Since the last post had a complicated name, I decide to post this without a name! Well, the truth is that I am still trying to name this Brinjal (Aubergine) cuisine. Aubergine is the only vegetable that is always there in my fridge. It is like milk, never runs out. Every market visit will replenish my brinjal stock and I am never bored of eating it! Sometimes it is consecutive days with brinjal since one huge aubergine is too big for me to consume in a single day. Of course this statement is a lie because most of the times, one brinjal is just not enough!
What is a life of a scientist if he does not find something new?! Though the challenges involved in the real time lab are more, I am quite at ease in inventing new food to eat in my part time lab, the kitchen. For almost over a week, I was cooking this dish in my mind with a variety of combination of spices and finally arrived at two versions out of which I have successfully cooked, sampled and also tested one version. Oh, the second variation will just be sans tomatoes!
Materials and Methods :
Select a good big fleshy aubergine. Make sure it is straight and not twisted into several angles or deeply curved! A good straight aubergine will be easy to bake on the pan for this dish. Two big onions, two juicy tomatoes, green chili to as much hotness as is required, garlic pods, more ginger than the garlic taken, cashew nuts, cloves, cinnamon, anise and cardamom are the sauce makers. Potatoes and carrots will be our second base along with cumin, dhaniya and red chili powder.
Preparation of layer one:
The first layer is the baked aubergine. Cut the aubergine along the length and make thick slices. Thin slices will get over cooked and difficult to handle. Apply little oil on both the sides and put on a hot plate until both the sides are brown and the aubergine gets cooked. Apply salt after it is cooked and keep aside.
Preparation of layer two:
Peel the potatoes and carrots and boil them. Grate them finely after boiled and make into a homogeneous paste. Cooked peas and beans can also be added if one wants more vegetables. In very little hot oil, add the cumin and dhaniya and chili powder and then mix finely with the grated and smashed vegetables. The little oil is only for cooking the spices. Make sure the vegetable paste is mixed well with the spices and salt. Adding more oil will disrupt the nature of the vegetable paste. Exercise a little care while doing this!
Combination of layers:
Spread this vegetable paste over the baked aubergine. Make it also a thick layer, can be as thick as the aubergine is. The easiest way to prepare this will be in individual plates. If you are serving 4 people, then its 4 slices already on 4 plates over which this can be prepared. The handling will be easier. These two layers will serve as base and the sauce can be poured over this.
Cooking the sauce:
This is a time tested sauce. Nothing much to explain here, just the usual. Cook the tomatoes and onions with the garlic, ginger, whole spices (cardamon, cinnamon, anise and cloves), cashews and salt. Transfer to the blender and make a fine paste. Transfer this to the cooking pot and add water to adjust the consistency. A little cheese can be grated into this to make it rich and thick.
Results and discussion:
Pour the sauce over the layered aubergine and it is now ready to serve! This is by itself a main course but can also be served along with hot white rice. Garnish with cilantro and onions. Too many preparation methods, but then, to create something exotic, it is totally worth doing these.Removing the tomato from the sauce ingredients will lead you to a white sauce which can also be equally delicious!