Baingan Ka Saalan, An Aubergine Curry To Serve With a Biryani
Baingan ka Salan
This dish is from Hyderabad state of India, the home of ‘Nawabs’. The Hyderabadi cuisine is very rich, influenced by Mogul cuisine. It has an exotic mix of spices and other ingredients, to give it a unique aroma. It is similar to Mirchi ka salan and it is served as an accompaniment to various meals, especially Biryani rice. Serves 4-6
250 gm. aubergines
1/2 cup oil to fry aubergines
2-3 tbsp. raw, peeled peanuts
1 tbsp. white sesame seeds (til)
2 heaped tbsp. desiccated coconut or coconut powder
1 full tsp. Panch Pooran seeds
3-4 small, dry red chillies
8-10 fresh curry leaves (not bay leaves)
4 tbsp. thick, natural yoghurt or dahi. Do not use skimmed milk yoghurt for cooking.
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt to taste
2 tsp. chilli powder, adjust to taste. This dish is generally made quite hot.
1 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
For garnish (optional):
2 tbsp. chopped mint leaves (12-15)
2 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves
Heat a wok or pan and dry roast peanuts until lightly browned. You can cook them in a microwave. Place on a plate and cook on full, for 3+2+2 minutes, stirring in between)
Add sesame seeds and continue to stir fry until a nice aroma of sesame rises.
Lastly add desiccated coconut or coconut powder. Fry for another minute.
Place peanuts, sesame seeds and coconut powder in a blender, add ½ cup of water and blend to make a paste. Add more water if necessary. Keep aside.
Wash and wipe dry the aubergines. Any water drops will make the oil splutter during frying. Keep aside. Cut into bite sized pieces just before frying, otherwise they will discolour.
Heat 1/2cup of oil in a wok or frying pan and fry aubergine pieces on moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned. Lift out and keep aside.
Heat the remaining oil again and add Panchpooran seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter add dry red chillies, curry leaves, ginger and garlic. Stir fry for half a minute. Garlic should not burn.
Add sliced onions and salt. Continue to cook/stir-fry until onions are light brown in colour
Add turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder and stir for a few seconds.
Now add the peanut-sesame-coconut paste and 1/2-1 a cup of water. Cook for 15-12 minutes briskly. It should be a custard like paste.
Add fried aubergines, chopped coriander and mint leaves, beaten yoghurt and stir these in.