Before I moved to south India, baingan (eggplant) was strongly linked in my mind with baingani – the color purple. Imagine my surprise when I first discovered that baingan could be green. My relationship with green baingan has gone from misgivings to experimentation to understanding. I have discovered that green baingan takes a slightly shorter time to cook than its purple sibling, and that there are certain ingredients that complement the green baingan better than purple, and vice versa.
This dish uses the long and slim and green type of baingan. If that is not available in your area, you could probably substitute it with the round green brinjal. I suspect the purple will not take so well to this medley of spices.
* Long green brinjal – 2 or 3, sliced into rings
* Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
* Methi seeds – 1/3 teaspoon
* Cashewnuts – 1/2 cup
* Chilli flakes- 1 Dominos pouch
* Salt – To taste
* Haldi – 1/2 teaspoon
* Jaggery – 1 teaspoon
* – Oil – 1 tablespoon
Wash and soak the brinjal slices for 30 mins before cooking. This takes out some of its bitterness.
In a flat-bottomed non-stick pan, heat oil. Add the methi seeds, then mustard seeds. When the methi seeds turn just brown (be careful, methi seeds are tricky – they either remain raw and bitter, or become burnt and bitter), add the brinjal slices. You might have to step away from the stove at this point, as the water in the brinjal makes the pan sizzle and splutter.
Let the brinjal cook covered on medium heat, stirring occasionally in between. When it’s around 70% done, add turmeric powder, salt and chilli powder. This doesn’t take too long to cook fully, 8 minutes or so- depending on the thickness of the brinjal rings. When 90% done, add cashew nuts. When nearly all done, and jaggery and stir in to mix well. Let the jaggery melt and coat the brinjal pieces.
Bittersweet nutty brinjal ready!
I had it as a side-dish with arhar dal, rotis and onion-beetroot salad.