September 19, 2012

Punjabi Baigan Aloo (Eggplant & Potatoes)

I grew up eating this dish and to me it is comfort food at its best. For as long as I can remember, this dish has been associated with someone's name - Ammaji's (Grandma's) Baigan Aloo, Badima's (Aunt's) Baigan Aloo, Mummy's Baigan Aloo ... it's a Sawhney family recipe. It has got only 6 ingredients, it cooks in 10 minutes in a pressure cooker and it is as wholesome as you can possibly get. It also uses New Veggie #42 - Eggplant (बैगन, Baigan).  Punjabi refers to a region of India and Pakistan, which is where my family originated. For those that are new to Indian culture and cuisine, here's an interesting fact - each Indian state has its own culture, cuisine, even its own language.   

Ammaji's Baigan Aloo
Prep Time: 15-20 min

Ingredients:
  1. 1 medium Eggplant, cut into 1-2" chunks (with peels).  
  2. 2 large potatoes, cut into 1-2" chunks (with or without peels). 
  3. 3 small tomatoes, diced
  4. 2-3 tsp Cumin
  5. 1 tsp Turmeric
  6. 1-2 tsp Chili Powder
Directions:
Add all the ingredients, and salt to taste, to a pressure cooker. Add 1/8 cup water, or vegetable broth to ensure that there is enough liquid in the cooker. Remember that eggplant is about 95% water, so it will release a lot of liquid as it cooks. For an electric cooker, steam under high pressure for 10 min. For a stove-top cooker, cook until full pressure is reached (1 whistle), reduce heat, cook for 5 minutes and turn off. Let the steam dissipate by itself (if you don't own a pressure cooker, you can make this even in a stock pot, cover and cook until potatoes are tender and eggplant has almost disintegrated, check regularly to make sure that there is enough liquid at all times to avoid burning). Open, mix well (the eggplant will basically cook down and make the dish the consistency of thin gravy). Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper and freshly chopped coriander leaves. This dish is traditionally eaten over rice, but is great for sopping up with warm bread as well. Mmm Mmm Good!!

This was also one of my dad's favorite dishes. We lost him a year ago today ... this one's for you, Daddy!! 

4 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear that you lost your dad; my heart goes out to you. He must have had excellent taste, though, because this dish looks fantastic. I don't have a slow cooker, but I'm going to give it a shot on the stovetop this week. Do you use Russet/baking potatoes for this? Or a waxier potato?

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    1. Thanks so much Lee for your kind words! I've only ever used russet potatoes for this recipe I cut them in about 16 pieces ... Good luck! Hope you like it! :)

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  2. I made this last night, during a snowstorm. I wanted comfort food and this met my need. It was quick, easy and so good:). I never follow recipes exactly so I threw in some chopped ginger, and ate it with rice. Thanks for all the recipes and this excellent blog!

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