Don’t you absolutely love the festive season? Aside from the fact that we get to enjoy all the delicious food, it is also such a wonderful opportunity to take some time out for the loved ones, people you cherish, spend time with them and just set aside the strain of everyday routine. Diwali in our household is just that.
It is a great deal of work and weeks of meticulous planning and execution, what with limited help and two wee ones, but it is a kind of busy that I thrive on. There is something about this festival that infuses me with exceptional energy and gusto and makes me want to really push my limits. I remember when my eldest was just about 2 months old and I was still battling postpartum woes and Diwali was round the corner. I had obviously not planned much but on the festival day, just couldn’t help walking down to the flower market and buying flowers and sending the husband packing to buy diyas and sweets. Miraculously little S too cooperated and we got a beautiful puja done with the in-laws who were visiting. There is something special about this festival for sure. Do you agree?
So, after a week-long of Diwali festivities and enjoying a whole lot of decadent (read rich) meals and sugary desserts our systems were craving for something soothing and light. And to be honest, I had spent sooo much time in the kitchen prepping for Diwali, I wasn’t really looking forward to spending more than half-hour in the kitchen. And that is why this Dahi Baingan happened. I had eaten the Hyderabadi rich and spicy version of eggplant in yogurt several times but this light, and stewy version I tried only after my marriage at my husband’s house. But for some reason or the other never ended up preparing it earlier. Anyhow, there is a right time for everything and our post-Diwali “detox” seemed like a good enough reason to prepare this delicacy. So, here is a step by step recipe for you to try at home.
Step By Step Dahi Baingan Recipe
1. I used Thai baby eggplants and they do taste the best but you could use any other variety, just make sure to dice them into small pieces so they cook well. Also, try and avoid thick-skinned eggplants as they do not work well with this recipe. Once chopped, soak the eggplants in water with salt for 15 minutes so as to take away their metallic taste. Then drain, pat dry and marinate with some red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, garlic salt (or normal salt) and tandoori Chicken Masala (optional) for 20 minutes.
2. Next, heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and curry leaves and once the seeds start to crackle, add finely chopped onions and cook till nice and brown, then add the marinated eggplants and cook till soft.
3. While the eggplant is cooking, in the same bowl used for marinating eggplants, whisk some yogurt, garlic salt, and ajwain. If the mixture is too thick add some water to achieve a runny or desired consistency and check for salt. Turn off the heat once the eggplant is cooked through. Then add the yogurt mixture to the cooked eggplant and stir. Temper it with ghee, red chilies, and curry leaves. Serve your dahi baingan hot.
- Baby eggplants, halved -2 cups
- Yogurt-1.5 cups
- Finely chopped onions-2 tbsp
- Red chilli poder-1/2 tsp
- Coriander powder- 1 tsp
- Turmeric-1/2 tsp
- Tandoori Chicken Masala-1/2 tsp (optional)
- Curry leaves-1 tbsp +1 tsp
- Black mustard seeds- 1/2 teaspoon plus a little extra
- Caraway seeds- 1/2 tsp
- Garlic salt- 1tsp +1 tsp or as per taste
- Chopped garlic-2
- Oil-1 tsp
- Ghee-1.5 tsp for tempering
- Wash and cut the baby eggplants into halves and soak in salt water for 15 mts to take away the metallic taste
- Drain, pat dry and marinate the eggplants in a deep bowl with red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, Tandoori chicken masala and 1 tsp salt. Cover and let it rest for 20 mts
- After 20 minutes heat oil in a thick bottomed skillet and add mustard seeds and curry leaves
- Once the seeds start to crackle , add chopped onions and cook on a medium flame till nice and brown
- Add the marinated eggplants and cook till soft
- In the meantime, in the same bowl used for marinating eggplants whisk together yogurt, garlic salt and caraway seeds. Add little water if the mixture is too thick and taste for salt
- Once the eggplants are soft, turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt mixture
- Temper with ghee, dried red chilli,chopped garlic and mustard seeds and serve with some hot plain or flavoured rice like tomato rice