I can’t deny the fact that my cooking has many a time reflected my moods. Like the time I baked four large pizzas because I was feeling artistic and wanted to create a masterpiece, literally! Or when I bake a lusciously rich chocolate cake to give myself a pat on the back. Or even the time when I cooked an extravagant 5-course meal to thank Hubby Dear for a wonderful Valentine gift. And especially today, when I cooked this Aloo Baingan for dinner after a long chat on the phone with a very close friend who I actually learnt it from years ago.
When I look back, I always seem to remember food as something that brought our family together. Whenever we were happy or had any big news to share, food would most definitely become the center of our attention. I remember most of our birthday celebrations not by the gifts we received, but by the feast my Mom made for us. Trips home from college during the summer were often preceded by many telephone calls of planning out the menu for the day I arrived.
Most of our weekends were spent entertaining friends and family. I fondly remember my Mom working her way through a lavish meal irrespective of how many guests we were expecting. She would always say that it’s better to have food leftover than let your guests leave feeling unfull. It should be noted that unless you eat till you’re ready to drop, my Mom thinks you haven’t yet had enough. And so, it is from her that I have inherited this need to cook for my loved ones, and feed them till I know they can’t be fed anymore.
Take for instance this lovely Aloo Baingan recipe. I remembered eating something like it a few years ago at a friend’s home. A bunch of us were getting together for a game night and she made an elaborate meal to kick off the evening. As an ardent fan of eggplant, this dish was a highlight for me that evening. I called her up the very next day and she was happy to share her recipe of the Aloo Baingan that was served.
I’ve made this recipe a million times over the years, each time tweaking it a bit to suit our tastes, and it has now morphed into one of our family favourites. Little Dude often throws a fit when I make Baingan Bharta – claiming he HATES eggplant – but even he enjoys a serving of this Aloo Baingan served alongside some freshly made rotis. Its a fairly simple recipe, and one that doesn’t require too much prep work in advance. I like to serve this with some Dal and a Pulao for a quick and simple dinner. Add in a chopped salad or some Raita, and you have a complete balanced and nutritious meal ready.
Aloo Baingan (Indian-style Potato & Eggplant Stir-fry)
- 2 tbsp light cooking oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp finely minced ginger
- 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
- 1 medium-sized onion finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp amchoor powder
- 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 medium-sized potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 long eggplants cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes cut into wedges
- water as needed
- finely chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Heat oil in a deep non-stick pan and in cumin seeds. Once it starts to sizzle, add in ginger, garlic and onions. Fry till the onions become tender and start to lightly brown along the edges.
- Stir in spices, salt and tomato paste to mix well.
- Add in potatoes and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes till they begin to soften. If the potatoes and spices start to stick to the pan, then add in a splash of water to prevent it from burning.
- Once the potatoes are partially cooked, add in the eggplant and tomatoes, and give it all a good mix to coat well with the spices. Cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes till the potatoes and eggplant are completely cooked through.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve warm.
This post was originally published in June 2008 and has been recently updated.
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