Saturday, November 1, 2014

An Evolving Relationship

বেগুন ভাজি 

Fried Aubergine

Fried aubergines done in a mostly traditional manner.
Also - I wasn't responsible for the coriander.

A large chunk of my childhood food memories actually revolve around a past hatred for certain vegetables. If they were ever forced on me, I would try to gulp them down without chewing. On the odd occasion I ended up with their horrible taste in my mouth, I’d rush onto the meat course to purify my palate.  Of course, I say past hatred because my tastes have evolved - just as my parents always told me they would! I now dislike fewer vegetables, with my disgust limited to Brussel sprouts, fennel and certain preparations of cauliflower. 

Having said this, there are vegetables out there that I have always liked – spinach, broccoli and mushrooms stand out as long-time favourites. I feel that, as with all foods, the method of preparation makes a big difference. I’ve always had a soft spot for the East-Southeast Asian take on vegetables, whereas Bangladeshi vegetarian cuisine has always engendered mixed feelings. Everyday recipes like the mixed vegetable dish I've written about before I actually grew up detesting, though my opinion has changed now. For some reason (read: I was/am a difficult child) I’ve always liked dishes containing the more difficult to procure Bangladeshi vegetables like pui shag, lota, kochu or raw jackfruit. 

The above vegetables are even more difficult to get your hands on in Europe, and so they haven’t made their way to the blog yet. Aubergines on the other hand grow locally, meaning I've cooked this dish now and again while living in the UK. It's a very simple everyday dish, often served with khichuri. I've never seen any majors variations of it beyond a change in heat levels or the introduction of sour notes - the latter of which I've done below using yoghurt. 

  • 300.00 g of aubergine
  • 1.00 teaspoon of powdered turmeric
  • 3.00 teaspoons of plain yoghurt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

  • Slice the aubergine into rings approximately 1.00 cm thick
  • In a (preferably wide) bowl, mix the turmeric, yoghurt, black pepper and salt together with a couple of teaspoons of water to make a thick paste. 
  • Do not let the paste get too thin as it will not stick to the aubergines properly. The end result should like like the photo below.

Sliced aubergine seasoned with turmeric, yoghurt, salt & pepper

  • Heat oil to a depth of 1/2 cm in a frying pan, and fry the aubergines on each side for about 3 minutes. The intention is to turn them golden and slightly crunchy, with a melt-in-your-mouth middle.
  • Serve as a side as part of a bigger rice based based, especially khichuri. 

Aubergines served as part of a bigger
meal at ours earlier this week.

Additional Info
As ever, experiment with the spices. Our family traditionally skips the chilli powder when it comes to aubergines, which is why its absent from the recipe above - but add a little for a kick. Other options I would try personally would be a dash of cumin or smoked paprika. 

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