If I told you that I whip up amazingly gourmet meals at the drop of a hat for my everyday dinners, that I’d have to be lying. Truth be told, I seldom ever cook something that would have me whisking away for hours on end. Except of course, when I have company coming! Now that’s a whole different story altogether. Even then, I’m not spending all those hours on one single dish, but instead, I’m actually going nuts fussing over a minimum of five main courses. Yes, I get like that while entertaining. But the diligent licking of everyone’s fingertips and perplexed weight-watching souls worrying over whether to go in for seconds (thirds, actually) more than makes up for all the effort.
When it comes to feeding family, I like to go more easy on myself. It’s not that I don’t enjoy feeding loved ones with rich palate pleasing favourites, but I’d rather spend my time with them enjoying simple, yet equally delightful food made in minutes. A recent email from one of my readers posed a question I have been subjected to many a times. This compelled me to come all out talk about my regular at-home meals. She writes,
All your recipes appear as if they leaped out of glossy magazines. While many them are quite easy to follow, it’s hard to imagine myself cooking lavish meals every night. Do you really cook all these wonderful looking food on a daily basis?
Well, dear reader, all I can say is yes. Well almost. You see, most of my recipes, no matter how elegantly sounding, are actually very simple and wholesome; and ones that I turn to on a weekly basis. While it may seem daunting to someone not so in tune with Indian cuisine, it’s not at all that hard. Most dishes can be made in a matter of minutes, whereas others, that seem to call for buckets full of spices, may just take a tad bit more time. But yes, sometimes even an adventurous cook like myself, wants to take a break and reach out to the nearest pack of instant noodles. And it’s often in times like these that I faithfully turn to my repertoire of quick fixes. And these, I assure you dear reader, can be whipped up real quick. Literally in minutes!
BAINGAN BHARTA (ROASTED SPICED EGGPLANT)
PREP TIME: 25 MIN | COOKING TIME: 15 MIN | SERVES: 4
1 large eggplant
2 tbsp light cooking oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2-3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
salt, to taste
1 tsp garam masala powder
a handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnish
Make tiny slits all over the eggplant and roast it in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 mins till the skin starts to char. Peel the eggplant, mash it to a pulp and set aside.
Heat oil in a large pan and add in cumin seeds. As soon as they begin to sizzle, add in chopped ginger and onions, and fry for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat till onions turn pink and tender.
Add in spices and chopped tomatoes, and fry for a few minutes till tomatoes start to pulp and give out oil along the sides. Season with salt, and mix in the mashed eggplant. Stir to mix well and cook covered on low heat for 3-4 minutes.
Sprinkle garam masala on top and garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves. Serve piping hot with a side of rotis.