Aubergine also called as, Brinjal or Eggplant (because of its egg like shape) is a vegetable that comes in many sizes and shapes and colors, but most common being purple or aubergine color, which is derived from the veggie itself. There are certain preparations of this vegetable that some people simply can’t get enough of; and even more people who cannot resist any kind of preparation of it.
So this friend of mine who bakes really well, and is a reasonably good cook too, says that this is the one vegetable that she has never been able to cook well, and its because she isn’t a fan of this purple wonder. And to make matters worse, her husband loooves aubergine in any form or kind. So I promised to post a simple recipe to help her out. Let’s see, if she’s able to master it this time round.
Frankly speaking I wasn’t a great fan of this particular vegetable growing up, but over the years, being exposed to so many incredible recipes, I developed a liking to it. My personal favourites are now Bagara Baingan (the Hyderabadi side dish with Biryani), Baingan ka Bhurtha ( Punjabi preparation that tastes a lot like the Lebanese Babaganoush) and obviously the Gutthi Vankaya Kura (andhra style curry – and for me the one preparation that made me start loving the vegetable), these are in the Indian dishes category. Also, during my travels I fell in love with the Aubergine Parmigiana (that I had in the U.S., where the aubergines are sliced and sprinkled generously with Parmesan cheese and baked ) and the Charred Aubergine Purée ( that I had at an amazing sandwich shop in Florence).
Now every household has a different recipe of making a stuffed aubergine curry, and my variant is the one that is flavored with Onions and garlic.
Now let’s get down to making it.
- Aubergines – 10 small
- Onions – 2 big
- Garlic – 6-7 pods (peeled)
- Jeera/cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Dhania/corriander powder – 1 tsp
- Chilli powder – 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1/4th tsp
- Curry leaves – one stem
- Methi/Fenugreek seeds – 1/4th tsp
- Jeera/cumin – 1/4th tsp
- Mustard seeds – 1/4th tsp
- Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp (or extract of a small lemon sized ball of tamarind)
- Jaggery or sugar – 1 tsp
- Water – 1 cup
- Coriander leaves – 1 small bunch
- Oil – 4tbsp
- Salt – to taste
- Firstly put in 2tbsp oil in a non stick pan and add the chopped onion and garlic and cook them till the onions turn translucent and the garlic turns light golden in colour.
- Now add the jeera, dhania, chilli and turmeric powders and salt, and cook for another minute or two.
- Once done keep the onion mixture aside to cool.
- While the onions are cooling down, cut the aubergines on the end that is not attached to the stem, in a cross pattern as shown in the pics below. Do not cut all the way through. Just cutting 3/4th of the length of the aubergine will suffice. Keep the stems of the aubergine attached, you can trim it a bit though, if they are too long. The stems help keep the pieces of the aubergine stay intact.
- Now grind the cooled onion mixture to a smooth paste, and stuff the aubergines with it as shown in pics below.
- Keep the remaining paste aside, we will get to it in a bit.
- Now take the remaining 2 tbsp oil in the pan and crackle the jeera, mustard, methi and curry leaves .
- Once the mustard seeds start popping, put in the aubergines and mix it so they get coated well in oil. Put a lid and let it cook till the aubergines get tender. Keep turning them around every 5min.
- Once the aubergines are tender (to check prick it with a fork, it should pierce easily), put in the remaining onion paste and add 1/2 cup water and check the seasoning and add little more if you feel it needs salt or chilli.
- Put a lid again and let it simmer by mixing it every 5min or so, till the oil starts separating.
- Once the oil separates (which should take around 15-20 min), turn off the flame and sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves as garnish
- Ensure the aubergines are fresh and mostly equal in size, so they all cook evenly.
- Freshness indicator – the green stem part that is attached to the aubergine should be bulgy and not dried up and flat.
So there you have it, simple, tasty, finger licking good -Gutthi Vankaya Kura.