January 30, 2012

New event - "Valentine Fest - Served with Love" , all this Feb ...

No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”  - ― Laurie Colwin
As this blog - Sizzling Tastebuds -turned one last week, I took out some 'me' time out to ponder how and what I felt at the end of one year..While the chocolate cake baked for the event definitely helped me with a burst of adrenalin, I believe I felt nice because cooking for family is one of the most important things we do, and what better way to express love than to cook what your family loves to eat. 
So, in celebration of the Valentine’s day which happens to be all about love, why not extend the same to cooking up your family’s favourite. And that, my dear readers happens to be the Valentine Event here at Sizzling Tastebuds and its called Valentine Fest - Served with Love. And its happening at this blog , all this Feb :)

This entire month of Feb, send in all the dishes that you cook for your loved ones, family, colleagues at work & close friends. While chocolates & cakes may top the list, do send us the lovely Curries / Rotis / Chutneys / Dips and something special that you cook for your family...Don’t forget to mention why this dish is special to you, and what it means cooking this for them.

Let’s not limit this to chocolates, but extend this to all the vegetarian dishes you make for them, even a special sandwich or soup for them. As always, only fresh entries are welcome. A quick recap of how you can send your dishes:

1.    Dishes shall be vegetarian only. This is an egg free blog. So send your eggless bakes and other vegetarian entries....

2.    Cuisine can be across region /course and new dishes need to be posted between 1st Feb & 29th Feb 2012 (Yes, we are on a leap year, so that extra day in Feb counts too J)

3.    No archived entries please.
4.    Link back to this announcement and usage of logo is mandatory

5.    Use the Linky tool to tag your dish to this event. In case you are unable to do so, please write to me at – momchef77@gmail.com

January 29, 2012

Moong Dal Ladoo | Split green gram sweet roundels | Payathum Urundai | Hesaru Bele Ladoo

One of the few things most of us crave is an after lunch / dinner sweet. While chocolate is poison for some, Ladoos have been a perennial favourite in my family. Even as a child, I used to wait for Gokulashtami (Krishna Janmashtami) when mom and grandmom used to slave over the stove for hours to dish out several mouth watering Ladoos like Rava urundai, Porulungai Urundai, Besan Ladoo. 

Of course, while I progressed on my culinary skills, making ladoo wasnt my cup of tea. Till I gathered some courage to roll up the Ragi-Besan Ladoo or the Til ka Ladoo. Even the Choco Coconut Ladoo was a sellout success. Today's sweet - Moong Dal Ladoo - was inspired by a television show on cookery (Whew ! All those years of munching down ladoos made by mom/grandmom didnt inspire me enough - a television show had to!!).. And am glad to another Ladoo added to the repertoire.. Lets quickly get to the recipe.


This goes to : Blogging Marathon, MLLA # 43, hosted by Chez Cayenne, event by SusanGayathri’s Walk through Memory Lane & also Cooking Challenge – Tamilnadu by Vidhya

Prep time : 10 mins. Time taken to make the roundels (Ladoos) : Approx 15 - 20 mins (depends on one's skill level) 
Makes : 1 dozen Ladoos, and keeps well for 4 - 5 days without refrigeration (if they last that long!)

Ingredients:
  • Split Green gram / Moong Dal - 1 cup
  • Jaggery - 3/4 cup (suit to taste.Recommended - 1 cup, but we liked it slightly less sweeter)
  • Salt - a pinch
  • Saffron - few strands (optional)
  • Elaichi / cardamom - 2 nos
  • Melted Ghee - 1/2 cup (dont cringe this quantity)
  • Cashews / Raisins - 3 to 4 TBSP


Method:
1) In a deep bottomed pan, heat 1 TBSP of ghee and on a very low flame, fry the moong dal till it turns slightly golden brown. 
2) Cool completely. Grind. Sieve. Take the remanants on the sieve and grind them. Repeat till you get a very smooth powder (I did it only twice, and felt that I should have had a smoother flour if I had ground it once more) - See Notes below for more information
3) Transfer to a plate.
4) Now in the same spice grinder, powder jaggery & cardamom to a very fine texture.
5) Add the moong flour & salt to the spice jar and grind it once more so its mixed well with the jaggery (Tip : Do this in batches so the mixer doesn't give way & the jaggery doesnt become gooey)
6) Transfer to a plate. Cool for about 1 -2 mins.
7) Meanwhile, fry raisins and cashews in 1/2 tsp of ghee and add to the mixture above.
8) While the mixture is still warm, add half the ghee & saffron and rub it in.
9) Try making a small roundel and plate on a plate. if it stays, then the ghee is enough, else add the rest of the ghee little by little (each time checking if the roundel / ladoo will hold)
10) Make equal portions of the flour now, and start making the ladoos immediately.
11) Serve as a tea time snack, or like in my family, as a post-lunch / dinner treat :)

Notes:
1) Cool the fried dal before grinding.
2) Do not skip the step of grind - sieve - regrind. The flour has to be super smooth for extra taste
3) Ghee quantity is indicative. You may not need it all, but dont over use as well, as the ladoos turn rancid otherwise.

January 28, 2012

Moong Sprouts & Grapes Salad with Lemon Honey dressing

Moong Sprouts is always present in my pantry.. And after Moongachi Usal, Sprouts Adai, I used these to make myself a quick Sprouts & Grapes Salad with Lemon-Honey dressing today. And teamed with toasted bread, it was a perfect light lunch for Saturday noon. It requires almost zero time to make, if you have the sprouts on hand. Team it up with any fruit and sprinkle some salt / pepper, and you have a fabulous light snack to munch on even in the afternoons. Off this goes to:
Blogging Marathon, Only Sprouts – event by Pari, hosted by Priya, Indrani’s Winter Veggies Event & Vardhini’s New U. Also to my event Kitchen Chronicles  Cooking with leftovers – hosted by Veena. And to MLLA # 43, hosted by Chez Cayenne, event by Susan.
Prep time : 10 mins. Cook time : NIL. Serves : 2  
Ingredients:
  • Moong Sprouts - 1 cup
  • Chopped fruits - 1/2 cup (I primarily used up black grapes that were in my pantry)
  • Tomatoes - chopped - 2 TBSP 
  • Onions minced fine - 2 TBSP
Dressing:
  • Chaat Masala - 1/2 TBSP
  • Red Chilli powder / Black Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Lime juice - 1 TBSP
  • Honey - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste (optional) . I didnt add any :)
Method:
1) Chill and mix both the sprouts & chopped (and pitted grapes),onions and tomatoes in a large bowl. 
2) In another cup, mix the dressing ingredients well. Use 1/2 tbsp of vinegar in place of the lemon juice if desired.
3) Just before serving,add the dressing into the sprouts - fruits mix and toss well.
4) Serve immediately on a bed of lettuce (well, I ran out of lettuce, so had this straight on:))
Notes:
  • Grapes are only indicative. You can use a medley of fruits : pineapple chunks, peeled and cubed apple, orange segments, sweet lime : all these work wonderfully well.
  • Add red chilli flakes instead of red chilli powder / pepper powder for a hot and new experience in the dressing.
  • Ensure all the ingredients (except dressing / topping) are chilled before serving - that way they get perkier and crunchy when you eat. If using apples, add them just before serving as they brown on exposure (due to oxidation)

January 27, 2012

Ulundu Dosa (Ulundhu Dosa) | Urad Dal Dosa | Split black gram crepes

Dosas are welcome anytime at my house, and the simpler the better. Although we do indulge in a Masala dosa once in a while, we do stick to simple Dosa (lentil crepes) most of the time.. and what can get simpler than a Ulundhu Dosa. This is traditionally made only with Urad Dal (split black gram) , but I have added a little rice to make it crisper.For this dosa, you can use whole Urad dal (with skin on) or dehusked Urad Dal (white variety - without skin on). If using the one with black skin on, grind it right with the skin on. The colour of the dosas may be darker, but will definitely be healthier..Serve it with any chutney

This goes to Blogging Marathon, MLLA # 43, hosted by Chez Cayenne, event by SusanCooking Challenge – Tamilnadu by Vidhya, Vardhini’s New U and Radhika's Lets cook Rice.


Do Check out the fellow Marathoners here.

Prep time, including grinding : 30 mins. Soak time : 12 hours. Makes : Approx 20 dosas

Ingredients:
  • Par Boiled Rice ( Raw rice can be used too) - 2 cups
  • Urad dal  (husked or dehusked black gram) - 1 cup + 1 handful extra
  • Methi / fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
  • Poha - a handful (optional)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - for frying the dosa
Method:
1) Soak the rice and dal separately. Soak the poha and methi along with the Ural dal. 
2) Grind to a smooth paste along with the poha and methi seeds. Add salt and ferment for over 10 - 12 hours (preferably overnight)
3) After fermentation, nicely mix up the batter. Take a ladleful of batter and spread it in a circle on a medium-hot tava (skillet). Drizzle oil around the dosa, and cook on both sides till crisp.
4) Serve immediately with sambhar or chutney. The dosa here is served with Mixed peel chutney


January 26, 2012

Sizzling Tastebuds turns one , and celebrating with an eggless chocolate cake :)

365 days. 260 blog posts. An exciting culinary journey! As Sizzling Tastebuds turns one, I thank all my readers for their constant encouragement and supportive comments as I take baby steps to make everyday cooking exotic and healthy.  And healthy it shall be,what with my 90+ bookmarked recipes asking to be cleared - that pretty much sets the tone for the next few months as I wade my way through these (and hopefully more) recipes and try out atleast one new dish a week ;-) A silent thanks goes out to the Almighty for guiding me and a big huge hug to my family for being there..
Sizzling Tastebuds turns one today :)
And celebrating this milestone is with this eggless chocolate cake that me and kiddo baked together. Her initials are on the cake, and some of the icing was done by her (with her tiny shaky hands, she was all excitement to have the cake and eat it too!) She couldnt wait for the cake to cool (and by the way, she is a confirmed chocoholic by now), so by the time I set up the camera and also the frosting, the cake was already nibbled at (by who elseJ). 
So clicking the rest of the pictures was mostly a blur for me.But it was so much worth the effort to see her using a fork and a knife to eat the slice of cake, all by herself :-) Simple pleasures of life, and hard to express.. This recipe actually doesn’t require frosting, and I have also tried to keep it as low fat as possible, in keeping with my family’s eating preferences – eat healthy, stay fit ! You may however want to frost it or even cover this with a chocolate fondant. But us – we are good to go with this yummy no-frost cake (who needs extra calories anyway!)
Prep time : 10 mins
Baking time : 35 – 40 mins (oven timings may vary)
·         Ingredients:
·         APF / Maida – 1 cup
·         Melted butter – ¼ cup
·         Cocoa powder – 1/3 cup
·         Cooking chocolate – ¼ cup
·         Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
·         Baking powder –1 tsp
·         Condensed Milk – ½ tin (200 ml) – I required a little less than this
·         Water – 1/2 cup
·         Brown sugar – 4 TBSP
·         Salt – a pinch

Method:
1) Pre heat oven to 160 deg C
2) Over a double boiler, melt chocolate. To this melted chocolate, add sugar, melted butter, condensed milk and water and cream till smooth using a wooden spoon or hand blender
3) Meanwhile, sieve maida, baking powder, baking soda, salt & cocoa powder
4) Add the dry ingredient mixture(above step) to the wet mixture (step 2) little by little. Now add vanilla essence and mix well.
5) Grease, flour and line a baking tin. Pour the cake batter into it and bake in the oven for 30-35 mins till a toothpick comes out clean.
For the frosting (if required) : 
Sieve 1 cup icing sugar with 3 TBSP cocoa. Slowly add hot water – 1 TBSP at a time and mix to a flowing consistency. Cool slightly. Place the cake on the plate and pour the icing on it.  For the cake in my picture, I used plain vanilla icing mix and piped it up for decoration.
Sending this to:
Valli's  Chocolate Mela , Srav's CC-Chocolate Fest & Chocolate Lover

January 25, 2012

Oats Pongal with Moong Dal | Oats & split green gram Pongal | Diabetic friendly dish

Dals or lentils is the basis of most vegetarian meals - be it as a side dish or kebabs or Cheelas (crepes) or even most breakfast menus. Today is one such healthy option for breakfast made with Oats & Moong dal. Given a choice to choose between all dals & lentils I use in my kitchen, it would surely be Moong Dal (or split green gram). I find it most versatile, light to digest and also easy to cook, and lends itself into many different dishes across course. Today is a take on the popular South Indian breakfast- Pongal and its a twist with a healthy addition of Oats. Quick and healthy, am sure you would also enjoy this. I served this with Katrikkai Pachadi (Brinjal Raitha) and it was a total sellout. Am sure this would be one more variant of Pongal along with Rava Pongal & Ven Pongal to the breakfast menu.

Sending this to Blogging Marathon -Day 3. Also to MLLA # 43, hosted by Chez Cayenne, event by SusanVardhini’s New UCooking Challenge – Tamilnadu by Vidhya

Do check my fellow marathoners here

Prep time : 10 mins. Cook time : 20 mins. Serves : 2
  • Moong Dal - 1/2 cup
  • Oats - 3/4 cup (I used quick rolled Oats)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 1 TBSP
  • Ghee - 1 TBSP
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Tempering : Curry leaves, Cumin Seeds, Grated Ginger, Asafoetida
  • Green / Red chillies - 2 nos.
Method:
1) In a dry pan, roast Oats till it turns slightly crispy but doesnt burn. Add 1 TBSP of oil and fry the moong dal (split green gram) till it gives out a nice aroma. Transfer & mix both in a cooking bowl and cool.
2) Add 2 - 2.5 cups of water and pressure cook the Oats-Moong Dal mixture with a pinch of salt & turmeric for 3 whistles.
3) When the pressure cools down, heat ghee. Add cumin, curry leaves, grated ginger, asafoetida, chillies and saute for a minute.
4) Transfer the cooked Pongal to a serving dish. Adjust salt and pour the prepared tempering on the pongal. Mix just once and serve hot with some ghee and any raitha.

Note
1) Oats needs to be dry roasted, else will become mushy. 
2) If cooking the pongal in a rice cooker, add lesser water but soak the moong dal for 10 minutes in warm water before using.  Do not over mix the pongal else it will turn to a paste. 
3) For the tempering, you may also add some black pepper corns, but I avoided it as its quite an effort to locate them during rushed morning breakfast time :)

January 24, 2012

Sprouts Adai | Sprouts and lentil crepes

Sprouts Adai must be the healthiest breakfast option that is dished out at my place. A healthy twist to the usual Adai (lentil crepes), this is one sure shot way to get kiddo to munch on sprouts and is a very healthy breakfast for diabetics too. You can make it with normal soaked moong dal too, but I had some sprouts leftover after making Moongachi Usal. so made it with sprouts. Try it out, am sure you would love this. You may also use mixed sprouts, but as I had moong sprouts prepared it with the same.
This goes to the following events: Blogging Marathon - Day 2 - Delicious Dals, Priya Sreeram hosting Fast Food not Fat Food, event by Priya’s Now serving, Radhika’s Let’s Cook – Rice, Vardhini’s New UOnly Sprouts – event by Pari, hosted by Priya , My event Kitchen Chronicles  Cooking with leftovers – hosted by VeenaAlso to MLLA # 43, hosted by Chez Cayenne, event by Susan. And to Cooking Challenge – Tamilnadu by Vidhya
Do check my fellow marathoners hereLet's get on to the recipe now...
Soaking time : 4 hours
Prep time : 20 mins + grinding time
Makes : 20 adais
Ingredients:
  • White rice - 1 cup (you may also use brown rice here, but soak for 2 hours longer if doing so)
  • Toor Dal / split pigeon pea - 1/3 cup
  • Channa Dal - approx 1/2 cup
  • Sprouted Moong sprouts - 1/2 cup
  • Red Chillies - 4 to 5 (suit your spice)
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Jaggery - half a lemon sized
  • Ginger - 1/2 inch grated
  • Hing / Asafoetida - a generous pinch
  • Oil - to fry the Adai
Method:
1) Wash and soak the rice and dals separately for 4 hours. Add the red chillies to soak along with the dals.
2) Grind the rice first. Then add the dals, chillies, sprouts and grind to a smooth paste.
3) Add salt, curry leaves, hing,grated ginger, turmeric, jaggery and mix well.
4) Give it a standing time of 1 - 2 hours (I soaked the dals / rice overnight, and made the adais with the batter ground the next day)
5) To make the adais, heat a tava. When moderately hot, spoon a ladleful of this batter onto the middle of the tava. Spread like a dosa, but slightly thicker than normal dosa
6) Drizzle oil around the sides. Cook on both sides and serve with Molagapudi and any chutney. 

January 23, 2012

Agathi Keerai Kariamudhu (poriyal) with Toor Dal | Agathi leaves curry | Agase Soppu Palya | Iyengar Recipes

Certain things in life are worth an addiction, and worth having them. Like Blogging Marathon, for instance. After what seemed like endless thoughts (and emails to Valli), I finally decided to give in to the addiction. With a hectic schedule looming at my end,Valli was kind enough to let me do 4 -5 posts for week 2 under "Dals". I am hoping that I can finish the week with 7 posts , and the first of these posts is an Iyengar dry curry - Agathi Keerai Kariamudhu (poriyal)
Made for Dwadasi Paranai (or the meal had on Dwadashi - the 12th day of the fortnight) after the fasting on Ekadashi, these leaves are also known as Sesbania Grandiflora (botanical name). More details of this green can be read here

This green is known as Agathi in Tamil, Agase Soppu in Kannada, Avisi in Telugu & Gaach Munga in Hindi. It has excellent medicinal properties, but consumption of these leaves more than twice or max thrice a month is not advisable. It also kills the toxins in the stomach.The following items are made for the Dwadasi meal - which in itself is medicinal in nature and levels the acidity content in the stomach. 
Agathi Keerai . Pic courtesy : indiagardening.blogspot.com
No wonder wholesome healthy food made in the olden times was an elixir for long healthy life for most elders in our family. Before I go to the recipe today, let me list down the menu for the Dwadasi Meal  (like I mentioned in my earlier posts, I am hoping my daughter and her generation will have e-records of our food and culture through this blog). Onions / garlic and even tomatoes are prohibited for every day meals in most traditional households even today, and therefore this curry also doesnt include them. Now off to the recipe..
  1. Rice
  2. Mor Kozhambu
  3. Agathi Keerai Kariamudhu (Poriyal)
  4. Kootu
  5. Nelli Pachadi (Gooseberry Raitha)
  6. Poricha Sathamudhu (Poricha Rasam)
  7. Akkaravadisal or Thirukannamudhu
  8. Neer Mor (frothy and light buttermilk)
Sending this to Blogging Marathon - Day 1 week 2 under Dals and also to Gayathri’s Walk through Memory Lane. Also to MLLA # 43, hosted by Chez Cayenne, event by Susan Cooking Challenge – Tamilnadu by Vidhya along with Vardhini’s New U

Do check my fellow marathoners here

Prep time : 15 mins. Cook time : 15 mins
Serves : 2
Ingredients:
  • Agathi Keerai (greens) - 1 cup (tightly packed)
  • Toor Dal - 1/4 cup - soaked for 10 mins in warm water.
  • Turmeric - a dash
  • Oil - 1 TBSP
  • Grated coconut - garnish
  • Grated jaggery - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, Urad Dal, broken red chillies, hing (asafoetida) 

Method:
1) Trim the leaves off the stalk and wash well.
2) In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water to a rolling boil. Now add salt, turmeric, soaked dal and cook for 10 mins. After 10 mins, add the washed leaves and cook further for 8 mins. The leaves must remain green and the dal must be cooked, but not turn mushy.
3) Drain water completely and reserve.
4) In a pan, heat oil. Add tempering. Once mustard stops spluttering and urad dal turns brown, add the boiled  Toor-Dal mixture and saute lightly. Check for salt. Once the greens wilt a bit, add grated coconut and jaggery. Stir once more and serve with hot rice, Morkozhambu & ghee. 

The Gourmet Seven : A Curtain Raiser......

Seven - a number in astrology considered to be mystic. Even Hindu (Indian) mythology has seven (called "sapta" in sanskrit) has some unique significance - we have Sapta Rishis (7 sacred sages), Sapta Sagara (7 seas/ oceans), Sapta Padhi (7 sacred steps taken by a newly wed couple at their marriage)... 
So, when 7 eager-to-learn ladies (oops, girls!) come together to taste, create and enjoy the culinary adventures, magic is created. Thus was born Gourmet Seven - Conceived by Anusha, who was ably supported by Radhika, the rest of the gang simply nodded in agreement as they in typical girlie excitement outlined the plan - choose an online cook source / common cook book and weave an incredibly delicious while at the same time broadening one's culinary horizons.... Feb being the month of Valentine,we simply chose Chocolate... We all loveeee that ingredient, don't we ? 
Stay tuned as we dish out Gourmet Delights every month.
And joining me are :
Ø  Anusha from Tomato Blues

January 22, 2012

Baingan Bharta goes mediterranean, and a guest post by Sukanya | Guestpost Series # 6

After food, perhaps my second love is good english - prose, poetry, classics, TV shows : almost anything that showcases good English. And so I came to love Sukanya's blog - Saffronstreaks for its English, sprinkled liberally with aesthetic photographs as well as Tagore's poetry. Restaurant reviews, Travelogues & Food Stories complete her space. Winning the giveaway at her event,Monsoon Medley, was only a conjunction, and a lucky one at that...Happy to have her do the guestpost for us this month through a lip-smacking dish, fusion at that with Baingan Bharta, going the Mediterranean way. Thanks so much Sukanya for taking time out to do this post and for also pausing to tell us briefly about food trends : this dishis truly a gourmand's delight.. Let's hear Sukanya in her own words now...
***********************************************************************************************************************************
It was a long silent winter night with moon shone brightly in the dark sky flirting with zillions of stars, we were on a road trip winding our ways through the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, the central state of India, where the big wild cats occasionally meets and greets you, just like on a wild safari trip, dotted with some tribal villages along its rustic paths, a strong waft of charred eggplants rustles up its way towards us, leaving us famished and infuriate the hunger with the glints of its charred skin romancing and swirling high up in the air. The stop was inevitable, we deviate from our route in search of the rustic flavor.

The night was cold and as we snuggle cozily around the fire, watching the shiny and velvety purple skin of eggplant slowly carbonizing on a firewood, smoked with soft amber flesh sneaking at places with juices slowly dripping on the wood, an earthy flavor of rotis warming up on chulha next to the eggplant, life seems to be on a endless path of romanticism, food never seems to be so intoxicating before.
Shifting with tongs, the charred skin of eggplants then beaten up to reveal the soft amber colored flesh beneath, mashed to release the juices, smeared with spices, few green chillies, the burnt garlic, teaming up with some onions and seared on hot tava with drizzle of mustard oil, baingan ka bharta was ready to satiate the appetite, and few drops of tangy juices of lemon over it creates the magic. The flavour was truly rustic and unmatched.

From the rustic flavors of true India, lets move across the deep blue seas onto Mediterranean region where baba ghanouj is waiting for us. The eggplant here is subjected to similar fate and is roasted, mashed and then pureed along with vegetables, sometimes olives, tahini, garlic, vinegar and lemon juice. Mostly it is served as  an appetizer here.
Continents apart, these two dish looks like an identical twins, separated at birth or may share a common lineage which can be traced back along the old spice route. So, when our rustic and desi baingan ka bharta decided to go on a maiden voyage across the sea, our excitement knew no bounds, we decided to bring on all the Mediterranean flavours that symbolizes the region. Purist may not lap it up all at once, but for the one who loved to explore different flavors and with a little twist, this is the one that is going to surprise you. Mark my words for it.

This post is written as a part of Guest Post for Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds, whose recipes and write ups coupled with tempting food photos has enticed me long back. When she approached me a month back to do a guest post for her, I was super excited but unfortunately she had to wait patiently for me as I took sometime to settle down in a new city. Thanks Kalyani for trusting me and understanding me. As for the food trends, there is a paradigm shift in Indian Cuisine, fusion is very much in the scene, I would not say that average Indian foodies are adventurous but slowly they are accepting the changes, and spices like paprika and capers, gouda cheese and many such things are slowly invading the Indian housewife’s pantry.
Recipe: Baingan ka bharta / smoked eggplants
Summary: Indian baingan ka bharta or smoked eggplants with a Mediterranean touch
Ingredients
·  Eggplant : 1 large
·  Red onion (chopped ): 1 medium
·  Tomatoes (chopped) : 1 medium
·  Garlic (roasted) : few cloves
·  Ginger (chopped) : 1 tsp
·  Green chilies (finely chopped) : 1 tsp
·  Cumin powder : 1 tsp
·  Coriander powder : 1 tsp
·  Red Chilli powder : 1 tsp
·  Juice of lemon : 1 tbsp
·  Cilantro to garnish
·  For Mediterranean twist:
·  Roasted red bell pepper : 1
·  Black olives (chopped) : 1 tbsp
·  Dried Apricots and dates (chopped) : 1 tbsp
·  Sun-dried tomatoes (chopped) : 1 tbsp
·  Oranges : few segments
·  Crumbled feta cheese (optional)
·  Yogurt sauce to serve
·  Oil : 1 tbsp
·  Salt to taste
Instructions
1.     Roast the eggplants over a gas stove or in an oven. If you are roasting it in oven, set the temperature at 400 F and roast it for 45 minutes.
2.     Let the eggplants cool slightly before peeling off its skin, do not peel it completely, leave some skin as it will gives a nice smoky flavour to the dish.
3.     Peel off the roasted red bell pepper and chopped its flesh.
4.     Heat some oil in a pan and add the roasted garlic in it. Let the garlic releases its burnt smell.
5.     Add the diced onions and fry till the onion changes its colors, add the ginger and saute for few more minutes.
6.     Add the smoked and mashed eggplants and stir fry on medium heat for few minutes.
7.     Next add the roasted red bell peppers, along with tomatoes, and saute for few minutes till the tomatoes melts.
8.     Add all the spices along with finely chopped green chillies.
9.     Add the black olives, dried apricots and dates, mix well.
10.  Drizzle a tablespoon of lemon juice over it.
11.  Garnish with segmented oranges, cilantro and crumbled feta cheese if you are using it.
12.  Serve the hot baingan ka bharta with naan or roti and yogurt sauce to go with it.
Quick notes
If you are using tomatoes, then opt out the sun-dried tomatoes, use any one of them in the recipe.
Variations
Some also garnish the baingan ka bharta with scrambled eggs.
Preparation time: 1 hour(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 3
Culinary tradition: Indian (Northern)
My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)
Some fusion idea to enjoy the smoked eggplants or baingan ka bharta is to scoop a spoonful of baingan ka bharta on  a sesame cracker, sprinkle some cheese over it and enjoy !!!

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