Thursday, July 21, 2011

Keerai Masiyal

Wow, it was super hot today. My car's barometer was reading in 3 digits at 7 pm. I was sitting indoor for my daughter's swimming class, and felt as if I was sitting in a warehouse that has no AC. I was just sweating so much. Its been like this for a few days now, and its getting worse tomorrow. I can't wait for this heat wave to get over. I had plans to go to our local famer's market tomorrow, but I guess I have to drop it. I want to stay indoors as much as possible until it gets a little better outside. Its frustrating when I can't enjoy summer the way I would like to. I absolutely wait for summer because we spend 8 months of the year depressed and stuck inside the house as it is brutally cold outside. I dream of living in Florida and California but I guess if I live there, I will be complaining about the heat just like I complain about the cold.

OK, about this recipe.. I have always been attracted to traditional home made recipes and this is no exception. Simple, Delicious, Satisfying. A lot of people knock spinach, but I really love it. I make this at home often since its my daughter's favorite. Whenever I'm really strapped for time, this turns out to be such a helpful recipe. When mixed with rice or had with rotis, it is equally good.


Spinach - chopped - 3 cups
White or Red Onions - 1 small
Garlic - 2 cloves
G.chillies - 2 small (or as required)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Milk - 2 tbsp
Dried red chilli - 1
Asafoetida - a pinch


1. Wash thoroughly and chop the spinach.
2. Heat oil in a pan, season with cumin seeds. Add chopped onions and chopped garlic, fry for a few mins.
3. Add the spinach and salt and mix well. Cover it in low heat for about 10 mins until the spinach is fully cooked. No need to add water.
4. Once its fully cooked, let it cool for a few mins. Add milk and run it in a blender until its a paste.
5.Transfer it to a bowl. Heat some ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds, red chilly and asafoetida. Pour it on top of the spinach.

Tastes awesome with plain rice.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bagara Baingan - Eggplants in a spicy peanut sauce

Just got back from yet another amazing 3 day camping trip! It was a fantastic weekend. Highlights are awesome food, great company from lovely friends, awesome beach and ofcourse a very enjoyable campfire talk. The downside was it was a lot hotter than anticipated. Now I have a very red nose and forehead and a sunburnt arm. Contradicting the daytime, nights were super cold and the temp dropped down to lower 50s. Luckily we were pretty much equipped for the chill weather and I had a peaceful sleep all three nights. It was pretty windy too sometimes. Just as we were finishing mounting our tents, a HUGE gust of wind blew our unmounted tent rolling it across our campsite several times. We were running behind it (literally) to get hold of it, but it was rolling faster than us until it hit a big bush and stopped. That was quite funny to watch and probably I would remember forever.

Campfires are great just watching and they have a magical way of bringing people together. Sitting around a campfire brings back warm memories. After cleaning up from an awesome dinner, we settled around the campfire and had a hearty laugh for hours. There is a sense of friendly atmosphere and a feeling that we are all one around the campfire. Whether liquor or Smores, those are always good times to enjoy during camping. We had a great time together this year too and its just too hard to get back to work this morning.

After coming back, as usual I long for some warm comfort food. I had emptied my fridge before I left, so had to buy some fresh veggies for dinner today. Found some fresh brinjals at store and decided to make this flavorful recipe. Bagara Baingan is one of my favorites and a friend of mine had also requested recently to post some eggplant recipes. Awesome combination for Briyani and Rotis.


Indian Eggplants (brinjals) - 10 small sized.
Onion - 1 medium
Ginger / Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
Peanuts - 5 tbsp
White Sesame seeds - 3 tbsp
Shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 3 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Tamarind Juice - 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1 tbsp (optional)
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
Cloves - 3
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Corriander leaves - to garnish


1. Dry roast the peanuts in a pan (I usually buy the roasted peanuts from stores to skip this step). Add the sesame seeds to the peanuts and fry until both turn to a golden brown color with a nice aroma. Finally add the shredded coconut and fry for a min. Set aside, cool this mixture and grind them together with all the spice powders and salt to a smooth thick paste. Do not add too much water.

2. Slit the brinjals into quarters, leaving the stem intact.

3. Stuff the spice paste into the brinjals and arrange them in a plate. Leave some leftover of the paste aside.

4. Heat oil in a wide pan, season with cinnamon, cloves, mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

5. Once they splatter, add chopped onions and fry for a min. Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 1 more min.

6. Now add the stuffed brinjals slowly in the pan and mix them until the brinjals are well coated with the onion mixture. If there's some leftover paste, add it now on the eggplants. Simmer the heat and cover for 5 - 10 mins.

7. When the brinjals are almost cooked, add the tamarind juice and jaggery and check for salt. If required, add accordingly. Boil in slow heat for a few more mins until the gravy thickens. Stir the mixture slowly to retain the shape of the brinjals.

8. Garnish with corriander leaves and remove from heat.

Enjoy with hot rotis or briyani!