This well-travelled native young woman hails from Dehli in India and now lives in USA's most fun city, Las Vegas. Besides baking, she loves to cook North Indian food in an instinctive manner and create fusion recipes influenced by her rich roots. Coming from a family of "super cooks", you'd think that she would also love to eat, yet weirdly it is absolutely not the case!
Tanvi is very talented both in her photography as well as in her cooking. There is absolutely no doubt about that. Being of Asian origin, she is naturally a spice addict and adores well-seasoned grub. Hence, blandness is a word which doesn't exist in her vocabulary.
This lady's experementative, healthy, colorful, fragrant, traditional, homely, yet elegant everyday style dishes are just exhalirating and amazingly scrumptious looking. Each creation is gracefully as well as attractively staged, the specialities are always accompanied by interesting information and her pictures are outstanding in their purity and apparent lack of fussiness. Visiting her blog is like taking a one way ticket to buoyant India. Wonderfully desorienting and so exotic.
Thank you so much Tanvi for consenting to write this marvelous post for me and accepting to be my host. Your "Baingan Bharta" rocks and as soon as eggplants are back in season, I'll try that lipsmacking speciality!
It’s a great pleasure to be guest blogging for Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums today. She has one of the most encouraging & kind blogger around, whom I have been lucky enough to be friends with. Depth of her writing, beauty of her lens & her enthusiasm has always been inspiring.It was a pleasant surprise when she wrote to me for a guest post. Thanks so much Rosa for inviting me to your blog today.
I am here to share one of my favorite winter recipes with her wonderful readers today. There are some things in life,which take you back to your roots no matter where you are in the world! My grandmother used to roast vegetables & bread amongst glowing charcoal pieces of her angithi (traditional indian brazier) while she kept herself warm during harsh north indian winters.We used to flock the angithi as kids to feed ourselves. Sitting miles away, the aroma which fills the house while roasting eggplants for this dish is one of those things I look forward to in my kitchen . It’s a trip down memory-lane which nurtures my heart & soul with the spirit of those days.
"Baingan" is Hindi for eggplant & "Bharta" translates to any kind of mash. No points for guessing - this is mashed eggplant with spices. Its an easy recipe originally from rural north india where a chulla (clay/mud cooking stove) is used to roast the eggplants which are then peeled, mashed and combined with oil & spices. If done the traditional way i.e roasting the eggplant in heat from burning coal or wood,the taste of this dish is divine & most authentic. I think, open grilling is the best way to handle eggplant.
The key thing to keep in mind is that you need to char the eggplants to death. Don’t worry about them getting burnt or looking ugly, the peel will go away but before that, it has to make the flesh tender, concentrate the juices & sugars within & infuse the smokiness. Grills, broilers or stove tops work great to do the job, just be ready for a big time cleaning if you choose to use the stove top as I do J The second important thing to ensure is that even though this is a mash, the texture of the finished dish has to be chunky; hence all the ingredients (even spices), which go in, are either coarsely chopped or pounded. In all "Baingan Bharta" is chunky, smoky & spicy mash!
The dish is best served with flatbreads and a pickle /chutney / salad on side. You can serve it as a dip. I sometimes fill miniphyllo cups with bharta, top with some pepper jack cheese & bake to serve as appetizers. The ideas to eat are endless..just try your own way.
~ Baingan Bharta Or Smoky Mashed Eggplants ~
Recipe by Tanvi at "Sinfully Spicy".
Serves 2-3 people.
1 Large eggplant (about 1lb)
1 Tsp Oil (for rubbing on the eggplant)
3 Tbs Mustard/olive oil
1 Cup chopped red onions
1 Inch Fresh ginger shoot, chopped
4 Cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 Thai green chilies, chopped (adjust to tolerance)
1.25 Cups Chopped tomatoes
1 Tsp Coriander seeds
3-4 Whole dry red chilies (adjust to tolerance)
1/2 Tsp Amchoor (dry mango powder)
1/2 Tsp Garam masala
Salt, to taste
1 Tsp Mustard/olive oil (for drizzle on top, optional)
Cilantro and green chilies chopped (for garnishing)
Wash the eggplant and dry the skin with a cloth.
Rub1 tsp of oil all over.
Use any one of the following methods to char the eggplant:
1. This is what I do:
Heat your stovetop on high. Char the whole eggplant, turning with the use of tongs to char on all sides, until the skin has blackened & the flesh is soft. This will take about 20-22 minutes. Keep a watch while you do this.
2. Preheat a grill to medium heat; you can slit the eggplant into half, grill skin side up for 25-30 minutes. If you plan to use an oven, preheat broiler to 325° F (170° C) and roast the eggplant for about 15-20 minutes until skin is burnt & starts to peel off.
While the eggplant is roasting, pound the coriander seeds and dry red chilies using a mortar & pestle. Set aside.
Once the eggplant has charred, using tongs, transfer it to a plate and let cool down for about 15 minutes. Peel off the charred skin from the eggplant.You can remove seeds if you want. Using a fork, mash the flesh. Set aside.
Heat oil on high in a heavy bottomed pan. When the oil is almost smoky, reduce heat to medium & add the chopped onions. Sauté for about 6-7 minutes or till the onions are translucent but not browned. Next, add the chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies and sauté for 30 seconds or till you smell the aroma. Add the coriander & red chill mixture next and sauté for another 30 seconds. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, set the heat on high again and cook the tomatoes for 7-8 minutes until they soften (but do not mush) and you see oil separating on sides of the pan.
At this point, add the mashed eggplant and salt to taste. Combine everything together, set heat to low and let cook for 3-4 minutes. You will see that the color of the mash deepens & few oil bubbles on the surface as it cooks.
Remove from heat and while still hot, add the dry mango powder and garam masala. Mix well.
Garnish with loads of chopped cilantro, green chilies, drizzle with some raw mustard/olive oil and serve warm with naan/ chapati (flatbreads).