Khatte Baingan Masala

I served the Avocado Rotis with Khatte Baingan masala. This is a recipe by one of my favorite Indian chefs – ‘Sanjeev Kapoor’. He is probably the most celebrated chefs of Indian cuisine. I remember that his show ‘Khana Khazana’ was one of the first cookery shows I ever saw. This is a very easy recipe to make and when I am making a lot of items for a dinner party..I make this, coss I make it in advance and its very easy to put together. The original recipe calls for deep frying the eggplant pieces, but I just bake it, and it tastes just the same. Also, I use the long Japanese variety of Eggplant for this, as it is more meatier and stands up in the sauce.

If planning to make this ahead of time: you may bake the eggplant and also make the spice paste a couple of days in advance. Put it together a day in advance..and reheat on the day of. Since it is a tangy tastes better when it sits for a day or so. Works well with rotis and also rice dishes.

1 long Japanese eggplant, quartered and cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, minced fine..or grated
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala(optional)
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 cup peanuts
5 red chillies
salt to taste
cilantro, for garnish

Rub the 1/2 tsp salt and the 1/2 tsp turmeric on the eggplant pieces. Let sit for about 15 minutes. The eggplant would have given out water. Squeeze it and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Toss it with the 1 tbsp olive oil. Bake in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.

In a pan over medium heat, dry roast the peanuts. Remove and let cool. In the same pan, dry roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, sesame seeds and the red chillies until toasted and fragrant. Remove let cool. Grind all of these ingredients along with the tamarind paste adding water as needed to make a smooth paste.

Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the minced/grated onion. Fry until golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry. Add salt to taste and the turmeric powder. Let the raw smell of ginger and garlic disappear. Add the ground paste and fry until oil separates at the sides of the pan. Add the roasted eggplant and any water from rinsing the blender. Let this come to a boil and thicken. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle the garam masala if using. Let it boil again. Sprinkle cilantro and serve.

Verdict: Spicy and tangy, the eggplant should be at a point where it almost melts off in the curry. You may serve this dry or as a curry. If serving dry. Don’t add water to make a spice paste. Instead make a spice powder but with the tamarind paste you will have a crumbly powder. It would taste great with pulavs/briyanis etc.

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