original flavor Listerine mouthwash out of ajwain seeds. A bit of an earthy cumin note follows this mouth numbing blast adding to it's complexity. The flavor is similar to but definitely less subtle than thyme,  none of the subtle floral nuances of thyme are present in ajwain. The thyme note is so strong it borders on the camphoraceous or eucalyptic. Ajwain is certainly what I'd call an accent spice.

Ajwain is used in a variety of dishes in South Asia.  It often flavors pickles, dals, beans, tops flatbreads or savory pastries, and adds complexity to bland or starchy vegetable curries. Because of ajwain's pungent flavor it is definitely a spice that must be dry roasted or fried to mellow it's harshness before use in a dish. Never grind ajwain either, just bruise it lightly in a mortar and pestle or it's strong flavor may overtake a dish. 

Bhelpuri, a snack sold on the street in South Asia typically served in a newspaper cone with a spoon for eating on the go.
(There are no drive thru windows in South Asia YET.)
The one exception to not grinding ajwain would be chat masala. "Chat" or "chaat" is usually a snack often sold by street vendors that this spice blend or "masala" is often used upon. Above is a picture of "bhelpuri" a chat which is usually a mixture of chopped tomatoes, broken papdis, cilantro, potatoes, peanuts, peas, bean sprouts, raw onion, puffed rice, chutneys, and sev. (Sev is the squiggly yellow noodles made of chickpeas on top.) A hefty dollop of chat masala is in there too!


My particular favorite is Catch's Magic Masala.  It boasts a sweet, sour, salty, and umami mix with not only ground ajwain but asafoetida, mint, kala namak/black salt, amchur, long pepper, and a variety of other piquant ingredients. Want to pep up potatoes, rev up a raita, fire up a fruit salad, jazz up some juice, tart up some tofu, or exuberantly enhance eggs? Sprinkle a little of Catch's Chat Masala on them and you're in for a taste sensation!

A cheerfully embellished chat wagon specializing in bhelpuri .
This chatwalla is not taking any chances, he has Ganesh & Laxmi painted on his sign!

Calmly currying on,
Bibi

Apr 10, 2016

Bihari Green Beans Masala

Bihari Green Beans Masala

The classic combination of green beans and almonds gets the masala treatment in this easy to make side dish. Green beans are simmered until tender in a velvety coconut milk sauce laced with the warmth of traditional North Indian spices. Lavish and rich enough for a posh dinner yet simple enough to make every day, this vegetarian dish fits the bill for any occasion.


I thought I got this recipe from my long lost copy of Julie Sahni's 1980 cookbook Classic Indian Cooking.  A brief perusal of the internet and this recipe turns up in a 2010 article about Julie Sahni in the New York Times. I really must replace my copy of Classic Indian Cooking. The recipes are somewhat westernized in techniques and flavor but easily tweaked to make them more Desi. Over the years I've heavily embellished and adapted Ms. Sahni's original recipe to suit my family's tastes.


Bihar is a region of North India just south of the Nepal border. It is a land of fertile subtropical plains where the river Ganges pours down from the Himalayas into India. I'm not really familiar with Bihari cuisine except to say it is largely vegetarian, uses a lot of besan (chickpea flour), and features smoked chilis for seasoning. The only Bihari food I've had the opportunity to sample was an interesting drink made from besan and a besan stuffed paratha.



Ingredients:
1/2kg/1lb  green beans, tops and tails removed and cut into one inch pieces
3 TBS cooking oil
3/4 C onion, finely diced or ground
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 tsp coriander/dhania ground
2 tsp cumin/jeera. ground
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne powder)
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 can coconut milk (400ml)
2 tsp lime/nimbu juice
3 TBS chopped cilantro/dhania leaves (optional)
9-10 almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
salt as required
Here's what to do:

1) In a kadhai or large heavy bottomed skillet heat oil for 5 minutes. Fry almonds until golden and set aside if using. Add onions to same oil in pan with 1 tsp salt fry until just translucent.  


2) Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, Kashmiri mirch, and turmeric to the fried onions. Allow to fry for 2 minutes.


3) Add coconut milk and green beans to fried onion and spice mixture. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered until to desired tenderness. This usually takes about 10 to 12 minutes.


4) Add lime juice and cilantro leaves to dish if using and stir well. Salt to taste and garnish with almonds if desired.

Our little teepee trellis of green beans.
An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:


Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

Apr 7, 2016

Malabar Style Chicken Curry

Malabar Style Chicken Curry

On the southwestern coast of India lies the beautiful region of Malabar. A lush tropical paradise long known as the "Land of Spices" that lies between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. Malabar's astonishingly diverse cuisine is the result of the influence of Arabic, Syrian, Chinese, Dutch, Portuguese, and British spice traders over the centuries. A lavish use of spices, tart tamarind, and rich coconut are the hallmarks of Malabar cuisine. This boldly spiced brilliant red chicken curry is typical of Malabar's delicious dishes. Mellowed by sweet and sumptuous coconut milk the spices present as warmly aromatic rather than fiery hot. The sweet and sour tang of tamarind perfectly accentuates the combination of assertive flavors. This chicken curry is easy to make and it's rich gravy pairs well with steamed rice, chapattis, pulao, appam, or pathiri. 



Ingredients:
1 kg/2lbs chicken, skinless, cut into 6-8 pieces
3 TBS cooking oil
2 onions, sliced into thin half moons
1 tsp salt
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
2 tomatoes, diced finely
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped
1 can coconut milk (400ml)
2 tsp tamarind paste
Mix for marinade:
3 TBS yogurt/dahi
2 TBS garlic paste
1 TBS ginger paste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
Grind to smooth paste for masala:
1 TBS lime juice
1 TBS water
3 whole star anise/phoolchakri
9 cloves/laung
15 black peppercorns/kali mirch
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika + 1 tsp cayenne powder)
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
2 tsp ground cumin/jeera
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi

Here's what to do:
1) Mix yogurt, garlic, ginger, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp tumeric together for marinade. Coat all chicken pieces in marinade mix and place in sealable airtight container. Allow chicken to marinate for 30 minutes up to overnight in the refrigerator.


2) When ready to cook grind all ingredients listed under masala to smooth paste, and set aside. Heat oil in deep heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai and fry sliced onions with 1 tsp salt until just beginning to brown.


3) Add cassia bark/dalchini and ground masala paste to fried onions. Stir well and fry for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and green chilis, stir well and fry until tomatoes soften.


4) Add marinated chicken pieces to fried onion and masala mixture in pan. Allow chicken pieces to fry for 4 minutes on each side, the chicken should just be turning white. If masala mixture begins to stick or scorch reduce heat and add 1/4 C water.


5) Add can of coconut milk and teaspoon of tamarind paste to chicken and masala mixture in pan, stir well. Allow mixture to simmer uncovered over medium low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. If mixture begins to stick or scorch reduce heat and add 1/4 water.


6) When chicken has cooked through and oil separates from gravy your dish is ready. Salt to taste and serve.

Helpful Hints:

Never cook chicken in a pressure cooker, it gets a rubbery texture from the extreme, high heat.

If you don't have Kashmiri mirch a good substitute is 1/2 paprika plus 1/2 cayenne powder.



An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:


Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

Apr 2, 2016

Boba's Baingan Bharta (Spicy Smoked Eggplant)


When my husband says a dish I've made tastes just like his mother made it, I know it's perfect! 

My mother in law's nickname is Boba and this her recipe for bhaingan bharta. "Bhaingan" means eggplant and "bharta" refers to the mashing technique with a wooden spoon. Similar to Middle Eastern "baba ghanoush" the eggplant is first roasted over a open flame or coals. This is what infuses the dish with smoky flavor. The roasted eggplant is then sauteed with a flavorsome blend of traditional north Indian spices. The result is a rich, savory pâté of eggplant almost caviar like in richness and intensity. The final step is a handful of chopped cilantro or mint stirred through just to add a bit of brightness. 


indian baba ghaneoushh aubergines Desi

Despite being from different cultures and not even speaking the same language my mother in law and I always shared a love of cooking and very similar tastes. Boba could neither read nor write nor had she ever left the city of Srinagar in her entire life. She never used any recipes but seasoned each dish to perfection. Boba would have taken the eggplant to the tandoori bakery down the street from her home, the bakers would place them into the tandoor oven to roast in a matter of minutes. Boba said that roasting the eggplant in the tandoor ovens was the only way to get the smoky flavor that was so important to this dish.


We're going to try and replicate the charring effect of a tandoor oven on the eggplant over a gas burner. It's not quite the same, and it does take a bit longer but the end result is still quite delicious. Kashmiris would top this dish with a garnish of their beloved local walnuts and perhaps a dollop of local curd or yoghurt. As eggplant is a notorious oil sop be sure to use an oil that you like in this dish. I seriously considered styling this dish with my nacre caviar spoon due to it's richness. (What else am I going to do with a caviar spoon in Nepal?)  Baingan bharta is traditionally served with rice or chapattis warm or at room temperature.

Ingredients:
2 large eggplants, about 1&1/2 lbs
1/4 C cooking oil
1 onion, diced finely
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
1 tsp ginger/adrak paste
1-2 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped finely
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
2 tsp ground cumin/jeera
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika +1/2 tsp cayenne)
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
1/2 tsp garam masala
5 black peppercorns/kali mirch, ground coarsely
2 tomatoes, diced finely
3 TBS cilantro or fresh mint, chopped finely
5 walnuts, chopped coarsely  (optional for garnish)

Here's what to do:
1) Roast eggplants over a medium gas flame. Keep turning and cooking until outside of eggplant is charred and blackened evenly all over. The eggplant will seem to deflate as the flesh within cooks. Set aside to cool.


2) Peel off charred skin from roasted eggplants. Don't worry about black flecks that remain on the soft flesh as that will help give us the smoky flavor we seek.


3) Heat oil in kadhai or heavy bottomed frying pan. Fry walnut for garnish and set aside if using. Fry onions with 1 teaspoon salt until translucent. Add garlic, ginger and chilis and fry for 2 minutes.


4) Add tomatoes, and spices to onion mixture. Fry until tomatoes begin to soften.


5) Put the roasted eggplants in the pan with the tomatoes spice mixture. Stir and mash with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes.


6) When the mixture becomes smooth and shiny stir through the cilantro or mint and salt to taste. Garnish with fried walnuts if desired and serve warm or at room temperature.


Helpful Hints:
If you don't have a gas burner you could also roast the eggplants over an outdoor charcoal grill,  an indoor electric burner, or on a foil lined baking sheet under a broiler in an oven.

An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:


Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

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