Masala Baingan (Spiced Brinjal/ Aubergine/ Eggplant)
We generally wake up late on the weekends. Breakfast, hence, is quite a late affair. While I do try to make something special for the family for breakfast, the late morning hour and grumbling tummies don’t allow much experimentation.
We were out for a late night movie the other day and just could not shake off our slumber the next morning till quite late. By the time I woke up, my father –in-law had already made a stack of hot chapattis. I should have died of shame! He was confused as to what vegetable to prepare and had left that task to me.
I quickly took stock of the vegetables in the refrigerator and found a packet of small brinjals/ aubergines/ eggplants. I didn’t want our weekend breakfast to be very plain and at the same time not too rich, either. So, this is what I came up with – my version of Masala Baingan or Spiced Brinjal.
Let me take you around to the recipe.
Masala Baingan (Spiced Brinjal)
8 small brinjals, keep the stalk at the head and cut lengthwise across the centre twice to make 4 parts (take care not to let the parts get detached)
2 onions, finely chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger-garlic paste
2 green chilles, slit lengthwise
½ teaspoon each of turmeric powder, coriander powder and cumin powder
½ teaspoon each of mustard seeds and cumin seeds
1 teaspoon desiccated coconut, mixed with 2 tablespoons of warm water
Refined oil for cooking
Salt and sugar to taste
Rub the insides of the brinjals with a little salt and turmeric powder. Then, fry the brinjals in a deep bottomed wok or kadai till they are almost cooked. Take care not to overcook them or they will become mushy. Take them off the kadai and place on paper napkins to drain off the excess oil.
In the same kadai, heat some more oil if required and put in the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. After they crackle, infusing the air with their wonderful smoky aroma, add the chopped onions and sauté them till they turn translucent. Now, add the ginger garlic paste along with the green chillies and stir. When the ginger garlic paste loses its rawness, tip in the chopped tomato. Also, add the spice powders (turmeric, coriander and cumin) and cook for some time.
When the tomato disintegrates fully and merges with the masala, add the desiccated coconut. Pour in half a cup of water and check for salt and sugar. Let the gravy/sauce come to a bubble and then gently slide in the brinjals. Cover the lid and allow the brinjal to soak up the masala. Remove the lid after around 2-3 minutes. Turn off the gas and serve the masala baingan hot with rotis.
We had quite a nice weekend breakfast that day, discussing the day’s plan over this dish which had a beautiful coconutty flavor, offset with the tanginess of the tomato. The brinjal’s soft texture was well suffused with this balanced sweet-sour gravy. Maybe you can make this for your breakfast table, too. Do give this a try and take care!