Achari Brinjal Moju

Achari Brinjal Moju
Brinjal lovers will love this dish which has its roots in Sri Lanka, and is a staple in most Sri lankan homes and restaurants. This is basically a fried brinjal pickle, which is served at meals normally with rice, but I prefer having it with a chappati.(flatbread). This dish comes together in no time . The crunch of deepfried brinjal and shallots, subtle tangyness of vinegar and mustard and sweetness of sugar give this simple dish a balance which is amazing. There are many twists to this recipe, each one having its own charm. In my recipe today, I have added dijon mustard to enhance the tartness and sweet mango pickle instead of sugar. You can add honey or sugar instead. Tweak the recipe at your will.
This purple coloured vegetable called eggplant or aubergine is popular in many cuisines world wide. Be it the bhaigan ka bharta in north India, where the brinjals are flame roasted, mashed and cooked in an onion tomato gravy. Or the Greek Mousakka, where aubergine, minced meat sauce and potatoes come together to form a hearty casserole. As for me, my childhood memories of eating Brinjal are not very great😊the only way I really liked it was fried and sprinkled with dry spices. Mom would cut the brinjals into round pieces, give small cuts on the surface, and soak them in salted water for a while. Then squeeze the water out and deep fry till crisp. This was normally served with khichdi or pulav. It was much later that I developed a taste for brinjal cooked as a sabzi. And today its one of my favourite vegetable.😊 The aroma of brinjal being fried in the kitchen always draws me in to grab a few pcs of fried brinjal ..top on my list😊

Do try this simple and tasty recipe.

Ingredients
250 gms purple brinjal
2 tbsps flour
2 tbsps cornflour
10 shallots
2 green chillies and 2 red chillies ( cut slantingly)
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tbsps chopped garlic
1 tbsps finely chopped ginger
1/2 tbsp freshly powdered mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsps black pepper powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbsp homemade sweet mango chutney or achaar (pickle) or honey or powdered sugar. I have used my homemade sweet mango achaar.
2 tbsps fried onions
2 tbsps coconut oil
Some chopped corriander leaves.
Salt to taste

Method..
1..Cut brinjals into finger stick size.
Soak in salted water for an hour, squeeze dry, roll in a mixture of flour and cornflour. Deep fry till crisp. Keep aside.
Also deep fry the shallots and sliced chillies.

2… Mix mustard seed powder, dijon mustard, vinegar and sweet mango chutney together in a small bowl.

3…Heat 2 tbsps of coconut oil and saute curry leaves, ginger, garlic till fragrant. Shut the fire and add cinnamon, pepper and salt..mix well

4..Add the dijon mustard mix, fried brinjals, fried shallots and chillies.
Stir well and serve garnished with chopped corriander and fried onions.

** can be eaten at room temperature.
***best made at time of serving and consumed immediately.

Dhaba chicken

Many years ago, I happened to come across a concept to making a meat dish similar to the recipe I will be sharing with you all today. This particular dish is really very tasty, and best eaten with parathas or phulkas. For those of you who are eggetarians, can substitute paneer for chicken. Just imagine a delicious chicken curry, topped with beaten and seasoned eggs, then steamed for a short time.
Please try and use boneless chicken fillet or thigh .
The name which I have given to this dish, not a very original name for sure, but thats how I have written it in my cook book. And also because I always make it in a stainless steel container, which is also called a dhaba. Today’s reference picture also contains a small glass ramekin, in which I made it, just for you all to see how it looks.
Do try this recipe, and serve it with kechumbo( onion relish).

Dhaba chicken

500 gms boneless chicken cut into cubes.
150 gms finely chopped onions
2 tomatoes
4 pods garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
1 sprig curry leaves(12 leaves)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chillie powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp corriander powder
1 tsp chicken tikka masala or any box masala you have handy
Salt to taste
1 cup thick yogurt
Chopped corriander leaves.
2 eggs .
Grated cheddar cheese.

METHOD.
Take a bowl, add yogurt, red chillie powder, turmeric, corriander powder, garam masala, chicken tikka masala, chicken cubes. Mix well and keep aside.
Now heat 4 tbsps oil in a pot, and add finely chopped onions .
Saute till golden brown , remove and keep aside. When cool, blend together with 2 tomatoes and keep aside.
In a mixer jar, add curry leaves, cumin seeds, ginger and garlic. Add little water and grind to a fine paste.
Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pan and add the curry leaf paste, saute for 5 mins and add marinated chicken..cook till almost dry, then add the fried onion tomato paste. Cook till oil seperates. Add salt and corriander leaves. Check the gravy.
Consistency of gravy should be thick, but not dry.
Lastly smoke it.( optional) ( picture is included)
Now, put the chicken curry into a steel or heat resistant glass container. Beat eggs in a bowl , season with salt , and pour on top of the curry. Top with grated cheddar cheese, sprinkle red chillie powder and chopped corriander leaves.
Steam in a hot steamer for 10 or 15 mins. Serve hot with parathas or phulkas. And onion relish.

ONION RELISH/ KECHUMBO
Cut one big onion into slices, grate one carrot, and thinly sliced paprika. Mix with with 2 tsps salt. After sometime wash under running water, squeeze out all water, and add lime juice, salt and sugar to taste.

Dakshin paneer do pyaaza

Regional flavours of India are truely amazing. The same type of dish will taste differently in every state of India. The secret lies in the spices of course. Each state and sometimes even cities have some favourite spice which is dominant in most dishes. Todays recipe is the do pyaaza. Almost every indian is familiar with this dish where onion is used in 2 forms, a ground paste of onions as well as sliced onions. In todays recipe, I have used whole shallots ( also called sambhar onions) as well as sliced onions. The Dakshin or southern twist is in the simple masala made dominantly with udad dal also known as black lentils. Udad dal rules southern India where its use in almost all idli and dosa preparation is extensive. Using Paneer in this dish gives it a north Indian twist.

Growing up in Pune, my knowledge of south Indian food was limited to dosa, idli and medu wada. Going to Priya restaurant for these treats was often, and something to look forward to. The fragrance of food as you entered this small and cozy restaurant on main street was mouth watering . Of course, the waiters would always direct us to go upstairs where it was for families and ladies only.

My interest in cooking led me to try out different dishes from all over India, leaving a medly of recipes in my cookbook. Spices in the south use udad dal which is roasted slowly and powdered with red chillies and asafoetida, peppercorns etc. Aside from the mainstays,South India also has a huge variety of delicious vegetatarian and non vegetarian food.

Todays recipe is based on chettinad style of cooking. Please do try this simple dish and serve with chappaties or adai rotis made with rice flour.

Ingredients

200 gms paneer cut into cubes

15 shallots

1 sliced onion

2 sprigs of curry leaves

1 tbsp tamarind paste

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 th tsp hing/ asafoetida

2 or 3 dry red chillies

15 black peppercorns

1 tbsp split udad dal

Corriander leaves to garnish

Method

1. Dry roast together, udad dal, black peppercorns and dry red chillies. When the dal turns a light golden brown, shut the flame and keep aside to cool. Grind into a fine powder and keep aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil, add mustard seeds , hing and curry leaves.

3. Now add whole shallots and stir fry on a low flame till the out skin of the shallots starts turning soft and light golden…about 4 to 5 mins.

4. Add the paneer and stir fry further for 5 mins and add sliced onions. Also add the tamarind paste.

5. Add salt to taste and powdered spice mixture. Mix well.

6. Cook further for few mins and add chopped corriander leaves.

Serve hot.