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
- 1 medium Eggplant, cut into 1-2" chunks (with peels).
- 2 large potatoes, cut into 1-2" chunks (with or without peels).
- 3 small tomatoes, diced
- 2-3 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1-2 tsp Chili Powder
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!!