Sunday, November 13, 2011

Eggplant sauted in mint and vinegar

When I first started pottering with recipes and read about brinjals or aubergines referred to as eggplants, I was puzzled. In northern India where I grew up, brinjals though slightly rounded at one end, are hardly egg-sized. Or maybe they can be compared to roc eggs! They are large, shiny, and darkly purple or in winter glossy white. In southern India however, the local varieties, be they pale green or variations in purple are much smaller, even pea-sized. Brinjals, particularly, fried or sauted is everyday food. We used to get through stacks of bread slices or rotis with a few slices of deep fried, salted brinjals, as children. All they needed was a dusting with salt and turmeric before deep frying. Needless to say, sauted brinjals figure largely in my kitchen even now. I have featured pickled brinjal before. This recipe has distinct Mediterranean overtones. Its worth the extra effort since it can be stored rather well for a week or two. Great mixed with pasta, sandwiched between bread or rolled into rotis.

12 small brinjals, diced into 1/2 inch cubes and salted
1 and half Tablespoon red wine vineagr
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
10 mint leaves, minced
A few drops of honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Salt diced brinjals. Heat the oil in a kadai. Drain the diced brinjals of any liquid and fry them. Cover for a couple of minutes and cook for 3 more minutes uncovered. In the meantime, make the dressing with the vinegar, anchovy paste, honey and mint. Taste and add honey and salt if necessary. Anchovy paste itself is very salty, so go light on the salt. Drain the fried brinjals. Mix them with the dressing. Cool and store in glass jar.

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