Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Granny's Achari Baigan:

Granny's Achari Baigan
Eating brinjal savory (Baigan ki sabji) at my daughter’s place was like jogging down the memory lane. It has been years that my grandma left us and though I remembered her cooking yet do not know how such a wonderful dish had not come to my mind earlier. In Kumaon many people at that time not used to eat (as well as store in house) onions and garlic thus my grandmother used to make brinjal my mom’s favorite vegetable with lots of tomato and spices. I had completely forgotten about it till my daughter made it for me. What a delightful experience it was to be reminded of my grandma’s cooking by my daughter. Today I share this recipe with nostalgia of childhood visits to my granny’s place and have nasmed it as Granny's Achari Baigan in her memory. Absolutely easy, least oily full of flavors and taste this recipe is a must try for all brinjal lovers. Even those who do not like brinjal much will fall in love with this brinjal preparation.

Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Servings:  6 Large servings

Ingredients Required For Making Granny's Achari-Baigan:
  • 1 kg Big Dark Violet Color Brinjal  
  • 1 kg Red Ripe Tomatoes
Ripe Tomatoes
    • 3 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
    • 3 Teaspoons Kalonji (Black Caraway seeds)
    • 1/2Teaspoon Asafoetida powder (I use LG Asefoetida powder)
    • 10 ml Mustard oil (any cooking oil)
    • 3-4 Teaspoon Red chili powder (or to taste)
    • 2 teaspoon sugar (Optional)
    • Salt to taste
    Direction For Making Grand-Ma’s Achari-Baigan:
    • Mix Turmeric, salt, 2 teaspoon Red chili powder to make spices mixture for brinjals. Keep aside for later use.
    • Wash the brinjals, tomatoes and dry with a cloth.
    • Cut one brinjal horizontally to get 2-2.5 mm round pieces.
    Brinjal Pieces
    • Immediately sprinkle the brinjal pieces with the spices mixture. Make sure all pieces are coated on both sides with spices mixture.
    • Heat non-stick tawa and sprinkle 1 oil on it. Spread oil on tawa and place the brinjal pieces on hot tawa and lower the flame.
    Brinjal Pieces Cooking with spices mixture
    • Repeat the same with all brinjals.
    • Cook for 8-10 min on low flame without covering it.
    One side cooked 
    • Flip the brinjal pieces and cook on the other side also for 4-5 min. This will make the brinjal pieces soft. Do not cook on high flame and do not overcook brinjal.
    I love the stalk also yummy to chew and suck the juices
      • While the brinjals are cooking make paste of tomato in a grinder- mixer.
      • Take 2 ml oil in a wok and heat it till smoking hot.
      • Lower the flame and add Black caraway seeds (Kalonji), Fennel seeds (Saunf) and let them split to get maximum flavor. Make sure they do not burn.
      • Add asafoetida mix and add tomato paste.
      Ready for tomato paste
      Tomato paste cooking with tempering 
      • Cook on low flame with regular stirring till tomato paste becomes thick and starts leaving the edges of wok. It took me 15 min.
      Tomato paste and Brinjal pieces cooking side by side
      Tomato paste ready fort cooked Brinjal pieces to be added
      • Add the cooked brinjal pieces to the cooked tomato paste and mix lightly so that the brinjal pieces get coated with tomato paste but not get mashed up.
      Brinjal pieces added to tomato paste and mixed
      • Add salt and chili powder according to your taste.
      • Cover and cook for 2-3 min. stirring with light hands once or twice max.
      • Add sugar and mix. Cook for 1 min with lid on the wok.
      • Grand-ma’s Achari baigan is ready.
      Ready to be served
      • Remove from the wok in a serving bowl and garnish with fresh coriander leafs.
        Granny's Achari Baigan
        Granny's Achari Baigan
      • Serve hot with any type of Indian bread/Dal-Chawal.
      • Make sure brinjals do not have seeds.
      • All utensils used by me are non-stick thus less amount of oil usage. If other non-stick vessels are not used then oil for brinjal pieces cooking will have to be increased so that they do not stick to pan and break.
      • Cut the brinjals and add spice to only that many pieces which can be accommodated on your cooking pan/tawa rest can be kept covered in fridge till one lot is cooked.
      • Do not add spices mixture to all pieces until unless you can cook them immediately, else juices will start coming out of brinjal and they will become soggy (Undesired change).
      • Make sure brinjal pieces are not cut too thin or too thick. Thin pieces will burn off and break while mixing with tomato paste and too thick will become lumpy.
      • The wok taken for mixing the cooked tomato paste and brinjal pieces should be large enough to allow them to spread nicely not get crowded, else mixing will take properly also brinjal pieces will get crushed while mixing.
      • This dish tastes best with mustard oil.
      • Always take chili powder quantity according to the hotness of it. All variety of chilies, chili powders have different degree of hotness.
      • Sugar adds that extra element to tangy, spicy, sour taste of Achari baigan. This is the only change I made to original recipe.
      Alternative Suggestions:
      • I do not throw away the stalk with green on it, but cook a;longwith. It is yummy to chew and suck juices out of it.
      • Tomatoes amount can be increased to 1:1.5 ratio by weight. 
      • You can cook baigan and tomato paste as directed in recipe and store them separately in fridge. Mix the required quantity of both cook and enjoy as and when needed.
      • If tomatoes are too sour in taste then sugar adding is must.


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