I am grateful for various reasons that I actually waited until this morning to truly formulate this post. Heading out this morning, taking in a truly beautiful day allowed me to pause for a few moments, breathe and remember what was important. Just as grateful as I am for the heady bounty of summer eggplants and tomatoes. The small expanse of the yard as I walked through was a riot of bright yellows, squash blossoms and these pretty black-eyed Susans that are hardy and a consistent harbinger of summer at its peak. I was initially drawing a blank at the name, I guess, I needed that espresso shot in this morning’s coffee.
My friend Julianna’s quiet comment to me had been, not easy, I actually could not size it up better. The weekend just had not been easy. There I said it!
Anshul has been sick for over a week. It also coincided with a deadline for the book. Thank goodness, I never wait until the last minute, usually. It gets a little scarier for me with every step, wonder if this is a weird reaction. In fact, this weekend was so crazy I did not have the energy to open the manuscript. To add to the craziness, Deepta to coincide with the fun has a ear infection and since her doctor feels that she should not have fever with this, she just might have introduced a totally different bug to the household. So much for the rest of August!
To smooth out the weekend, I made a whole bunch of comfort meals, one of them includes this baigan bharta, or fire charred, spicy pureed eggplant. There are no set rules to these recipes, so I vary them from time to time, in summer, I tend to add more tomatoes so the dish tends to be darker in color, however one of my favorites. I actually made a stack of tandoori rotis, to go with these and was quite pleased with the results.
Ironically enough, char roasted eggplants are more of a winter specialty in India, and once upon a time I was ok with cooking them in winter, the problem is that the tender summer eggplants have spoilt me, the seedy eggplants usually found off season in the supermarkets do not cut it. Sorry, A&P, even your loyalty percentage off cannot fix this one. The husband has been also very sad that his garden has been withering, well, unfortunately, I cannot help with that one.
Too exhausted to even try, thank goodness for all these automated sprinklers. We have a fridge full of food, well, anyone who knows me does know that I cook to de-stress. I just wish it burned more than fuel, some calories, maybe?
My dear friend Dawn, has been asking me for this recipe for a while. I will say that like with all dishes such as this one there are several variations. In fact, my own kitchen has at least three. The first two are close cousins, I sometimes add the bell peppers and other times I skip that out.
Char Roasted Pureed Eggplants in a Spicy Tomato Sauce
- 2 medium sized eggplants
- 3 tablespoons oil
- ¾ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
- 2 tomatoes, blended into a puree
- 2 green chilies, minced
- 2 to 3 tablespoons minced cilantro
- Place the eggplant on an open gas flame on a corner of the grill if you are grilling. If neither of these are options then place the eggplant in a 350 degree oven and bake until soft and then broil until the outer skin is charred. Back to the open flame eggplant, cook until it is soft and the outer skin is completely charred. Set aside to cool.
- Heat the oil on medium heat for about 1 minute, and add in the cumin seeds and when they begin to sizzle, add in the red onion and sauté lightly until the onion softens and wilts and finally gently turns pale golden in corners.
- Add in the ginger-garlic paste and sauté lightly until the paste is somewhat dry and begins to turn fragrant.
- Add in the tomatoes and the chilies and begin to cook this mixture to allow the tomatoes to turn into a thick fairly dry sauce, you should begin to see the oil leaching again from the edges.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, peel and discard the charred skin from the eggplant and mash lightly.
- Add into the tomato spice mixture and mix well.
- Stir in the cilantro and mix well.
- Enjoy with your choice of bread or rice.