Cooking

Baingan Borani

11:09 AM

This is one of these dishes that made itself a steady and comfy place in my cooking repertoire, and rather recently too.
In October 2012 the issue of GoodFood India had a spread on Pakistani cuisine with a few recipe in it and DH immediately said “Try it Pakistani food is awesome”. While the spread in question had more complicated meat dishes and deserts, there was one dish that stood out there: Baingan Borani. A vegetarian dish made of mashed eggplant and a cousin of the Baigan bharta cooked in some regions in India.
The Pakistani version of the mashed eggplant dish has however no tomatoes in it, and a fare more muted spice palette. The original recipe asked for green chillies in the dish but since DH doesn’t like them and I am not much of a fan myself I substituted them with Kashmiri paprika powder, when the dish is cooked to my place it looks like this :


DSC02735

Compared to the magazine’s picture my version has more walnuts and more coriander leaves on top, what can I say, we love these in our family.
The reason this dish suddenly found itself as a steady favourite is that awesome yum factor set aside, it is one of these dishes that is simple to pull, not quick, but despite it’s long cooking time will not keep you in the kitchen the whole time. It’s one of these dishes that will look good enough to serve when you have guests over without trapping you in the kitchen away from your other hostess duties either, in fact I made it recently for my circle of friends, all i had to do was prepare the eggplant puree in advance and assemble the dish in 5 minutes when we all decided to sit down and eat. It tastes absolutely fantastic with either chapatti, paratha or naans. DH and I usually eat it as a stand alone dish because we can’t get enough of its taste, but it would make a wonderful side dish to a grilled meat dish too.
So without any further rambling from my part, here is how I make it at home :

Ingredients:

3 large eggplants
1 medium onion
1tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp or more to taste paprika powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup plain yogurt
a nice handful of crushed walnuts
a handful of coriander leaves
2 gloves of garlic chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 dried red chilli
a pinch of turmeric powder.

1) Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius, with a fork prick your eggplants all over and shove into the oven on a tray lined with tin foil. Bake for about one hour and 20 minutes (yes that long). if you do not have an oven, it is possible to roast the eggplants directly on the flame of your gas stove, but I have not tried it. For me this is the dish that I can leave in the oven to cook while doing something else around the house.

2) Once the eggplants are cooked take them out of the oven and let them cool a little while, enough that you can handle them, they will look wilted, and all deflated, that’s normal, there should be a faint smell of roast too.
Once they are cool enough for you to handle, slice them open length wise and scoop out all the cooked flesh out and discard the peels.

3) In a big flat bottomed and deep rimmed frying pan heat about 2-3 table spoons of vegetable oil and add the diced onion to it, stir and cook until the onions start to look golden, then add the cumin seeds and continue cooking for about a minute. Add the eggplant, salt, paprika and turmeric and mix well. cook for 5 minutes until the excess liquid has been absorbed.

4) Transfer the eggplant puree to a serving dish and pour your plain yogurt on top, for the presentation do not cover the whole dish with the yogurt, leave the puree peaking on the sides.

5) in a small stainless steel bowl, or better yet if you have one, a “tadka pan” heat 1-2 tbsp oil in it and first toss the dry red chilli, followed immediately by the mustard seeds, when the seeds start crackling add the chopped garlic and remove from the flame the minute the garlic starts turning golden, of the flame add the pinch of turmeric powder and twirl gently to combine before pouring the seasoned oil all over the yogurt.

6) Sprinkle the dish with coriander leaves and walnuts and serve immediately with your choice of bread.

3 comments

  1. Beatrix5:34 PM

    Do you use the long skinny eggplant or fat plump ones?

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  2. I use the big fat plump ones, the original recipe said 800g of eggplants, but I found that the quantity you have in the finished dish is a bit tiny considering how much we love it, so I do 3 big fat eggplant that must be around 1.2kg before baking them, they shrink a lot during the roasting process since they contain a lot of water that drains out.

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