Friday, January 02, 2009

Bringal Curry / Eggplant gravy

There are some dishes that are very versatile in the sense they can be had in various ways. Like there are some gravies that go best with rice and not so great with roti or any other type of bread. similarly there are those gravies that go extremely well with roti/chappatis but just don't hit off well with rice. This bringal/ eggplant gravy is a dream come true for any cook who is like me always trying to get the maximum use out of all hard work put in to make a dish :). But not only is it versatile enough for two separate meals, it is a breeze to make; making it very appealing during time crunches I almost always find myself in.

Small bringal - 1 1/2 cups sliced
Tomato - 1 chopped
Red Onion - finely chopped 1/2 cup
Ginger - 1"
Curry leaves - a few
Green chilli - 1 to 2 depending on preference
Puli vellam / tamarind - lime sized ball or 1 tsp of tamarind paste
Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
Malli podi/Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 2 pinches

Gingelly Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Channa dal - 1/2 tsp
Venthiyam/ fenugreek seeds - 3 to 4 seeds
Salt to taste

Wash and slice bringal and put it in salt water and let it remain there until it is ready to be moved to the pan.
Add puli to 3/4 cup of lukewarm water. If you are using tamarind paste you are all set otherwise you will need to soak the tamarind ball for 10 minutes (to speed up microwave for 30 seconds)and then strain the juice.
using a motar and pestle crush the onions, ginger, green chilli & curry leaves. You can also use a grinder and run a single pulse to coarsely crush the four ingredients. Heat a saute pan and add 1 tbsp of gingelly oil to it. It take a little more time to heat up the oil than regular canola oil. Once that is done add the crushed paste to it and saute for a few minutes until the onions start to sweat, about 5 minutes.
Then add the sliced bringal to the pan and fry it for about 5 to 9 minutes. By this time the bringal will be half cooked. Make sure your heat it on low to medium during this time. Once the bringal is half cooked add the chilli powder, malli podi and turmeric powder.
Stir for 2 minutes and add the chopped tomato and salt. After another 2 minutes add the puli vellam and cover and let it boil on low heat. Once it has started to boil and bubble remove the cover and cook it for another 5 minutes until there is very little water left and the gravy becomes thick.
Remove from heat and transfer to serving bowl.
Add the remaining oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, it should be very quick as the pan is already hot and there is very little oil, splutter the mustard seeds and add the venthiyam, urad dal and channa dal. Remove and pour over the gravy.

This dish can be had with roti and it goes very well with hot rice too. Have with potato chips or vattal.

Gingelly oil also know as ellu enna/ or til oil is Sesame seed oil. It has a very distinctive taste and add a lot of flavor on their own to dishes.

The goodness of Eggplant
The goodness of Sesame Seeds

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