I welcome myself back to the blog after quite a while! It is becoming like "seasons". One blogging season with lots of posts and then a break and then a surprise post like this one and the season will start again. And what is better than to start again with my favorite Brinjal (kathirikai, aubergine, bhaingan). It is quite a story with me and brinjal, because, during childhood I used to hate this vegetable. Now, I have cravings for brinjal and I love it in every way possible. Cooked, grilled, baked, sambar, rasam, chutney, in pizza, in lasagna or with rice, brinjal is magic! Here is one recipe that I fell in love with and learnt from my friend from Orissa.
Choose a big brinjal, the ones that are usually grilled. Cut into round sliced. Dont make too thin slices, make them juicy. A little less than half a centimeter thickness would be really good. In a plate, mix together some red chili powder, turmeric, salt and oil. Coat both sides of the slices of brinjal well with this mixture and keep aside for a few minutes. In the meanwhile, heat a pan without oil. Place the brinjal slices on the hot pan (or plate) and cook. Turn the slices until both the sides are roasted. The brinjal should be roasted cooked but not smashed. Stack the cooked slices away until the gravy is done.
Heat a little oil in a pan and add panch puran. This is a mixture of five spices, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin, black til seeds and onion seeds. Chopped green chili (4-5), minced ginger, chopped garlic (3-4) and curry leaves follow. Add some cumin and dhaniya powder and some hing. Switch to low heat and add well beaten curd (yogurt) and stir well. Immediately in sometime add the prepared brinjal slices and cook for few minutes on low heat. Control the salt in the yogurt if needed.
This can be garnished with chopped cilantro and served with hot white rice. Cooking the brinjals in this way will take extra time and gas, but trust me, the effort is totally worth it. It is not spicy, but it can be made hot with the amount of green chili that goes in the yogurt. Keep the red chili powder over the brinjal to minimum because when you are cooking this on the hot plate, it could make the environment in the kitchen uncomfortable!