Pushpesh Pant’s Eggplant in Mild Yoghurt Sauce (Dahi ke Baigan)
This is just such a moorish dish.
The eggplant rounds, seasoned with spices and pan-fried.
The yoghurt, tempered with the oil, mustard seeds, dried red chillies and the fresh curry leaves.
Another cracking addition to any thali. A dish on its own. A side you really should try as part of a long Indian banquet.
Oh, the dish perfectly doubles in size. I was worried it wouldn’t, though it very easily does.
250gm (1 small) eggplant, trimmed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of chilli powder
Pinch of ground turmeric
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for frying
1 1/2 tsp ginger paste*
1 tsp garlic paste*
2 – 3 green chillies, de-seeded and chopped
200ml (1 cup) natural yoghurt
For the tempering
Pinch of asafoetida**
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 – 2 dried red chillies
Sprig of curry leaves
- Cut the eggplant into round slices. Put the ground spices in a small bowl, season with salt and add 1 tbsp of water. Mix together.
- Coat. Non-stick pan with a thin film of oil over a medium heat. Add the ginger paste, garlic paste, garlic paste and green chillies and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add the eggplant and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring once with a wooden spatula, then remove from the pan an set aside. Put the yoghurt in another pan and mix with a little water, then bring almost to the boil, stirring constantly to ensure it does not curdle.
- Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based frying pan (skillet) over medium heat, add the asafoetida and mustard seeds and stir-fry for 1-minute, or until the seeds start to splutter. Add the dried red chillies, if using, and stir fry for about 2 minutes, or until they turn a shade darker, then add the curry leaves. Pour the tempering over the yoghurt mixture, add the eggplant and simmer for a further 2 minutes, or until the yoghurt and the eggplant is hot.
* Essentially, lots of ginger and lots of garlic blended with water. We have jars of ginger, garlic and ginger/garlic paste from our local Indian grocer in the fridge for this, a pretty simple and convenient approach that doesn’t unduly undermine the flavour.
** We did a cooking class with the wonderful Ajoy Joshi of Nilgiris in Sydney and this spice doesn’t add flavour. It is for flatulence (!) and we have always skipped it.