This is a ‘must have’ while serving biryani of any form, be it chicken, lamb, shrimp or vegetable. Biryani no doubt, is satisfying by itself. But when accompanied with Baingan Masaledar you enter a whole new world that you never want to leave.
While growing up in Bangalore during Ramzaan and Eid, many of my Dad’s Muslim friends, sent home huge boxes of festival delicacies. Among all the treats that arrived the Lamb Biryani and the Baingan Masala were my favorite. Till date I’ve never tasted anything as delicious as that. The greedy me looked forward to these feasts more eagerly than a fasting devout Muslim waited for the crescent moon at the end of Ramadan. I’ve tried very hard at deriving these recipes from my memories of those days. I’ve come close but not close enough with the Lamb Biryani recipe. The Baingan Masaledar however, if my memory serves me right, is on the dot. Try it and let me know .
2 lbs eggplant (small round/oval ones, try getting the seedless kind they are perfect for this dish)
1/2 tsp cinnamon clove spice mix
1/2 cup peanuts
2 tsp sesame seeds
4 big tomatoes or 5 – 6 small ones – dice them into small pieces (you could use one can -15 OZ- of tomato sauce instead as well)
1 large onion, chopped finely julienne style
1/2 tsp chili powder( base it on tolerable spice level)
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp finely diced garlic
1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder( or 1 tsp whole cumin)
1/4 tsp turmeric
3- 4 whole pepper corns
refined vegetable oil
salt to taste
Cut off only the green stalk of the eggplants letting the green ring on the top remain (this will help hold the individual eggplant together even after it is cooked), make four slits at the bottom keeping the eggplant still intact as a whole.
Heat about 2 to 3 tsp of refined oil in a wide flat bottomed pan
Place the eggplants in the pan so that every eggplant touches the floor of the pan. Set the flame high for about 3 –4 mins or until one side of the eggplant is caramelized, then turn them over to the other side repeat the procedure. If there isn’t enough space in the pan, do them in batches.
Sprinkle a little salt on top of the eggplant after the two sides are caramelized, close the pan and cook in low flame for 4 -5 mins or until the eggplants are almost (not completely) cooked.
Dry roast the peanuts and sesame seeds (each separately)
Grind them into a smooth powder together after roasting
Heat a table spoon refined oil, add cumin and whole pepper corns and sauté for a minute.
Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
Crush ginger and garlic, add to the pan and sauté for another few minutes till the oil comes clear.
Add in the tomatoes, the ground mixture, cinnamon clove spice mix, turmeric & chili powder and continue sautéing till the tomatoes form a mush and the oil separates.
Add in the almost cooked eggplants and cook for few more minutes till the eggplants are fully cooked, add in hot water if the consistency of the gravy is too thick.
Add salt to taste.
Serve with Indian breads or of course biryani