Sunday, August 5, 2012

Baingan Bhurta with Paneer

I had made Baingan Bhurta yesterday and was surprised to check out that I haven't blogged about this dish yet. I sometimes steam the eggplant in the pressure cooker instead of the traditional method of roasting it. This saves time for sure. However, for that smoky and ethnic flavor, do roast the eggplant on the gas flames or coals.

Baingan da Bhurta
Eggplant Dip - Punjabi Style
1 big eggplant, bhurta variety

2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped about 1 cup
salt to taste
1 tsp mild chili powder or paprika
1/2 tbsp coriander-cumin powder - preferably homemade

Grind to paste
1/4 cup cilantro
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 tbsp chopped ginger

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jira
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 green chilies, slit
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

For variation
1 cup paneer pieces (optional)

Suggested Accompaniment
Onion Kulcha

1. Grease an eggplant and roast it over a flame. Roast till it's completely charred. Place in a container. Cover with a lid. When it has cooled down, remove the charred peels. Alternately, you can also pressure cook the eggplant by making 4 big pieces, adding some water. Peel it and mash to pulp before using.
2. Heat oil in a kadhai/saucepan. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder, green chilies and red onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes till onion is soft.
3. Add green paste and saute again for 10 minutes. Add coriander cumin seed powder, paprika and roughly chopped tomatoes. Saute for at least 20 minutes, sprinkling water from time to time so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
4. Now add mashed eggplant & salt to taste. Stir so it all gets mixed up.
5. If using, stir in paneer pieces. This step is optional.
6. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes.
7. Switch off the gas. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with onion kulcha.

Note -
1. Steaming the eggplant method is a simpler and time consuming method however, it won't have that authentic,  smokey flavor. However, it tastes good.
2. If you want it spicier, you can grind the green chilies along with ginger-garlic or minced the green chilies before adding to the tempering. I just slit them so they don't add too much heat.
3. Adding paneer cubes was just my twist to the original recipe. This is completely optional. The original dish is vegan.
4. While grinding the masala for green paste, make sure that there is just a little hint of garlic and there is more gingery flavor.

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