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baigan achari (lake palace hotel's aubergine cooked in pickling style)

From Madhur Jaffrey's 'Indian Cookery', 1982. This goes well with rogan josh

1 inch cube of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
6 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 fl ozs (55ml) water
13/4 lbs aubergines
2 fl ozs water
about 12 fl oz (350ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon kalonji seeds (black onion seeds)
3/4 lb (350g) tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
One third teaspoon cayenne (more if you like)
about 1.25 teaspoons salt


put ginger and garlic in liquidizer with 2 fl oz water. Blend until fairly smooth.

cut aubergine into slices or wedges that are 2cm thick by about 4-5cms long.  

set a large sieve over a bowl.

heat 4 fl ozs (125ml) of oil in a deep, 10-12 inch (25-30cm) frying pan or saucepan over medium flame.  When hot, put in as may aubergine slices as the pan will hold in a single layer.  Let them turn a reddish-brown colour.  Turn them over and brown the other side.  Remove browned slices and put in sieve (to drain off oil).  Add another 125ml of oil to the pan, heat it, then brown second batch of aubergine slices.  You will probably need to do three batches, adding fresh oil to the pan each time.

now, turn off heat under pan, and leave aubergine to drain for about an hour.

put 3 tablespoons of oil in the frying pan and heat over medium flame.  When hot, put in fennel seeds and kalonji.  As soon as the fennel seeds turn a few shades darker (this takes a few seconds), add chopped tomato, ginger-and-garlic mixture, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and salt.  Stir and cook for 5-6 mins, breaking tomato pieces with back of spoon.  Turn heat up slightly, and continue to stir and cook until the spice mixture becomes thick and paste-like.

now, put in the fried aubergine slices and mix gently.  Cook on medium-low heat for another 5-10 mins if you think it is necessary.

use a slotted spoon to lift the aubergine out (leaving any residual oil behind).

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posted by sasha on 11 Feb 06 - 22488 views

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