Thursday, November 25, 2010

Roasted Eggplant Bharit - A Yogurt Based Eggplant Dish

I remember this dish perfectly, my grandma used to make it often. Today, as I become more aware of various world cuisines, I am convinced that this is a wonderful way to eat eggplant. Okay, so this dish needs raw onions. So if you are not a big fan of raw onions, this dish is not for you. Note that white, mild onions are the best for this recipe. Also, this dish has a yogurt base which complements the onions and roasted eggplant really well. It pairs nicely with fresh phulkas. I think it will also work as a dip for baked whole wheat pita chips.

You will need:

1 roasted eggplant with the skin and most seeds removed. The browned and roasted flesh of the eggplant should be mashed. (I normally apply a coat of vegetable oil to the eggplant and then place it in the broiler. It roasts really well. The key, is to turn the eggplant every five minutes or so to roast it uniformly. When the eggplant is evenly roasted, the inner flesh will separate from the skin easily.)

1/2 a medium sized onion cut not too coarsely. (I used a red onion in this recipe. I would recommend a white onion. I did not have one at hand when I made this dish. I would also cut the amount of onion if the eggplant is small to about a quarter.)

1 tbsp chopped cilantro.

1/2 tsp of brown sugar.
salt to taste.
1/2-3/4 cup yogurt.

For the ghee (canola oil can be used as a substitute for ghee) tadka:

1 tsp ghee.
1 small green chilli.
1/4 tsp asafoetida.
1/2 tsp cumin seeds.

Mix the mashed eggplant and chopped onions in a serving bowl. Add the cilantro. Mix thoroughly.

Now, add the yogurt, salt and sugar. Mix and keep aside. In a copper bottomed, large sputtering spoon (a small kadhai will also do), heat the ghee (or oil). When hot, add the cumin seeds. Once they crackle add the asafoetida and green chili.

Now, pour this spice and chili mixture on the eggplant. Be careful because the ghee is hot and the yogurt is at room temperature. Some ghee may splash outward. Stir and serve immediately.


Pumpkin Seeds Chutney

I thought of this recipe one day when I was roasting raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas). I try to incorporate these seeds in my regular diet because they are so nutritious (see their nutrition profile on, especially in their zinc and iron content. These seeds are a great way to get these essential minerals for vegetarians. This chutney is dry in its texture and goes well as a spread on buttered whole wheat toast for a healthy snack or breakfast. I often have it with ghee and piping hot phulkas. My aunt-in-law loved it when she tried it over dinner a few weeks ago.

To make this chutney, you will need:

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (I buy them from Trader Joe's), roasted in a pan over medium heat.
1 whole dried red chilli (you can one more if you like spicy food).
1 tsp cumin powder.
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate.
5 curry leaves.
salt and brown sugar to taste.

After roasting the pumpkin seeds, add them to a food processor. Add all the remaining ingredients and grind the seeds to a fine powder. To add some protein, you can roast 1 to 2 tbsp of chana dal (available from Bob's Red Mill) and add it to the above ingredients. Voila, your chutney is ready.