I had grand plans of making umpteen dishes with chillies this month. After all, thats not such a high end goal in an Indian household where chillies dominate any form of cooking. However, towards the end of the month, I didnt know if i could make it to the JFI: Chillies event this month. The reason is, i have been caught up with a lot of things lately, specifically apartment hunting. As a result, i had totally forgotten about the event till i peeped into the refrigerator this evening after a long day and came up with three veggies sitting there since the past week when i went grocery shopping: Papdi, Tondli and Baby aubergines/eggplants. Since i was running short on time- it was a no-brainer which veggie i could make till i suddenly remembered the JFI event and a recipe that i had flipped through in one (Chef's Vegetarian favorites from Taj) of the sole two cookbooks that i own.
This Baingan Mirchi Ka Salan goes to Nandita of Saffron Trail, who's guest hosting this month's Jihva For Ingredients: Chillies, a food event originally started by Indira of Mahanandi. So what ingredients did i use for this recipe? Whole green chiles, Whole red dried chilies and red chili powder. OK.... thats not all but those are the main ingredients for this recipe along with some others. Here goes the recipe :
16 small baby eggplants
2 small green peppers, julienned
12 small green chilies/ big green chilies (adjust according to your spice level)
2 tsp tamarind paste
salt to taste
1/3rd tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1-1/2 tsp cumin-coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 cup youghurt
To be ground into paste
1-1/2 tsp sesame
4 tsp cashews
2 tsp peanuts
1/3 tsp whole black pepper
8 whole dried red chillies
1/3 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
2 tsp oil
Updated- 07/31/07- Just wanted to let you guys know that despite so many chilies, the dish turned out just a little spicy- thats because i fried the green chilies and the whole dried red chilies didnt add that much of the pizzazz as regular green chilies do:)- You can vary the quantity though according to your spice level. However since this recipe is from the Chefs at The TAJ, you can expect it to be mildly spicy in order to cater to the international clientel.
1. Slit the aubergines into four halves (do not completely slice them) and the green chillies vertically (if you dont like it too spicy, apply salt into the vertically slit chilies- that will reduce the heat) and fry them (both the aubergines and green chilies). Keep aside.
2. Roast the sesame seeds, cashews, peanuts and pepper and then grind them into a fine powder.
3. Heat oil and add the fenugreek seeds. When they turn slightly brown, add the ginger garlic past eand saute for 5 minutes.
4. Add the red chili powder, turmeric, cumin-coriander and garam masala and yoghurt and cook well till the oil separates from the rest. Add the ground paste and saute for 5 minutes.
5. Add 1-1/2 cup of water and let it cook for another 15 minutes till the gravy thickens slightly.
6. Add in the aubergines, the green peppers and tamarind paste and let cook till another 15 minutes. Add the green chilies and cook for another 5 minutes.
7. Heat 2 tsp of oil, add the mustard seeds and when they crackle add the dried red chilies and the coconut. Pour over the aubergine-green chili mixture and serve hot with rotis or rice.
P.S.- I did try making another Chili Dish- "Dahi Mirchis" - alas i failed. I was hoping that living in the sunshine state of Florida, i could avail of some sunshine to dry my mirchis- but during the hurricane season when its pouring cats and dogs in florida, wishing for that little spot of sunshine while living in an apartment surrounded by palm trees is like wishing for....... you get the idea.