Another funny thing happened last week. My wife was making coffee the other day and then she was looking for sugar. There were two containers – one was sugar and one was idli flour (rice that is ground in such a way that it has a grainy texture). So the flour looks almost like sugar. Since it looks similar to sugar, I labeled the container. But my wife absent mindedly takes two spoons and pours it in her coffee and start stirring. Obviously it does not dissolve. She adds one more spoon and still it does not dissolve! She calls me and says that something is wrong with the sugar. After looking at the container, I tell her – “Sweetheart! I know you don’t like to cook but….idli flour usually does not go well with coffee and does not dissolve.” Of course, we had a good laugh about it. So much for that incident, now moving on….
I decided to make another eggplant dish since we got another bunch of eggplants from the food choice box from the farmers market. But this time it is braised with potatoes and spices along with fennel seeds. The dish is quite easy to make and quite tasty. It goes very well with some chana masala dal along with roti (thin soft flatbread made with chappati flour) or naan. There are a variety of ways of making this dish. Some fry the potatoes and eggplant but that is a bit too oily for my taste. Especially, frying eggplant is just going to soak up the oil unless it is dusted with flour but then it will change the taste of the dish. Others add tomatoes to the dish.
The photos above and below show the various spices added and mixed together in a bowl. Once that is done, it is a matter of pan frying the vegetables and then braising it (cooking it covered with a little bit of water added).
It will be interesting to try it out the recipe with fennel instead of fennel seeds. It might also give it a refreshing taste but the braising time will have to vary. Maybe I will reserve that project for another time.
Aloo Baingan (Eggplant and Potatoes Laced with Fennel)
1 pound eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 1/2 Tablespoon coriander seed powder
(please use the Indian coriander powder)
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 Tablespoons of oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 dried red chili
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
In a bowl, combine eggplant, potatoes, turmeric powder, ground coriander, cayenne pepper and salt and mix well to coat evenly with the spices
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the fennel seeds, cumin seeds and dried red chili and fry for 10-15 seconds. Add the spiced potato and eggplant mixture to the skillet and shake the pan so the oil coats the vegetables. Cook the vegetables for 5-6 minutes until the eggplant is cooked slightly. Make sure to carefully turn the vegetables so as not to break the eggplant.
Lower the heat, add 1/2 cup water and stir the vegetables and cook covered for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Drizzle the lemon juice and add the cilantro for garnish and let sit for 5 minutes.
Makes enough for 4 people