This recipe has been an eye-opener as far as the taste of “achari” dishes goes. Achar means pickle in Hindi (by extension achari is anything “pickle-y”, if there is any such word.) And I’m now officially in love with Kalonji or Nigella seeds. This is the first time I have used this spice and look forward to exploring its various facets.
Last week, we were debating what to make for dinner when my brother had this urge to eat something spicy. Given that we were in the middle of a “clean out the refrigerator”, our limitations were pretty limited. All we had was the large Brinjals (aubergines). When I suggested that we make Bharta, I was roundly and soundly rebuffed.
As I am wont to do in such trying situations, I turned to the internet and so came upon this Achari Baingan recipe by Tarla Dalal. Believe you me, this is a recipe you want to try; and as soon as possible. It is spicy, it is tangy and the gravy lends itself of a variety of vegetables. If you don’t like aubergines, substitute them with fried potatoes, paneer, or even lady finger. I will be trying other variations of this recipe soon!
Soon after I posted this recipe, I also made Achari Paneer.
Time: 45 Minutes
- Baingan or Aubergines – 250 gms
- Onions – 2 Large
- Dahi, Curd or Yogurt – 1 Cup
- Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
- Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
- Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
- Saunf or Fennel Seeds – 1 tsp
- Jeera or Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Kalonji or Nigella Seeds – 1 tsp
- Rai or Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Methi or Fenugreek Seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Green Chillies – 2
- Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
- Amchur or Dried Mango Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Hing or Asafoetida – A Large Pinch
- Oil – 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
- Salt to Taste
- In a large vessel, create a marinade by mixing ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp oil.
- Cut the aubergines into 1/2″ pieces.
- Mix the aubergines pieces well with the marinade.
- Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Peel and slice the onions into thin long pieces.
- In a wok or kadhai, heat 1 tbsp oil.
- Add the marinated aubergine pieces and stir-fry till the aubergine just starts to turn soft.
- Take out the aubergines and set aside.
- To the same wok, add the remaining oil.
- Add mustard, fennel, nigella, cumin, and fenugreek seeds.
- Stir-fry for a minute or till the seeds start to pop.
- Add the sliced onions and slit green chillies.
- Stir-fry till the onions are transparent.
- Turn off the heat.
- Add asafoetida, garam masala and amchur powder.
- Mix well.
- Beat the yogurt to a smooth paste.
- Add the yogurt to the fried onions.
- Mix well.
- Add the fried aubergine pieces and salt.
- Mix with a gentle hand.
- Serve with hot rotis.