Every cuisine in India has its own version of making this Stuffed Eggplant delicacy. In fact even with in the same cuisine there are so many variations that it is hard to categorize this as belonging to a specific region. It majorly depends on the ingredients that go into the masala for stuffing.
Making this is not an easy process either; it is time consuming, involves lots of steps and requires a person to have good amount of patience to put this together. Ample experience is also required to judge when to turn the eggplant around, adjust the heat variations for cooking, sprinkle water etc.Nevertheless the effort and patience pays off when the dish hits the table and everybody sits admiring at the ‘beauty’ and keep gorging on it.
Please note think that I am not trying to intimidate anybody about this.This is based on my own personal experience and I discovered it the hard way. I learnt this recipe from my MIL who is an expert in making this. In fact this is one of her trademark recipes. I got carried away the first time she made this and could not wait to try it out myself. I watched her do with great intent, jotted down the recipe and what I thought were the key steps. But when I actually prepared it, there was only one word to describe the dish. DISASTER. The masala was burnt and the eggplants were not cooked etc.
This was years ago and I have come a long way since. I have now learnt to make a decent stuffed eggplant though not in the same league as my MIL or other experts.
10 -15 small brinjals/eggplant
1 medium onion
¾ cup shredded coconut
Juice of lemon sized tamarind
Little jaggery for taste
Ingredients to dry roast
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp urad daal
1 tsp chana daal
½ tsp methi seeds
½ tsp sesame seeds
3-4 red chillies
Wash all the brinjals thoroughly and keep aside.
Dice the onion into small pieces.
Dry roast all the ingredients one by one and keep them aside to cool.
Grind the coconut along with red chillies, salt, tamarind juice and water.
Half way through add the roasted ingredients and grind it to a smooth paste. Add water as required. The paste should be a bit thick and not runny.
Take the eggplant one by one and make a cross cut from the top of the eggplant Make sure to retain it in one piece.
Take a spoonful of paste and put this slowly into the opening of the eggplant where a slit was made.Make sure not to tear the slit more. Repeat this for all the remaining eggplants.
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan; add the diced onions and sauté until transparent.
Remove the onions and keep aside. Reduce the heat to medium, add some more oil and start placing the eggplants one by one in the pan.
Cover a lid and let them cook for a while. After a while check if the eggplants are browning on the bottom. If so then change the direction, so that the brown part is at the top. Add more oil if required and cover the lid.
Check to see if the other side is done as well. Then add the cooked onions and the remaining masala paste and continue to cook.
Once the masala is cooked, steam in little bit oil. Mix and garnish with coriander leaves.
This can be served as a wonderful accompaniment with Rice, Rotis, Naans etc.
The idli or”idly” or “iddly” is a savory cake popular in South India. The cakes are usually two to three inches in diameter and are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice. Most often eaten at breakfast or as a snack, idlis are usually served in pairs with chutney, sambar, or other accompaniments. In addition, idlis are considered one of the top ten healthiest foods in the world. (Source:Wiki)
Idli along with Coconut Mustard chutney makes a flavorful combination and can be served as breakfast/brunch. I learnt making this mustard chutney from my MIL. In this chutney, roasted mustard seeds are added to the coconut chutney while grinding. Mustard not only adds pungent taste to the usual coconut chutney; but also enhances the flavor and goes well with the bland idli. Ever since I learnt to make this, I have been hooked onto to this and make it even to go along with dosas.
Note: You can skip the mustard and make this as a regular coconut chutney. Even that tastes very good with the Idlis.
3/4 cups of shredded coconut
2 tsp mustard
3-4 green chillies
Tamarind extract of lemon sized ball
Jeera, mustard, redchillies, oil
Heat a small heavy bottom pan, add little oil and put 2 tsps of mustard
The mustard will splutter, but continue to mix it a bit with a spoon and then add the green chillies.
Once the green chillies get a bit of white coloring, switch of the gas and let it cool.
Meanwhile extract the juice from lemon sized tamarind.
Grind the coconut, salt, tamarind juice along with the cooled mustard to chutney consistency.
Season with mustard, jeera, hing, red chillies. (Make sure the hing is authentic has a strong aroma)
1 cup urad daal (split and de-husked)
1 ¼ cup idli rava
Tablespoon of cooked rice/ handful of soaked poha (beaten rice)
1 tsp methi
Notes for soft Idlis: In my experience, the key to making soft idli is first by using handful of rice/poha while making the urad daal batter and second is making sure that the batter(before fermentation) does not have too much water.
Soak the urad daal along with methi overnight in enough water.
Next day after the urad daal and methi have soaked up, drain the water completely.
Proceed to grind the urad daal, methi with cooked rice/poha and required amount of water and make a paste.
Do not add too much water; the water should be sufficient just so that the mixer/grinder motor runs smoothly.
When I notice some small fine bubbles (maybe about 4-5 of them) on the top I stop the grinding. (This is optional and may not be the case all the time).
In the meanwhile, when the urad daal is grinding, wash the idli rava with water about 2-3 times and drain it completely. Soak the idli rava for about 10 minutes and then drain the water. Make sure no water remains after draining the water.
Mix this urad daal paste thoroughly with washed idli rava. This should be as thick as possible. Let it stay to ferment for at least 8 hours (24 hours in winter).
Take the batter out and after the batter is fermented, add salt and water and mix the idli batter well. The batter should not be very thick. (it needs to be of puring consistency)
Grease the idli stand and pour batter in each container.
Steam this in a pressure cooker without whistle/weight for 15 minutes.
After getting married, I was introduced to many new, delicious and interesting dishes hitherto unknown to me. Even though both of us are Konkanis, vegetarians, share the same background and culture yet each of our families have different style and combination of cooking.My MIL has over the years graciously taught me their style of cooking.
One such new, easy and tasty dish is the Cucumber dosa (savory Indian pancake) . This has only 2 ingredients cucumber, idli rava and can be made in a jiffy. The end product is truly amazing, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with golden hue to it. Unlike a regular urad dosa tears easily and simply melts in the mouth. And this does not need any fermentation!
Please note that even though this is caleld Dosa, the prepared batter is patted on the stove directly like a Thalipeeth.
2 medium size cucmbers
1.5 cups of idli rava
4-5 green chillies
coriander leaves chopped (optional)
1/2 cup shredded coconut(optional)
Peel the cucumbers and grate them. Retain the seeds of the cucumber but drain the cucumber water as much as possible.
Chop up the green chilies very finely.
Add the idli rava, green chilies, shredded coconut, coriander leaves to grated cucumber and mix well. Add salt as required
Let this whole thing rest for about 30 minutes. Note that the mixture in this case will be coarse and not “gooey” or watery like a dosa batter.
Note: Even if it becomes watery, do not discard the water but retain it and mix it well.
Heat a tava and grease it a little bit. When the tava is hot, take a handful of the cucumber mixture and place at the center.
Pat the mixture using finger tips and spread it around starting from the center to form a circle.
Use little water to spread this out if it becomes hot to handle.
This spreading should not be either too thick or thin, make it as even as possible.
Make about 4-5 small holes around the periphery and center of the circle using a spatula.
Put about 1 tsp of oil around the dosa and also 1 tsp into the small holes.
Cover this with a lid and let it stay for a minute or so on high heat.
After a minute take a peek and check to see if the backside of the dosa has a brown color.
If it has not, then let it stay for a while or the dosa will break when trying to turn it around.
If it has browned then, turn the dosa around, put some more oil around it and let it cook for a while.
This can be eaten as is or with little ghee or coconut oil.