Smoked Aubergine Mash or Baingan Bharta

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 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 2-3 minutes.
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!!

yours sentimental,
S :)