I believe there is a certain sense of belonging that food infuses into us..a certain bond cemented by shared memories... Memories of love,
longing...laughter..Of holidays spent together as a family..Boisterous
laughter in every corner..Jokes flying ..and sometimes even tempers
flaring, if only for a brief moment before being laughed away by the
presence of the whole clan..
I just love festivals..I am having a
helluva time right now what with my parents, relatives and friends at my
home...yes, its hectic and crazy ...but man..is it worth it!!!
Verdict : It MOST certainly is...
You all know I love my world food..but there is something about Indian
festivals that brings out the Indian in me..a mostly dormant part of
me..or so ppl assume.I am of the belief that I don't hv to prove my
Indian-ness to anyone..I wear western clothes, I speak in English even
at home..even with my lil daughter..I am not fluent at reading
Hindi..But I love my country. Lets not hv a debate over this like
someone did at my saying I love Bombay..(not Mumbai...Rolling my eyes)
I love our food...the spices, the grinding of masalas...I still use a
mortar and pestle ..the aroma that is found in our cuisine..the
humongous variety of cuisines found within India....the taste and the
tales unique to every family,every festival and every dish prepared...
Wat I love most tho, is the love with which we share our food...
The way our mums insist we r not fat at all, (not even plump) before smothering us with yet another helping of love..and food ..
The way soooo many memories go into making the most simplest of dishes prepared at home a delicacy, if only to our eyes.
I love cooking. But I love Nostalgic Cooking even more....Blame it on me being a sentimental fool..FACT.
Here, I want to share with you a rather rustic dish..
Something so simple, and easy and humble that I don't know if most of you would think it warrants a sharing..
But in my books, if something as inexpensive as an humble aubergine can
be THIS flavorful, it has most definitely earned its place in my blog.
I learnt to make this when i was 11 yrs old..I thought it was insane to
cook aubergines on an open flame until they’re practically incinerated
on the outside. It went against everything I assumed right.. However,
the very beauty of it was that while the outside burns to a crisp, the
inside is cooked until butter-soft and smoky. Perfection.
3 large aubergines
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
½ tsp asafoetida
1 large onion, diced finely
2 tomato chopped
8-10 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
3 green chillies, chopped finely
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp achaar masala (I used red pickle masala)
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
Roasted peanuts - handful
Fresh coriander and lemon wedges, to serve
1.Oil each brinjal a little. Make around 10 holes in each aubergine
and place one on each burner of your gas cooker. Turn the flame on high
and cook the aubergines for 5-6 minutes. Don’t touch or move them during
this time. Trust me.
Once 5 minutes have passed, use tongs to
turn them over and cook the other sides for 5 minutes, again not moving
them. Once totally burnt on the outside, use tongs to place each
aubergine onto a plate and set aside to cool.
2. In a large pan,
heat the oil and add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Cook for a minute
and then add the onions. Allow to cook on a medium heat until golden,
about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and chillies and cook for a further
3. Tip in the tomatoes and the rest of the
ingredients except for the peanuts and freshly-chopped coriander. Cook
for around 10 minutes, stirring frequently until its thick and the oil
begins to separate from the tomatoes slightly.
4. Whilst the
sauce is cooking, check the aubergines have cooled enough to handle.
Split each aubergine lengthways and scrape out the soft inside. It’s
okay if some burnt skin comes away with it but try to remove the large
pieces. Chop it all up roughly and add to the masala . Cook for 5
minutes, stirring all the time.
5. Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander and lemon wedges. Add some peanuts .. Serve!!