Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Eggplant Chutney

No, this is not turning in to a food blog, I would rather leave it to the ones that do it way better and are more passionate and talented at it.

But the onset of spring has a way of getting me more in to cooking and this is true for both me and *A*
This eggplant chutney/dip was a joint effort between me and *A*. We purchased this rather large eggplant over the weekend. *A* used half of it (cut lengthwise) for eggplant made her way, and we contemplated the fate of the other half. The brilliant one of the two that she is, she came up with an idea to make a eggplant chutney. She had a recipe in her head, but we decided to go back to one of our other Marathi cookbooks which in addition to the cuisine of Maharashtra in India, also has recipes from other parts of India. To truly get an idea of the diversity of cuisine in India, you should check out Asha’s blog especially this great post where they are focusing on regional cuisine. Fascinating stuff!

So we found the recipe and *A* as she often does decided we would modify it. For the longest time, I just hated eating eggplant, maybe I had memories of it not made right and eating it as a kid was not fun. And that stayed with me until one day she slipped an eggplant dish in to my lunch and I had no idea and I loved it! But this dish just turned out so good and I was reminded of how much I have missed as a kid and during my younger days when I used to be a picky eater.

While this is technically a chutney it can also be used as many veggie dish or even as a dip for chips and on other hors devours.

Enough of my ramble..

Take a medium sized eggplant, slice it down the middle (we used half of one that was about 6 -7 inches long) brush either side with some cooking oil and stick it in an oven at 375 deg for about 30 minutes. When you pull the eggplant out at the end of this it and it should be soft and cooked. Use a spoon to scoop it all out away from the skin in a bowl. I used a spoon to make sure it was mixed well as an even mass or you could mash it too.

Add about half a cup of ground peanuts and table spoon of jaggery (unrefined sugar). You should be able to find this at any Indian grocery store. Being unrefined sugar means it still has mineral salts and has a distinct flavor. If you wanted you could substitute sugar instead of jaggery.

Squeeze juice from about half a lime in to the mashed up eggplant.

Add a finely chopped tomato along with some chopped cilantro.

Heat up some oil (you don’t need a lot, maybe a 2-3 tablespoons) in small pan. Add half a tablespoon of mustard seeds. As they start popping add 3-4 chopped green chilies to the oil and then a couple of pinches of hing (Asafoetida). This is optional if you don’t have it but it imparts a subtle flavor to the dish. Toss this oil with all the ingredients in to the eggplant. Add salt to taste

Mix it all well garnish with some chopped cilantro and you are done.

I don’t think I can truly describe how much I loved this dish. The flavors of the eggplant which was slightly smoky due to the burnt skin from the oven (might even taste better if you grilled the eggplant on a charcoal grill), the taste of the ground peanuts, the heat from the chilies, the sweet flavor of the jaggery and tanginess of the lime and the tomato all came together in a very impressive manner.


Asha said...

Sanjay,chutney looks fabulous!!Being a perfectionist,I was itching to clean the sides of the bowl to make it look even more perfect!!;D

I make it the same way except with 1/2 cup of plain yogurt stirred in,goes well with rice rottis.

Thanks for the shout out.Watch out ,Maharashtra is coming in few months!:))
I love that event,feels so good to show case most states and it's cuisine.Idiyappam started quite a stir as to whom it belongs!!:D

Sanjay said...

Asha.. Thank you for your comment. I really did not plan to take the picture. Spent about 10 seconds on it, we were both starving and looking at the dish did not help, it was meant to be consumed. lol!
Also am not a perfectionist :-)

I look forward to the Maharashtrian cuisine, I am sure I will learn something new. Also the yogurt variation you talk about was also mentioned in the cookbook, will try that next time.

ML said...

My Mom makes something like this and it is to die for!!! This recipe is right up my alley, Sanjay. Thanks for posting it and I hope you continue to post more recipes. They all make me drool all over my keyboard.

Aditi said...

hmm the only baigan i like is bharta.. but that looks appealing.. if i ever have a kitchen where the cooking falls to me.. shall look all this stuff up then

Ash said...

Looks delicious! Must ask mom to try it out...

Sanjay said...

@ML. Many thanks for your kind words. And like Asha mentioned a variation of this is with yogurt, I am pretty sure that tastes good too.

@Aditi.I hope you will get a kitchen that you rule in :)

@Ash.. Thanks

Beenzzz said...

Like ML says, our mom makes a dish very similar to this. It's a big favorite too. I think you're recipes are great, so please keep posting them!
Yes, ML and I are sisters. :)

meno said...

What kind of chilis do you use? There ane lots of different kinds at the store.

I love eggplant and make my own babaganush (sp?).

Carrie said...

I love eggplant. This is a must try.

Maggie said...

Man you made my mouth water. I love flavor combos like you describe. That dish is going to have to be tried soon at the Moss house!

Mona Buonanotte said...

I said it before and I'll say it again...you can cook for me anytime!

listmaker said...


Diana said...

That looks incredible. I love eggplant and had some roasted this weekend. Lovely stuff. Did you eat it with pita or chips or ...?

Sanjay said...

@Beenzzz, Thank you for your kind words. You know I suspected you and ML were related, not sure why, maybe from the links on your blogs? :)

@Meno. wow you make your own Babaganoush? That is cool! The chillies I used are from the Indian store, they are the smallish type. But I guess you could find something similar at a regular grocery store.

@Carrie Thanks. :)

@Maggie Thanks. I hope you won't be disappointed.

@Mona. It would be a pleasure to cook for ya :-)

@Listmaker.. Thank you.

@Diana. Thanks. I had this with naan bread but you can easily use it as a dip with chips or Pita bread.

moegirl said...

That sounds really delicious- I'm not a huge eggplant fan, but with that combination it sounds really good.

Lotus Reads said...

You know Sanjay, I really love recipe days on your blog and poetry days too and days when you talk politics, heck, I enjoy your blog no matter what you choose to discuss or post! :)

But coming back to the recipe...I am used to having it with yoghurt like Asha, ml and beenzzz. Can't say I have ever tried it with jaggery and peanuts, but I'd love to!

As always, thanks for sharing these recipes...it's great learning all these new ways to make everyday vegatables!

Sanjay said...

@Moegirl...Thank you :)

Sanjay said...

@Lotus.. Thank you so much, for your kind and generous comments. I really am touched that you like my blog despite the occasional rambles and rants. :-)

Truly having a reader like you makes a huge difference you know?

I haven't done much in terms of politics related posts of late. I must have outrage fatigue!! lol.
Interesting you mention that you have had this dish with yogurt, *A* mentioned that as well, but we wanted to try something different and this was such a pleasant surprise. I do hope you try this out someday.

I hope you like tomorrows recipe too :)

Have a great evening!

Beach Bum said...

I copied the recipe and gave it to my wife. She was very happy with it and actually said that my blogging was useful for a change.

deepsat said...

me not a big fan of egg plant. but this looks interesting!! :-))

Viewer said...

Tht burning theskin part is similar to making a baigan ka bhata process... is this the same or wht ?

BTW long time no see... How r u doing?

Id it is said...

Not much of an egg plant lover myself, but this one is to die for, and I know it is because i have tasted something similar at a friend's.

Orchid said...

I madeegg plant today and just ahd dinner..even then reading about your chutney is making me salivate Lol!...didn't know I liked egg plant this much :)

Keshi said...

One of my dreams is to try Sanjay's and Asha'a home-made food some day...looks really good!


Varsha said...

Looks yummy...I love Vangee and all th things made out of them....I will try this one