Aubergine/Eggplant Relish for Your Next Party

Healing with foods, herbs, and spices is nature’s gift to people.  Growing up in India, my mother always impressed upon us, “Remember that spices and herbs have medicinal properties and are the heating and cooling energy specialists of the body.  They aid the digestive process and provide heat to the body and cool it.”

Taste and savor this, and many other unforgettable recipes in my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables and Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking.   The magic of curry is in the blending and sautéing of spices.  Turmeric and a combination of twelve or more different healing spices give curry its distinctive, delicious and unique flavor.

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Aubergine/Eggplant Relish (Baigan ka Raita)

Serves 6

A perfect healthy party relish or dip with chips, pita bread, celery, carrot and zucchini sticks for your favorite guests or a lunch entre at work.

3 medium eggplants
2 cups plain yogurt
¼ cup water
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ cup fresh grated coconut
½-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 fresh green chilies, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
1/8 teaspoon ground asafoetida
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fine

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Lightly grease the eggplants with oil and wrap them in aluminum foil. Reduce the oven heat to 350ºF. Bake the eggplants for 25–30 minutes until tender.

Cool. Then peel and discard the skin.

In a food processor, puree the yogurt, salt, turmeric, ¼ cup water, coconut, ginger, garlic, green chilies, and eggplant.

Heat the olive oil in a wok over medium heat.

Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and asafoetida, stirring constantly for 2–3 minutes, until the mustard seeds start popping and the cumin seeds turn a shade darker.

Add the eggplant mixture; stir and simmer for 4–5 minutes.

Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve as party relish or with lunch.

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