As a kid, I remember being really fascinated with how my Dad could take a big, sturdy purple eggplant and turn it into a silky, sweet yet savory and nutty vegetable. Sometimes this transformation involved roasting the eggplant in the oven and peeling off the purple skin. This revealed the eggplant’s slowly roasted, silky tendons.

I have to confess that to this day, when I go to the grocery store, if I see a good looking eggplant, I cannot resist putting it into my cart. And forget about it if it is Chinese Eggplant. Then I’m hauling way more of those home than we can eat (because they shrink when you cook them…so I need a lot).

I came home with two big sturdy Italian eggplants – one for a soup (cubed and crisped up and dunked into tomato soup) and one that I was going to roast for something Indian.

And then I read this Hungry Desi post from March 2010 about Eggplant Barbeque. Eggplant Barbeque was a frequent eggplant dish in our house and favorite of my Dad’s. When he told me the recipe by phone back in 2010, he also mentioned that it had been his dad’s favorite dish.

I never knew it was one of his father’s favorite foods until now.  Certain foods remind me of a place, a trip, a special occasion…but I’ve never had a food associated with such a significant memory – that of a loved one who is no longer with me.  It makes me wonder what my dad thought of each time he made Eggplant Barbeque for us.  Was he thinking about his father?  If so, he never let on.

I remembered a roasted eggplant yogurt that my Dad also used to make often. It’s simple – creamy, sweet, savory with little nuggets of crispy urad daal and mustard seeds. This was one of those eggplant dishes that my Dad made which mystified me. I mean how does a big, solid purple eggplant turn into this silky, smooth yogurt dip?

And so, of course, I used my haul of eggplant that day to make my Dad’s Roasted Eggplant Yogurt. I don’t remember him teaching me how to make it, but fortunately my Mom gave me a quick recipe.

This Roasted Eggplant Yogurt is mild, sweet and savory. It is served cool and pairs well with any other Indian curries or just mixed with rice and a side of Indian pickle.

I’d also serve it in a heartbeat with toasted crostini or pita as an appetizer. 

Roasted Eggplant Yogurt Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 Italian Eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad daal
  • 1 teaspoon channa daal (optional)
  • 3-4 curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 green chilis
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • Chili Pepper and Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Rub oil on the eggplant. Prick it with a fork or knife in a few places. Wrap it aluminum foil and put it in the oven for about 30-45 minutes until eggplant is soft and looks deflated. Allow to cool.
  3. Once eggplant is cool enough to handle, remove the insides and peel off the skin. Discard the skin.
  4. Using a fork or your hands, mash the eggplant until very smooth.
  5. In a wide skillet, heat cooking oil on medium low heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook 1-2 minutes until they begin popping.
  6. Add the urad daal and channa daal and curry leaves if using. Cook until the daals are slightly golden being careful not to burn.
  7. Add the green chilis and eggplant and mix well.
  8. Cook another 4-5 minutes.
  9. Add salt to taste (about 1-2 teaspoons).
  10. Once the eggplant mixture has cooled down, mix it in with the yogurt. Add more yogurt if consistency is too thick (although it should be thick and equal parts eggplant and yogurt).
  11. Sprinkle with red chili pepper and cilantro for garnish (optional).

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Cooking In Tonight

March 28, 2019

Bubble tea, bagels, enchiladas…I think one day a year, Uber will bring me a puppy if I want. Where we live, I can get pretty much anything delivered to my house.

I like ordering in (who doesn’t love to slurp up lo mein from a paper carton?), and I love eating at restaurants (bring me food and do the dishes for me? yes please.) but it doesn’t compare to cooking in and eating in my own kitchen.

We live in a busy world packed with noise. Slowing down, cooking a meal with your own two hands and enjoying it in the comfort of your own home is about self care. It’s creative, fun and the best gift I can give to the people I love.

So if you’re like us and love cooking in, here’s five recipes for you to try out for the coming week and a few of my favorite food sites to follow on Instagram.

Yes, Instagram. It’s become my main recipe discovery tool. My feed nowadays is 50% food. The other 50% is friends, dogs and a bunch of sports figures that my daughter added.

A few of my favorite Instagram food follows:

Any others that I should be following?

For cooking in this week, here are five recipes to try:

  • Baked Crispy Peanut Tofu from Minimalist Baker – I followed this recipe as is except that I sauteed one large eggplant which I combined with the tofu. I also added about a half cup of water to the peanut sauce. We paired this with quiona for a flavorful, filling and quick meal.
  • Roasted Broccoli from NY Times Cooking – This is a no recipe recipe from Sam Sifton at the NY Times. It’s become a go to side dish for weeknight dinners. So far, my favorites are EVOO+Salt+Pepper+Soy Sauce and EVOO+Salt+Pepper+Balsamic Vinegar.

  • Spinach and Paneer Curry from Piping Pot Curry – This is like creamed spinach’s Indian best friend. A foolproof recipe that you can throw into the Instant Pot. It’s a great reason to buy a hand blender if you are looking for an excuse.

 

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I’m not sure if there’s a rule against re-posting old recipes. But I decided that in service of sharing delicious things to eat with you, I should repost my recipe for Skillet Potatoes in Mojo De Ajo (Garlic Oil) from 2009.

Mojo De Ajo means Garlic Oil but it also translates into Garlicky Tangy Oil That You Will Want to Lick From Your Fingers.

In case it’s still unclear, the magic of this recipe is in the Mojo De Ajo. Essentially, you cook a few cloves of minced garlic just until soft – not browned – in a 1/4 cup of olive oil. Then stir in lime juice and salt.

Then, you drizzle it on everything. Potatoes are a great start but broccoli works just as well. I could see putting it on tofu or even serving up some extra (This is crazy. There’s not going to be any extra. That is the whole point.) with a loaf of crusty bread to dip into it.

Find a vehicle for it. I have faith in you.

Skip straight to the recipe

Skillet Potatoes with Mojo De Ajo

Ingredients

  • For the Potatoes:
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4-5 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • For the Mojo De Ajo:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

Instructions

  1. Make the mojo de ajo: In a small saucepan, heat the oil and the garlic for about 8-10 minutes on low heat until the garlic is soft. It should not get browned. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir in the lime juice, red chili pepper flakes and salt.
  2. In a deep skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook until the onions and bell peppers soften, stirring frequently to keep from browning.
  3. Add the potatoes and mix in with the onions and bell peppers. Cook covered on medium heat for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are softened. Test with a fork.
  4. Drizzle the mojo de ajo over the potatoes and stir well to coat all of the vegetables. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Add more mojo de ajo as needed. Serve hot.

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Harissa Corn Chowder

A light corn chowder is just what the unseasonably warm weather that we had this week called for making. Although, it’s the kind of soup that’s really perfect for any weather. Juicy plump bites of corn amongst creamy soft potato bites with sweet carrots chunks surrounded by a rich, naturally creamy and sweet soup backed […]

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Easy Easy Stir Fried Veggie Loaded Noodles

When you combine stir fry and noodles, it’s really hard to disappoint anyone. Like really everyone in the house will want to be your friend. Try it. Let me know how it goes. Plus this stir fried veggie loaded noodles is quick and easy to make, packed with tons of veggies and proteins and belly warming. […]

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Cabbage with Crunchy Spices

I can’t say it is Roald Dahl’s fault, but I think we could agree that he played a hand in it. Cabbage soup for lunch. Cabbage soup for supper. Watery cabbage soup that left you with a horrible empty feeling in your stomach. Remember that from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I adore Roald Dahl […]

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Paneer in Creamy Cashew Tomato Sauce

Indian restaurant paneer makhani is next level comfort food…creamy tomato sauce, mild spice in the background and pillowy cubes of chewy paneer. It’s not surprising that paneer makhani has become Surya’s go to Indian food. Of course, this means that any paneer makhani that I make at home has very strong competition to measure up […]

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Vegetarian Red Curry with Wheat Gluten

Thai food is a food I hate to love. Mostly because vegetarian Thai curries are incredibly challenging to find. Stop reading here if you are vegetarian and a lover of Thai food. I’ve ruined Thai curries for plenty of vegetarians and am not looking to add more people to the list. But if you are like […]

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