Taro roots / colacasia in seasoned yogurt

Being a vegetarian in India does never mean limiting the options in your cooking menu. The wide spread of vegetarian recipes available are extremely high, probably one of the highest in the world. This would also translate into healthy eating options and thus presenting an opportunity to eat balanced and nutritious food yet light on the tummy.

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Taro is one of the commonly used starchy vegetable, doesn’t entice the taste buds by itself.  When you cook them right and associate with the right spices, it would turn heavenly and also enriches the body and fills the stomach.

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Note – Taro roots are to be cooked with great care. Half boiled/raw taro cause the itching in palette and throat and not advisable to eat.

Recipe

  • 200 gms taro root / colacasia
  • 100 gms curds / yogurt
  • 2 tsp jaggery (can be substituted with white sugar)
  • Salt to taste (about 3/4 tbsp salt)

Seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp  split black gram peeled
  • 4 red dry chillies (use the hot variety)
  • 1 string of curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida/hing
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil – virgin

Method – Rinse and wash the taro roots thoroughly. In a pressure cooker cook for 2 whistles. If you are cooking it out side the pressure cooker, cook for about 12 minutes in a medium flame, and check for the doneness. It has to be cooked really soft but should retain the shape.

Once done allow it to cool. Peel the taro. cut them in cubes and keep it aside

In a seasoning wok, add oil and bring it to heat. Add mustard seeds. Once splutter, add black gram splits, chili, curry leaves and asafoetida. Cook for a minutes more on a low flame or until the chilies become really crisp.

Switch of the flame and pour the seasoning on the taro cubes, With a spoon thoroughly mix the seasoning with the taro cubes, taking care, not to mash them up. Add sugar and salt and give it another good stir. Let it stand for 15-20 minutes or more.

Add yogurt and serve.

This can be served with steamed rice or  roti as a side dish.

This should be consumed a fresh.

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Posted in Fruits and vegetables, Havyaka, Indian Flat bread / roti | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home made Granola Bars with walnut, almond and dates

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I have been travelling extensively, doing multiple things at a time. In last one month I have touched 6 states of India. There are so much to talk , document  and share.  There are numerous things that I would love to talk about, happy stuffs…  let me begin with the food.

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We trekked in Mani Mahesh Kailash in Himachal Pradesh for 10 days in the last week of May and first week of June 15.  One of the most cherished treks, and my first encounter with the Indian Himalaya. The divinity and the mammoth energy that Himalaya oozes around could be felt with every step.  My effort to right about the gigantic beauty would be the tiniest thing I can do to the love of Himalayan mountains.

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There was so much of fun, fatigue, caring  and excursion, the 10 days of life was a heavenly bliss. From Mumbai to Kailash is a huge transformation in every way possible, from 45 degree to -5 degree, from heavily populated city to absolute mountains…concrete jungle to snow kissed mountain ranges…

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As part of my food supplements, there are heaps of chocolates, dry fruits, electrol and GluconD powders, weighed and packed.  There were also few granola bars brought from the speciality shops. Having prepared them multiple times, I decided bake them for the trek, which I can substitute for the dinner or afternoon snack during trekking.

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Granola bars are great source of nutrition and a wonderful take away food item. They tasted great normal as well as in the  extreme cold weather.

Recipe –

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups of instant oats
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup jaggery (liquid form)
  • 1/4 cup honey

Method – Grease an 8 inch square pan and line it with a parchment sheet. Pre-heat the oven at 150 C/300F

Roast the oats in a thick bottom wok for about 8 minutes on low flame.  Roast almonds and walnuts separately until they become fragrant.

Heat the jaggery until it melts completely. Stir in the honey.

Now put all ingredients together and mix well.

Transfer the prepared mix into the prepared pan and spread evenly. With a small rolling pin  or a flat cup press the top to level the uneven surface.

Bake it for 18 minutes.

Cut them in to bars once it attains the room temperature.

Wrap them with the cling foil and store in an airtight box. It would save well for 2-3 weeks at room temperature and more when refrigerated

Makes a dozen medium size rectangular bars.

 

 

Posted in Baking, granola bars, Healthy baking, Sweet somethings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vegetable appam /paddu – popular North Karnatak breakfast/snack #ricedumpling #glutenfree

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As a part of our staple diet, we make dosa with-in no time, so much so that, many days in the week, breakfast will be named after it. (let’s have dosa would mean lets have breakfast)

Another gleeful and enjoyable healthy breakfast/snack item, that could be whipped up easily with the dosa batter is paddu or appam. One of the popular snacks in North Karnataka and many other parts in South India with various nomenclature.

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You can mix up all your favourite vegetables and also dry fruits (if you like), and cook in the appam tava, that gives a pretty crisp to the crust and moist and soft interiors to the paddu.

If you are making it for kids, you consider adding some raisins or chopped dry fig along with vegetables, which gives a mild sweetness to the dish.

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An easy breezy and tasty recipe, which could very well be a part of your kids lunch box or  treat to the tea party.

Recipe

For the batter

  • 2 cups of rice
  • 1 cup of black gram splits /udad dal
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 cup of water to grind

Method –  Wash all the ingredients thoroughly and soak in overnight (at least 6 hours). Grind them into smooth paste  with a 3/4 cup of water and leave it for fermentation for 8 more hours (or you may leave it overnight)

Paddu/appam batter mix

  • Batter as above
  • 1/4 cup of grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onions (1 red onion)
  • 10-12 broken cashews
  • 4 green finely chopped green chillies (optional)
  • 3 tbsp of finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or as required to taste)
  • pinch of cooking soda or fruit salt (I used ENO fruit salt)

10-12 tbsp of vegetable oil required for cooking

Method – Mix all ingredients together and taste to adjust the salt. Heat the non stick appam/paddu tawa, and pour the batter until 3/4 of the cup is full. Put a half tbsp of vegetable oil on top of each cup filled with batter. Cover the tawa with the lid. Let it cook on a low medium flame.  After 3 minutes turn the paddu with the help of a fork and cook another 2 minutes.

Once the golden spots appear on all sides, it’s ready to taken out of the tawa.

Serve it hot with the coconut chutney and liquid jaggery.

Makes about 2 dozen paddu/appam.

Note –

  1. Low flame cooking is the key to get crust crisper.
  2. You may consider adding some more oil on top of the batter to get a tastier version.

 

 

Posted in Dosas and Pancakes, Havyaka, Savouries & Snacks, South Indian Breakfast | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Moong sprout and radish parata /stuffed Indian bread / mooli paratha

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Parata or stuffed bread is an everyday favourite in my house hold. The versatility offered by this bread makes it even more attractive every time.  Paratas find its roots from the Punjab, in northern Indian state, home cooked bread, stuffed with potato and roasted on the pan with generous amount of butter.

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I prepare the parata with almost every possible vegetable. This is also a great way to put the vegetables (single or multiple) in your child’s diet. This is a basic recipe and you can be replacing the stuffing with any vegetable / fruit of your choice.

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A perfect and healthy breakfast and lunch box item, served with a dash of pickle and dollop of yogurt/curd.

Recipe

For the roti cover

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour /atta
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the stuffing

  • 1/2 cup moong sprouts
  • 1 cup radish – grated ( about 2 big radish)
  • 2 red onions finely chopped
  • 5-6 green chilies finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder.

5-8 tbsp of butter – to apply while roasting

Recipe – for the roti cover – mix all ingredients and knead about 4-5 minutes to prepare the smooth dough, and keep it aside. Keep the dough covered.,

For stuffing – roughly mash the moong sprouts, squeeze the water from the radish. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and keep it aside.

Preparation – Divide the dough in ten to twelve  equal parts. Similarly divide the stuffing in 10-12 equal parts

Take one portion of the dough and flatten it in between your palms. Put one portion of the stuffing on it and wrap the dough, gathering the edges of the dough. Seal the dough to ensure the stuffing will not leak out.

Dust the kitchen top with whole wheat flour and with gentle hands, roll this stuffed ball into 8 inch circles with the help of a rolling pin.

Heat the griddle on a medium low flame and place the parata on it. Generously brush the butter on it. After a minute, flip the paratha and cook on the on other side. Again apply the butter on this side. Cook until the golden brown spots appear on both the sides of the paratas

Repeat this process until the dough and stuffing ends.

Serve the parata fresh and hot with pickle and yogurt.

 

 

Posted in Breads, Fruits and vegetables, Indian Flat bread / roti | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tomato Onion Uttappam – an everyday sunshine

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This post has been long pending (read it as years..) There were few recipes in my draft, which  are in a constant hunt of photo shoot opportunity, and uttappam was one among them. The beauty of this dish and the comfort that it provides to the palate and to the gut is what makes it popular breakfast item..I guess 🙂

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Being said that, allow me to praise this pretty dosa, on the plate. The red, purple and green images on the perfect white base, makes it a colorful art on the plate. A healthy, traditional and a little elaborate dosa, along with its accompaniments is one of the preferred breakfast item in southern India. I got introduced to it, in y teens with the extended exposure to street food. And I left it their, when my hunger for street food was subsided (read it as after a decade). But my husband happen to be a big fan of uttappam and wold mostly end up requesting for uttappam, whenever dosa variety is presented for breakfast.

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Locals eat them along with jaggery and pure ghee. Like many other relatives of uttappam, this can also be enjoyed with various dips (chutney) and south style rasam/sambar.

 Recipe

Ingredients

For the batter

  • 4 cups of rice
  • 2 cups of urad dal  / black gram split
  • 1/2 cup flattened rice / beaten rice
  • 2 tbsp methi seeds / fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • Water as required

Tomato onion topping

  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro / coriander leaves
  • 6-10 green chilies finely chopped (optional)
  • Oil as required (1 spoon per uttappam – optional)

Method – Wash and soak all ingredients in water except salt, together 6-8 hours or overnight. Grind in a wet grinder and allow for fermentation overnight. Fermentation will get affected by the temperature. However in India, in cities like Mumbai (where I currently live),it gets fermented perfectly overnight.

After fermentation, the batter is ready, it looks somewhat similar to cake batter. You may adjust the water level here, if you find your batter too thick add some more warm water and stir well.

Add salt to the batter and stir well.

Put a spoonful of batter on a hot tava and  spread it in circles, taking care that you are not making it thin. (Cast iron or aluminium tava works better, however you can also use the non stick tava).

Sprinkle 1 tbsp of onion, 1 tbsp tomatoes, 1/2 tbsp cilantro leaves, and a pinch of  chili (optional) and press it lightly wit a spoon. Pour in a spoonful of oil on the top (if using).

Cover with the lid and cook until the edges become golden. Turn the uttappam carefully and cook for a minute more.  Once done, take it out of the tawa, and serve fresh and hot.

Serve it with jaggery, ghee and coconut chutney.

Makes 2 dozen plus uttappams.

Posted in Dosas and Pancakes, South Indian Breakfast | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Purslane in seasoned yogurt /purslane raita

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Purslane is one of those weeds which you almost can’t call weed. It would spread rapidly and make your garden fill with color green. And this is also one of those uncultivated form of green, even with the over growth, will not develop the indigestible fiber. So what more qualities one need to posses to call it ultimate!!!

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Unfortunately, purslane is not one of the popular edible weeds in India. You would hardly find them in the local markets and in no supermarkets. For city dwellers like me, it’s almost as precious as a visit to our ancestral home 500 km down south.

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The immense health benefits of purslane includes essential omega 3 fatty acids and high amount of Vitamin E. So if you get a chance to come across this weed, don’t miss to pick it up. It’s a must treasure plant.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of chopped purslane /luni pattha
  • 1 small red onion – cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp of jaggery
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup thick yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water

Seasoning ingredients –

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/4 tbsp hing/asafoetida

Methods – In a thick bottomed wok, add onion and fry for a minute. Add chopped purslane, water and cook for two minutes on a medium heat. And leave it for cooling.

Mix yogurt salt and jaggery and stir well.

In a seasoning wok, heat the oil, mustard seeds and asafoetida. Once the mustard start sputtering add chopped chilli and leave it for few seconds. switch off the flame.

Now, mix cooked purslane,  and yogurt and pour the seasoning on top. Stir all together until combined.

Serve it with steaming hot rice.

Best served fresh. Serves 2.

 

Posted in Fruits and vegetables, Havyaka, herbs and weeds, Salads | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Garlic bread – in Cafe Baklava way

IMG_3152 Garlic bread is one of the most popular accompaniment with pizza. As per Wikipedia, garlic breads have appeared in the US restaurant menu in mid 90’s. But not much details about the origin of this bread is known. Interestingly, though the origin of the garlic bread is attributed to USA, it’s mostly prepared on the french bread base.

IMG_3142 I decided to give the fougusse shape  to the bread, before applying the garlic butter. But actually shape, is not of a much influencing factor as long as you bake them to almost perfection.

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I have the fond memories of eating garlic bread in midnight in northwest corner of the world, the tiny town tucked in between the beautiful mountains and atlantic ocean, a very humble recipe, with minimum ingredients. I tried to follow the recipe and elaborated little more with the addition of cheese and some fresh garlic leaves.

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It has been quite a hit in my kitchen. Let me know how it turned out for you.

Ingredients

Bread

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (flavorless)

Garlic butter

  • 1/4 cup soft unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp paprika flakes
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh garlic leaves(optional)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves – peeled and finely chopped
  • pinch of salt

Others

  • 3 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese (Optional)

Recipe – For the Bread – Add all ingredients together and mix well into and soft dough. Let the dough rest for 1 hour in a warm place. Push the dough own after one hour and let it rest for another 30 minutes. Now give a leafy shape to the dough and set it aside for another 20 minutes.

At this point pre heat the oven at 410 °F or 210 °C.

Garlic butter – Mix all ingredients.  Taste test for salt and adjust if required.

Assembling – Spread the garlic butter on the prepared bread, generously.  Sprinkle the mozzarella on top.

Bake for 20-23 minutes or until the edges of the bread started turning brown.

Slice and serve hot with some more garlic butter or as is. It would taste great at room temperature too.

Makes 2 fougusse shaped breads of 8 inch.

Note – You can have the bread dough prepared a day in advance and keep it in the fridge after the first rise.

Posted in Baking, Breads, Italian, Mexican, Pizza, Preserves & Spreads | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

No knead gourmet style pizza with roasted bell pepper, olives and tomato and season’s greetings

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Pizza – Unarguably is one of the most globalised and popular choices across children and adult alike. There are many claims to  as in the origin of this humble  flat bread, but Italy is the place generally accepted as the motherland for the pizza.

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Pizza in its origin, during second world war, was a flat bread which were prepared  for distributing to the needy poor people in the region. Which used to be a simple play of wheat flour and yeast. Eventually that’s bread got married with tomato dipping, loved by the American army posted there. When they came back home, pizza came to America. And now it’s the second most popular food in USA and one of the top ten take away food in India.

Having said the popularity of the pizza, this is also one of the simplest breads to bake. If you have the dough handy, you can easily make many variations of pizza (you name it… just a margarita, or a veggie delite, a fusion one…. endless toppings) in less than 30 minutes.

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This is easily one of the best tasting pizza, very close to the one I benchmark each time. These were gone quite quickly leaving me not much time to photograph them 🙂

With this , I wish all my dear readers a very happy and prosperous new year 2015

Recipe 

For the dough

  • 2 cups  all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp active yeast
  •  2 tbsp confectioners sugar/ powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup warm water

Toppings

  • 4 tbsp garlic butter
  • 250 gms of pizza cheese or mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of roasted and diced bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup de-seeded and chopped tomatoes
  •  1/4 cup black olives
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • some sea salt to sprinkle
  • some ground pepper to sprinkle (optional)
  • 8 tbsp Tomato ketchup

Method

Preparing the dough – Mix all ingredients together, knead until the ingredients come together. knead for a minute more to make the dough more pliable. (it should  be a soft dough, but plaible, so if you need to add more/less water, please do so)

Let it rest for about 20 minutes in  warm place with a covered lid. After 20 minutes deflate the dough and allow it rise for another 15 minutes. (once the dough rises, yeast will level the dough and the gluten forms the natural crust. See the below picture)

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Divide the dough in 4 equal portions and on a greased sheet/pizza stone, shape the dough and allow it to rise for 15 minutes. We will call this ‘base’.

**You might need to oil your hands while working with the dough. Be generous with that.

Arranging the pizza –

Once the base is ready, apply 2 tbsp on ketchup on each pizza base. With the help of a fork, randomly pierce the base. Devide the cheese in 4 equal portions (one portion for each base), and grate some cheese on the base.

Put the vegetables, on the base. Sprinkle the chili flakes, salt and pepper. Drizzle the garlic butter (1 tbsp per pizza), grate the cheese and now the pizza is ready to get in the heat.

Bake them at preheated oven at 215 °C or 420 °F, for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges of the base turn golden.

Makes 4 medium size pizza

 Note – Like any other bread, recipes are the guiding tool…practice is what makes you perfect…each time you prepare the dough the proofing time may vary depending on the room temperature, quality of the flour and yeast. Also water proportion may vary… BUT take the recipe as guideline and work around your pizza.

Posted in Baking, Pizza | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strawberry – Agua Fresca

IMG_3132 I believe strawberries are one of the most beautiful creation of mother nature.  Dark red skin laced with golden dots, contrasting green leaves and a drop like shape, there is hardly anyone, who won’t get inspired by strawberries. This inviting fruit is in season now, …..local markets are filled with strawberries. IMG_3124 Agua fresca is the Spanish word for fresh water, blended with cereals, fruits, flower, sugar and water to create the light non alcoholic drink. You are at liberty to use any combinations or the individual ingredient of your choice to create a soothing drink. IMG_3130 A quick healthy and refreshing drink to welcome the strawberry season. Recipe  Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberries  – hulled and sliced
  • 2 tsp sugar (or more if you prefer)
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • few mint leaves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Method – Rinse and thoroughly wash the strawberries. Hull and halve them. Add all ingredients together and leave it in the fridge overnight or minimum 2 hours. In a blender, process them until smooth. Pour the serving glass and serve fresh. Serves – 2-3 (Makes 2-3 cups) Note-  you may increase the quantities proportionately for the larger volume.

Posted in Drinks & Beverages, Everything Frozen, Fruits and vegetables, Mexican, Sweet somethings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ringan no olo/ Khatiawadi style smoked eggplants

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There is some inherent goodness with the bringjal/eggplants/aubergine. With its mild bitterness,  and soft fleshy texture, tastes great when cooked with right ingredients.  Across the country you find the ardent admirers of brinjal. We are no exceptions to it. We love brinjal in most of its forms.

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There are different varieties of brinjals available in Indian local markets with various colours/shapes and sizes.  The one which used in this recipe are normally the bottled shaped purple brinjal.Though you are free to use any other variation, bigger size is prefered as the roasting and peeling the skin would be less tedious.

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I was introduced to Khatiawadi style eggplant by dear friend Archna long ago. We all loved it so much that I went ahead and searched for the authentic recipe with the Gujarathi community old ladies,  living in my neighbour hood (I find many wonderful home-cooks in here……Feel blessed to know them,  and …of course thank you people for sharing the food and recipe with me. That means so much.)

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A quick, fresh and easy recipe, which can be served as a side dish with rotis/Indian bread or with a hot steamed rice.

 recipe

ingredients

  • 1/2 kg brinjal/eggplants/aubergine (Approximately 2 big brinjals)
  • 3 medium size red onions
  • 3 medium size tomatoes
  • 3-4 green chilis-slit
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • pinch of hing
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 Strings of cilantro (Optional – for garnishing)

Place the eggplants directly on the flame. Monitor the continuously, Once the eggplant skin is charred turn it with a tong. Roast it until done, may take 6-8 minutes.

Finely chop onions, tomatoes, green chilli and keep it aside.

In a wok heat the oil, add in the mustard seeds, once it starts spluttering add in the asafoetida (hing), chopped onions, tomatoes, slit chilies and salt.  Saute them till onions turn translucent.

Sprinkle cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala (if using) and mix well. Cook for a minute more, and stir in the chopped eggplants. Taste and adjust the salt at this level.

Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot.

Serves 4.

 

 

 

 

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