The eggplant or the brinjal is an indispensable ingredient in my kitchen. We grow at least four varieties of eggplant in our garden as my son just loves it. I make a dozen dishes or so using brinjal. Of them, brinjal roast, which is called vaingana bhajja pitto in Konkani, is the most delicious, and I cook it every week for my family. This time, I have used the long green brinjal which grows well even in the rainy season, but just about any variety will do fine for this mouthwatering dish.
Traditionally, tamarind is used to infuse tanginess in the dish. For this recipe, however, I have used our organic grape tomatoes with far better results. If grape tomatoes are not available, just use regular tomatoes or a bit of tamarind, or some dry mango powder. Before making the brinjal roast, we need to make the bhajja pitto (mixed roast powder). This powder is easy to make and can be stored in airtight containers. A batch of bhajja pitto (85 gm) is enough to make the brinjal roast half a dozen times (15 gm at a time). In olden times, the ingredients for bhajja pitto were roasted, and then pounded to coarse powder using the mortar and pestle. To keep it simple and easy for you, I have roasted the ingredients and ground them to fine powder in the food processor. Be sure to cook and enjoy!
|Prep Time||1 hour|
|Cook Time||10 minutes|
- 25 gm coriander seeds
- 50 gm split black gram lentils (urad dal)
- 3 gm fenugreek seeds
- 5 gm asafoetida
- 15 gm dry hot red chilies
- 15 gm bhajja pitto (mixed roast powder)
- 750 gm brinjal (stems removed)
- 300 gm grape tomatoes
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 5 gm mustard seeds
- 2 gm turmeric powder
- 10 gm powdered salt
- 500 ml cooking oil (to deep-fry)
For making the bhajja pitto (mixed roast powder):
For the brinjal roast:
- Set a frying pan or wok on high heat.
- Tip in all the five ingredients for the bhajja pitto (mixed roast powder) and stir continuously for 3 1/2 minutes (210 seconds). Switch off the heat.
- As soon as it is cool enough, transfer to the dry grind jar of your food processor and grind to fine powder.
- Store in a small, sun-dried, air-tight container or jar at room temperature.
- Chop the brinjal to medium sized pieces of uniform size (see picture) and set aside.
- Cut each grape tomato into 3 pieces and set aside.
- Set a deep frying pan or wok on high heat. Pour in the cooking oil.
- As soon as the oil is hot (it should not smoke), tip in a third of the brinjal pieces.
- Stir occasionally and deep-fry for 10 minutes, or until the insides of the brinjal turn a golden brown. Lift out and drain off the excess oil.
- Deep-fry the rest of the pieces likewise in two more batches.
- Set a cast-iron wok (for best taste) on high heat. Pour in 50 ml of the flavorful hot oil in which you just deep-fried the brinjal. Throw in the mustard seeds.
- As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish crackling, pull the curry leaves off their sprigs and toss them in.
- Stir once and tip in the tomato pieces. Stir and put in the powdered salt, the turmeric powder and the specified quantity of bhajja pitto. Stir for a minute.
- Now chuck in the deep-fried brinjal pieces. Stir well for a minute more, and switch off the heat. Cover with a lid.
- Your mouthwatering brinjal roast is now ready to enjoy! Serve with hot rice, porridge, cherupayar kanji, fried rice, biriyani, chappati, porotta, puri, pathiri, vellappam, idli, dosa, appo, machkat, or with freshly baked bread. Bon appétit!
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