Smoked Aubergine Mash (Baingan Bharta)

 

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I always think it’s funny how there are foods we used to hate as kids but now love as adults. Not that I consider myself an adult. I see myself more as a tall kid. Am I aware that 5ft 2 is not technically tall? Sure I am, but lets not ponder on that.

I was a good eater as a child (my childhood photos reveal that) and I’d like to think I wasn’t particularly fussy. Granted I had some weird foodie combinations that I loved but who didn’t? Crisp and coleslaw sandwiches were a must whilst watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. Any crisp would do, though crisps made from maize or corn were preferable. Mango pickle mixed with yoghurt was a regular “snack”, oh and I could eat mountains of black olives and pickled onions at any given time. Perhaps I was an odd child…please don’t judge me. 

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But I digress. Generally, I ate very well and there were just a few things I detested which oddly, I now love! Any sort of seafood was a no go, however Chingri Malai Kari is now one of my absolute favourite dishes. I found bitter melon revolting growing up but now regularly crave it. I couldn’t stand the smell of anything cooked in ghee but now it’s a staple in my everyday cooking. It’s odd isn’t it?

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Baigan Bharta also featured on the loathe list but now I can’t fathom how I lived so many years without it! Spicy, smokey (almost BBQ esque) and slightly sweet, baigan bharta is an utterly satisfying dish that’s perfect with hot buttery chapatis. The mashed consistency of the aubergine is akin to baba ganoush so it also works great as a dip, in wraps and smothered on crackers too (I’m thinking canap├ęs at dinner partys people). I hope you like this recipe. It’s surprisingly easy to make and packed full of flavour. Keep me posted on how it turns out for you! 

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Smoked Aubergine Mash (Baigan Bhartha)
Serves 3
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Ingredients
  1. 1 aubergine
  2. 2 tbsp oil
  3. 1 small onion, finely diced
  4. 1 green chilli, finely diced
  5. 2 tomatoes, diced
  6. 1 level tsp tomato puree (double concentrate)
  7. 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  8. 1/2 tsp chilli powder or according to taste
  9. 2 tbsp peas, boiled (optional)
  10. Fresh coriander
Instructions
  1. Grease the aubergine with oil and roast it over an open flame till it is fully cooked. It should take about 5-7 minutes. When done, the skin should be charred all over and and the aubergine flesh will become soft.
  2. If you do not have a gas cooker, you can also cook the aubergine in the grill at the highest temperature until soft. Note, this will however not achieve the smokiness in flavour.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Then peel and discard the skin. Mash the flesh with a fork and keep aside.
  4. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Then add the onions and chilli and cook for 3-5 minutes until light golden brown in colour.
  5. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, salt and chilli powder and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  6. Now add the mashed aubergine and peas and mix well. Reduce the heat and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the fresh coriander. Check salt and chilli and adjust accordingly. Remove from heat.
Notes
  1. If you are roasting over a flame, use tongs to hold the aubergine and rotate every few minutes. It may also help to cover the cooker around the ring with foil so it is easy to clean once the aubergine is roasted.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Oven Baked Goan Chicken Curry

goan chicken curry

I have said it before and I’ll say it again-I love the vastness and diversity that Indian cookery has to offer! I’m constantly learning about new regional dishes which continue to broaden my culinary perspective on Indian cuisine. I feel so lucky to have lots of family who reside in India and I visit them as often as I can-and as much as I love catching up and staying with my loved ones (how can I not love staying with my Grandma won’t stop feeding me until I look “healthy”?), I always endeavour to do as much exploring and traveling as I can in my motherland. Recently I got the opportunity to visit Go-a wonderful, former Portuguese province, that fuses Eastern & Western culture into one state. A popular tourist destination, Goa is well known for its beaches, markets, history, spice plantations and most importantly its food! Today’s recipe is inspired by this spicy, fresh and flavoursome cuisine and features ingredients typically found in Goan dishes such as chilli, tamarind & fresh coconut. It’s oven baked which adds a lovely depth and richness to the dish making it perfect to be mopped up with hot fresh chappatis and a cold winter’s evening!

 

Serves 4

What we need:
1/2 kg boneless skinned chicken thighs cut into 2″ cubes
4 tbsp plain yoghurt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
4 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 8 pieces (optional)
1″ cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom 
1 green cardamom
2 cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled & roughly chopped
1 green chilli
4″ ginger, peeled & roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup fresh coconut grated or 1/4 tin coconut milk
1 tsp tamarind paste (optional)
2 plum tomatoes and 3 tbsp tomato juice (from tin)
1 handful fresh coriander

How to:

  • Place chicken in a bowl and add 2 tbsp yoghurt, lemon juice, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp garam masala and 1 tsp paprika. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Pre-heat oven at 220C (or the highest temperature your oven goes to). In the mean time, place the chicken and the potatoes in a deep roasting tray.
  • Once the oven is hot,  cook for approximately 15 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and cook for a remaining 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and white all the way through. Remove the chicken but keep the oven on.
  • In a food processor add the onions, green chilli, ginger and garlic and blitz until a coarse paste forms.
  • Heat the oil in a non stick pan. Once hot, add the cinnamon stick, black cardamom, green cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds & bay leaves. When they begin to splatter in the oil, add the coarse masala paste into the pan alongside 2 tsp salt and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. When the masala turns slightly golden in colour, add the coconut and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes. Now add 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp paprika and the turmeric. Mix well for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the tamarind paste and plum tomatoes & mash well. Continue to cook for 3-4 minutes or until you see the oil begin to separate from the masala.  Now add the coriander. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.
  • Add the masala to the roasting tray containing the chicken and mix. Cover with foil.
  • Place in the tray back into the oven and cook for 12 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh grated coconut & coriander. Serve with fresh chappatis or basmati rice.

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