Thursday, April 24, 2008

Simple Lunches 12 - Brinjal Chutney

Green Earth
The recent scare about plastics came to a head yesterday when I almost got rid of all of the plastic drinking glasses. But good sense prevailed along with several heaves of relief from members in the household who shall remain unnamed, and I turned around went to sleep instead. Phew! Getting rid of plastic glasses means buying other kinds of glasses to replace them. There in lies the paradox. Does getting rid of non-green stuff around the house and replacing them with organic stuff really serve the purpose? This reminded me of the article I had read a few weeks ago in the Washington Post - Greed In the Name Of Green (To Worshipers of Consumption: Spending Won't Save the Earth). Isn't buying locally grown veggies even if not organiclly grown better than buying an organic product shipped from the farthest corner of the earth? It is not always possible to buy local and more often than not land in the local grocery store buying tomatoes grown in California, apples grown in New Zealand, mangoes grown in Mexico! But I am of the firm belief that the small things we do will go a long way.

Tip 1: Use the laundry machine, dryer or dishwasher during the night or early morning. It does not hurt that the electric rate during these hours is cheaper than during the working hours.
Tip 2: Recycle plastic bags (grocery bags, newspaper bags) - most grocery stores accept plastic bags for recycling.

Simple Lunches 11 - Brinjal Chutney
The simplicity of these dishes is what makes them so attractive. Brinjal Chutney is simple to make, they taste good with idlis and dosais but they taste the best with rice. With a quick and easy stir fry on the side a complete meal.

brinjal chutney
rice,chutney,cabbage peas poriyal and yogurt

1. 3 Japanese Eggplants cut into small pieces
2. 1/4 red onion chopped
3. 2 tsp coriander seeds
4. 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
5. a small piece of tamarind
6. 2 -3 red chilies
7. salt to taste

1. Heat oil in a pan and saute the corinader,cumin,red chilies and tamrind, set aside
2. Saute the onions and the eggplants till cooked, add salt

Blend with just a bit of water if required

Serve with rice.


  1. So you have cleared up all the plastics from ur kitchen!! Kudos.. Your kids and hubby are surely to be praised for supporting u -

    The chutney looks great !

  2. Revathi, No! did not follow through. It is not that easy since I do have quiet a few stuff that is plastic.

  3. I agree with you that being green has now become cool and is just another way of spending more money. There was a similar thing with "simplifying" your life and they were advocating getting rid of what you had, to buy different things to simplify your life !

  4. Getting rid of all things plastic ....hmmmmmm I have a question that may lead to a long winding debate

    Anyway, how frequently do you use plastic glasses/cups Indo ? Like say other than the colorful tumblers for S (which are not use & throw) we use plastic cups mainly when we have say more than 4 families with kids over for dinner/lunch. This usually happens about 6-7 times a year.

    If on these days I were to use glassware instead, imagine the number of times I would be running the dishwasher and upping the energy cost.

    I know someone who actually does that, even with 30 guests for dinner she uses only glassware and runs the dishwasher several times.

    I don't understand how prudent is that.

    Isn't it like using all the corn for biofuel and thus fuelling hunger somewhere else ?

    Do you see the amount of plastic cups/plates etc. used in the kids school every day ? Also the amount of food they waste ? I try to teach S that food is something which you don't throw away (something we had learned in childhood and which had kind of mellowed after coming to the US). But with everything that they don't eat being "trashed" in school that is what she thinks is normal.

    I know we can control only our own steps but I do think we need to weigh the pros and cons. Using use & throw plastic ware everyday is definitely not advisable but is using them as partyware really that bad ?
    Also what about all the kids plastic sippy cups, bowls, cutlery ? We don't throw them out after every use do we ?

    Ooop this is one hell of a comment

  5. Forgot to add, have never tried brinjal chutney,looks so smotth and fiery

  6. I know exactly what you mean about debating whether to throw stuff out in the name of going green. One step at a time, I guess, right? The chutney looks fabulous!! :)

  7. chutney has such a lovely color & looks YUM!
    true, there is always a trade off bet'n local/inorganic & organic shipped long distance!

  8. Srividya, yes what an irony right?the bottomline is consume less. I hear you.

    Sandeepa, I pretty much agree with the points you have made. The main reason I bought plastic glasses is to avoid the clean up. It is the same argument about using power towels in the kitchen - waste water or paper? Which is more precious? We will never have all the answers.

    I went to a friend's house where a guest took a marker and wrote down the names of all the guests on their respective (reusable) plastic glasses. 4 hrs into the party I was amazed that each person was holding the glass with his/her name on it. The opposite scenario each one would have used atleast 2-3 glasses in that time period. This is great and one I am going to try and put to use.

    Finally I did not throw any plastic stuff out, I'll replace them with appropriate when they wear and tear.

  9. Sandeepa, if you like brinjal do give this a try. The fiery red color is from the Kashmiri chili all color and no fury :)

    Kalai, absolutely. Do give the chuntey a try.

  10. that's one delicious chutney! must have tasted great. Look at the coincidence! I made this chutney yesterday and yet to post it. My version is a little different from yours. Nice pic.

  11. I just want to say Amen sister! Being green has become the new cool thing now, and I don't think everyone puts as much thought into it as they should... I am glad you and Sandeepa brought up two great points here... Gives us something to think about...

  12. Hi ISG,

    I can't say I don't use plastic -- I use and reuse plastic containers till they're too scratched up to clean properly -- then I recycle them. Most plastic containers are recyclable now, and if you're lucky enough to live where curbside recycling happens, it's easy to put the old plastic out in a bin once a week. I agree wholeheartedly re: buying local when we can -- although as you say, it's not always possible. None of us alone can change the whole world, but if everyone took one measure towards it, then things might look different! Love reading your green tips -- keep them coming :)

    Brinjal chutney, OH YUM!!! I'll be right over :):):)

  13. lovely chutney. I personally prefer not plastic. It stains with spices, too. But you have a point. Being organic is a huge business these days, which I myself do not support.


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