Archive for March 2011

Baigan Aloo Subzi

March 2, 2011

Spices and herbs play a vital role in preparing vegetables in India. Whether adding whole cumin seeds or roughly crushed cardamom seeds, spices and herbs bring out superb flavor and aroma to everyday food (of course assuming you like Indian food). These have been used throughout the world and mastery over blending of various spices is one of the best known, centuries old culinary arts of India. It may seem like nothing more than throwing many ingredients together but in reality it is the combination one needs to master. Spices work best the way these were traditionally blended. It would be difficult to imagine “curry powder” without turmeric and the cayenne pepper in the Western kitchen and garam masala without aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, black peppercorn and cloves in the Indian kitchen. I would emphasize when using spices that it’s wise to follow the “less is more” approach (see earlier entry AP Spice Paste posted August 12, 2007). The way we season our food today has changed enormously. The credit belongs to innovative chefs, restaurateurs, media and the people who are interested in learning about new ways of seasoning the food and not intimidated by new flavors.

Baigan Aloo Subzi

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin or mustard seeds
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 eggplant (baigan or baingan), washed and cubed
1 potato (aloo), peeled, washed and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

1) Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add cumin seeds and cover the pan half way through. When the seeds begin to sputter add the ginger-garlic paste and turmeric. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and add cubed vegetables and season with salt to taste. (At this point I like to add about 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste and a generous pinch of each ground cumin, fennel and coriander). Stir to mix well.
2) Cover, reduce the heat and let it cook 20 to 25 minutes or until fork tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Yield: 4 servings.