mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Baigan ki Boorani (Eggplant in a Garlic-Yoghurt Sauce)

In Vegetables on July 7, 2007 at 5:38 pm

boorani

jhiva baingan

Difficult as it is for baingan (aubergine/eggplant) lovers to believe, there are many out there with an aversion to this beautiful vegetable. I have for you today the dish that will challenge this very aversion. It has the potential to effect conversion. Not only does TH eat baingan now, he counts this dish amongst his favourites, especially when served with another of his favourites – the Hyderabadi Qabooli (here is Bee and Jai’s version), a layered pulao of rice and split chickpeas cooked with garlic and yoghurt.

This is a very exotic looking dish from Uttar Pradesh that traces its origins to the milk and yoghurt favouring cuisine of Afghanistan where it still is on the menu of all restaurants serving local food. Shallow fried eggplant served in a yoghurt sauce flavoured with garlic and garnished with browned onions – how can you go wrong? Don’t the Greeks and Turks have something similar? Ah, it is such a fabulous pairing of flavours. And for once, I don’t miss the lal mirch (red chilli).

boorani

I tried it for the first time many years ago from my favourite cook book A Taste of India by Madhur Jaffery. It is a beautiful book that introduces the regional cuisines of India in all their authenticity and charm. I wasn’t aware of Madhur’s stature when I bought the book (in mid 80s); I judged it by checking the Kashmiri section – and it featured haak in its utter simplicity, I was sure all the other regions must have received the same authentic treatment. Every recipe I have tried from this book has turned out to be a family favourite, to be made again and again.

boorani

Baigan ki Boorani
(Eggplant in a Yoghurt Sauce)
from Madhur Jaffery’s A Taste of India

1 large eggplant (about 500 gm or1 lb)
2 T coriander powder
1 ½ t turmeric
9 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
2 medium onions, halved and sliced crosswise into half rings
1 C plain yoghurt
salt
¾ C oil (I use ¼ C)

baingan

  1. Wash and slice the eggplant into 1cm thick rounds. In a small bowl combine the coriander powder, turmeric, mashed garlic (reserving one clove), ¼ t salt with a little water to form a thick paste.
  2. In another bowl, beat the yoghurt. Add ¼ t of salt, the remaining crushed clove of garlic, and stir. Keep refrigerated.
  3. Deep fry the onions in hot oil till dark brown and almost crisp. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and spread on kitchen towels.
  4. Using the same oil, shallow fry the eggplant slices in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Use a spoonful of oil at a time. The trick to using less oil for frying eggplant is to, first, have the eggplant at room temperature. Second, I try to dab a little oil on the slices before I put them into the pan; this ensures there are no ‘dry’ spots on the eggplant. If you are in a rush, or making a large batch, you may want to use more oil and finish the job faster. Fry the eggplant slices on both sides till nicely browned and cooked through. If you are a no-fat fanatic, you could even grill the eggplant :) . Sprinkle the slices with a little salt and arrange them in a single layer in a shallow dish or plate.
  5. Fry the coriander seed paste in a tablespoon of oil for 2 minutes, till the garlic is properly fried. The paste will become dry. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water, stir, and take off the heat.
  6. Just before serving, spoon the coriander mix over the eggplant slices, and spread it to cover them properly. Now cover the slices with the garlic flavoured yoghurt. Generously sprinkle with the browned onions. Serve at room temperature.This is my entry (and it’s late…, sorry) for JFI: Eggplant. Jihva for Ingredients (JFI) is the brainchild of Indira (Mahanandi) and is being guest hosted this time by Sangeeta (Ghar ka Khana).

    Tags: JFI, eggplant, Uttar Pradesh cuisine, yoghurt, A Taste of India, vegetables

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  1. Dear Anita, the Baingan looks exotic and the recipe so doable…..kind of like what swings it when i am in my “what should i cook” … am bookmarking this right now.

    Very doable. And very very tasty!

  2. how will it be with mashed eggplant? i would like to try it that way.

    Why do you want to make a bharta out of it? :D The presentation, and texture would be very different. I would think, even the taste would change since the spice paste would be all blended in…try both ways and see how/if they taste different.

  3. I remember seeing Johnny’s recipe for the Turkish version of yogurtlu patlican biber izgara and I have a similar one in a cookbook…then I felt compelled to search and find a rendition of the Afgani recipe (bourani baunjaun-it has tomatoes!)amazing how similar they all are… I never noticed any of this until now- thanks!

    No laal mirch in this fantastic-looking UP avatar? That’s so sad, but still your skill at arranging on a plate will more than compensate! Very, very nice… :-)

    This dish definitely traveled with the Mughals from Persia. As did the Qabooli BTW. And survived all that travel and history in India to remain quite true to its origins!

    You could always sprinkle some if you must, but it is really great even without :D

  4. yumm… how simple is that, yet it looks so exotic!!! Only way I normally eat eggplants is with a ton of spices, but your handiwork does look tempting indeed… :)

    Try it and tell me if you agree…

  5. Great presentation. I am sold.
    :D That was easy!

  6. Hey Anita,

    this is a lovely one. i have a huge eggplant in the fridge, i guess instead of kachha bharta, i’ll make this. suits me, because i can keep individual ingredients like fried slices and browned onions ready and dress up only the required number of slices :)

    and i completely agree with your way of “frying” eggplant slices.

    Baingan rules, any which way!

  7. What a great recipe this is!! I am so lost when it comes to eggplants, but this looks like a delicious and simple recipe. will definitely give it a try.

    Do try. Though, like I said, baingan is great anyway you cook it. have you heard the phrase ‘thali ka baingan’? It rolls any way you tilt the thali – so it does with whatever method or spicing one uses – always good. Not good for people to be ‘thali ka baingan’!

  8. Looks superb! Counting the ways I already love eggplant.. -E.

    Ah, I see, another baingan lover… !

  9. Looks so exotic and delicious – a definite must-try
    Thanks for this great recipe.

    Tastes even more exotic!

  10. This looks the top layer of mousakka. I am gonna try this one!

    Isn’t it interesting to find similarities in cuisines of countries so separated physically? Food travels!

  11. Yeah, I am one of the those don’t-really-like-eggplant people. :) Before I saw a recipe on Trupti and then on RP’s blog, the only way I would eat this veggie is as a choka (fire roasted with garlic and tomatoes, everything mashed together with a drizzle of oil, salt and hot chillies). My mom is an eggplant fanatic.

    But I must say that you are now tempting me to try it this way, not fully convinced yet :) I like the idea of the fried onions but your pulao dish keeps distracting me. (lol)

    And choka is a very good way to have eggplant! But this looks great too!

  12. I am certainly going to try this recipe sometime soon. Garlic, yogurt and fried eggplant…ummmmm terrific combination!!!

    You’re right – how can you go wrong with this combination?!

  13. Anita, if you say it tastes great without any chillies will take your word for it. I love eggplants so this dish goes on my try list. Kind of a sister to our famed Raita!

  14. Hello ji,

    Boorani banayi, aur bahut pasand aayi :-D

    polished it off!

    Glad to have added to your list of favourites!

  15. hi anita, i tried ur recipe of baingan ki boorani and liked it :) i used fresh baingan from my garden, it added such a mithaas to the dish :)
    thanks

    I bet that made it even better – nothing like fresh produce that you have lovingly watched grow and cared for.

  16. anita, we’re making your goda masala right now. when you say ‘x’ amount of black cardamoms, do you mean shelled or unshelled?

    Whole cardamom – husk and all!

  17. Musical- I thought you were going to keep the ingredients separate, and just have it now and then in the next few days! It’s all gone now? (that good?)
    BTW, this looks like a good recipe to impress a date with… ;-) Maybe Anita’s post will ensure that our dinner-dates return… :-D

    She thought she could resist fried baingan slices lying in the fridge ;-) – she was kidding!

    This recipe has great first impressions written all over it!! And it does take some labouring – so all that love in the preparation can only get positive results, surely?

  18. anita, made it with whole cardamoms. it’s wonderful. thanks for the recipe.

    You are very welcome!

  19. Anita, ever try the Turkish dish called Hunkar Begendi? Cubes of lamb (forgive me vegetarians) with roasted eggplant sauce… served with plain pide.

    I haven’t – (unless it is very close to the Kashmiri version), but it sounds like something I would like to:D

  20. So simple yet so delicious.

    It is!

  21. Wow!!! the dish is really unique and tasty. will try it out sometime.

    I hope you do!

  22. Ah, I loved everything about this post: the drool-worthy pictures, a recipe that is short on the ingredient list and yet so inviting, and knowing about the cookbook the recipe came from. Another of Jaffrey’s cookbooks (World Vegetarian) is my favorite, so I will be seeking out “A taste of India” for sure!

    Not only does it have the choicest every-day recipes from different parts of India, the text is very informative – I have spent many evenings lost in the book for hours, only to realize dinner would have to be dal-chawal! She’s a great story-teller.

  23. Hi Anita…. tried this out last night.. It was awesome… a real treat for eggplant lovers!…
    Thanks a bunch…

    Happy to hear that!

  24. I am not a great fan of eggplant. But your introduction is making me try this. My hubby will be happiest person on earth if I start liking this veggie :). We make a shallow fried eggplant with red chili, rava/sooji etc which we call phodi. Thanks for posting this…

    Try this – if not you, at least your hubby will be pleased!

  25. yes! its so tough to resist those fried delights!!
    it made my lunch and dinner…..made with fresh eggplant-and as you and Richa said, it took this dish to another level…..

    i am all about eggplants these days…..have been making them atleast twice every week!!

    Anita, you are right! Baingans rule :-D

  26. Anita: I made this last night, and because of my limited vocabulary, all I can say is…it is DIVINE! Thank you for an amazing recipe! Will post about it on Sunday…

    You’ll find more such gems in A Taste of India!

  27. Hi Anita, add me to the list of people who tried it. I made it yesterday and loved it. I grilled the eggplant with a little oil, skipped the fried onions (was feeling lazy). Ate it with rice. Thanks!

    Sometimes I too skip the fried onions – but they do add another layer of complex flavours (smoky caramelized onions…ummmm). Last time I make some extra and promptly froze them for when I might be feeling lazy!

  28. This dish really looks yummy i will be trying it soon!!!
    I too love Madhur jafferys food but dont own a book as yet i have seen her television programs and try those recipes sometimes.
    i purchased her memoir last week and will be reading it soon its called CLIMBING THE MANGO TREES – a memoir of a childhood in india

  29. I made this over the weekend with homegrown eggplant from a friend’s garden. Yummy!!! However, I live in Zimbabwe where cooking oil is in short supply and so needed to find a way to keep the dish from soaking up all my precious liquid gold. So I microwaved the sliced eggplant for a few minutes before tossing them in the oil. Brilliant! It cooked faster, didn’t use even a quarter of the oil of the first four slices I fried, and still ended up a tasty dish my husband couldn’t get enough of. Thanks.

    Thanks for the tip, Ruth. We can all use less oil ;-) even if it is not in short supply, and what better if it can shave some time off the cooking as well. In fact, next time I may want to try if I can’t brown the onions in the microwave…?

    Glad to know you and your husband enjoyed this.

  30. Anita, I made this for lunch yesterday and it was de-li-sh. An eggplant lover’s dream come true. Thank you so much for such a nice recipe. We gobbled it before i cud take a pic :(
    :D Can’t go wrong with a yoghurt-garlic sauce!

  31. Anita, thanks from me too, the dish was much appreciated by the guests I made it for. I was slightly more virtuous, so baked the eggplant slices and sauteed the onions but I don’t think any of the taste was sacrificed. Can’t wait to make it again.

    You were more virtuous indeed! It is a great dish for a party even if it is a little work. you made less work by baking the eggplant!
    I have been meaning to try microwaving the onions – I believe it works and is quick as well. Did yours get crispy?

  32. Hi Anita,
    I tried this over the wknd and it was a great hit. I served it with Mung dal khichadi. Yummy!

    Am definetely going to make this again when I visit my sister as she is a big eggplant fan. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us.

    Good luck!

    Thanks. It is truly an amazing dish and with just a few ingredients! Your sister is bound to love it!

  33. I Read the eggplant recipes today n tried it too, it was too tasty, can we post our recipes too?

  34. Hi Anita, I tried this yesterday and it turned out great! The husband is not a big fan of eggplant but he loved it too!

    Also I made the fried onions in the microwave. Just coat them with a little bit of oil, sprinkle them with salt and sugar and nuke them till crisp, works like a charm and much less oil required than frying. Thanks again for this recipe.

  35. Anita, thank you so much for posting this. I love eggplant and have had variations of the eggplant/yoghurt theme, but I absolutely loved this one. Made it with some friends to go along with aaloo ka paratha and it was really tasty!

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