Baingan with Malvani Masala


Here to close out September in cooking is my third eggplant recipe of the month. (The first was for Baingan-Zeera Masala and the second for Baingan “Bharta”.) Today I have for you a recipe for a simple preparation with Bedekar’s Malvani Masala. If you follow my recipe posts this may strike a chord in your memory. Back in July—when the eggplant from my garden had just begun to come in—I’d posted another recipe that used Bedekar’s Malvani Masala. Malvani cuisine is one of the cuisines of the southwestern coast of India. It’s not very well represented in the US (or the UK, I’d imagine). Indeed, it’s not even until relatively recently that packets of Malvani masala began to appear in desi groceries in the Twin Cities metro and they’re still not consistently or widely available here. Bedekar’s is the brand I’ve seen and bought but any brand of Malvani masala should be close. And if you can’t find it in a desi store near you, you can find it online. I can tell you it’s become one my go-to all-purpose masalas for quick cooking. I’ve added it to various eggplant dishes, to chicken curries and also to beef curries. It’s an easy route to big flavour.

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5 lb eggplant, chopped into not very small chunks
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1 tspn zeera/cumin seed
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thickly sliced
  • 1 tspn freshly crushed garlic
  • 1 tspn freshly crushed ginger
  • 3/4 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
  • 1 tblspn Bedekar’s Malvani Masala
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 tblspn balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tspn jaggery/dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup water, right off the boil
  • 1 tspn chopped dhania/cilantro
  • 2 tblspns neutral oil of choice
  • Salt

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan till it shimmers.
  2. Break the dried red chillies into the oil and add the zeera as well.
  3. Once the cumin splits and the red chilli turns glossy add the chopped onion, mix in and saute, stirring often, till the onion has softened and begun to brown.
  4. Add the crushed garlic and ginger, mix in and saute till the raw aroma is gone.
  5. Add the haldi, Malvani masala and salt, mix in and saute for another minute or two.
  6. Add the chopped eggplant, mix in thoroughly and saute, stirring often, till the eggplant begins to soften.
  7. Add the chopped tomato, mix in thoroughly and saute till the tomato has completely broken down and the oil begins to separate.
  8. Add the vinegar and jaggery and mix in.
  9. Add the water, stir, bring to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook, checking occasionally, till the eggplant is at your preferred texture.
  10. Uncover the pan, check and adjust salt, garnish with dhania and serve with dal and rice or chapatis.

Notes

  1. You can make this spicier by adding more dried red chillies at the beginning or some red chilli powder with the Malvani masala or a chiopped Thai chilli or two with the tomato.
  2. You can also make this into more of a curry by doubling the amount of water.
  3. This recipe—you may notice—is not a million miles away from the one I posted in July. That one was far richer, courtesy the addition of coconut milk, and also a bit hotter.
  4. We had our first killing frost on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning but if you’re hoping for deliverance from eggplant recipes I have bad news for you: I covered my eggplant plants before the frost and they survived. There’s a very good chance there’ll be another eggplant recipe in the poll for October.
  5. And, yes there’s a Reel of this one being made.

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