Friday, September 4, 2009

Shahi Baingan in a pressure cooker

If a sentence is prefaced with "In this country" it usually means the person is
about to give me a lesson on how stuff works in this country. Even after living here all my adult life I am considered a good candidate for some teaching moments. Sometimes it gets my blood pressure up, few times that I have the presence of mind I give them my own lecture and most times I shrug and move on but not without several "in this country" questions of my own. Here are a few that I would like to know the answer to.

My initial shock after purchasing an ice cream for the first time here (though it has been a long while ago) has not completely worn off. The huge quantity of ice cream was enough to last me through dinner and breakfast the next day and literally off ice creams for a while. I got wiser and started looking for the smallest size available and sometimes the smallest ice cream with 2 spoons so more than one can dig in. What is marketed as kids size is enough for at least 2-3 kids. I kick myself whenever we buy 2 kids sizes and a sizable portion ends up in the trash. Why oh why should these ice cream servings be so enormous? Is it because it is easier to charge a higher price if the quantity is huge? We are all losers and end up paying with our health.

The "super size me" of anything and everything. The medium size drink in a restaurant is enough for the whole family. The drink in a kids meal is more than enough for an adult. I am not going to talk about meal portions here. The minute we are outside of the US, the sizes drastically reduce, the medium size drink in Europe is smaller than the small here. Why?

We have handed over our health and self control to giant corporations and fast food chains. We let them dictate our life style. Why?

Readers you are welcome to add your "In this country" questions in the comment section. Go for it!

DH had invited his cousin on reaching his 'Four O' to a treat at an Indian restaurant. The food was really good. One of the dishes we ordered was Shahi Baigan, it won over Baingan Bharta - which we seem to order every time. This was a big hit and the first time we had tasted the dish. So later one night when I was gtalking with Linda, she was wondering what to cook up with her freshly harvested eggplants and it reminded me of the shahi baingan we had tasted. I tell Linda about it. She asks me if it had a tomato cream sauce. So there, Linda knew it and here I was thinking I had discovered a brand new dish.

I had a few fresh eggplants from the garden and eager to recreate the dish at home. I google for recipes found none for Shahi Baingan that sounded like the one I had tasted but several for Shahi Paneer. I based mine off this recipe from Sunanda's Kitchen.

The eggplants were left whole, I had only a few and slightly bigger size to be left whole so I added a few green black eyed peas and couple of potatoes.

1. 8-10 small sized purple brinjals split into four but held intact at the stem (I used brinjals, potatoes and some whole green black eyed peas)
2. 1 tbsp of chopped shallots or red onion
3. 1 tbsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
4. 2-3 tbsp of Greek yogurt or curds whisked
5. 2 tsp coriander powder
6. 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
7. a pinch of fenugreek powder
8. seasonings - curry leaves and cumin seeds
9. 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
10. salt to taste
11. 2 tsp of oil

Paste 1
1. 1/2 red onion chopped roughly
2. 6-8 garlic cloves
3. 1 inch piece of ginger
4. 8 campari tomatoes (3 campari = 1 roma tomato)

Saute the onion,garlic and ginger and then blend together with the tomatoes.

Paste 2
1. 2 tbsp of almonds and cashews
Soak in water for about 30 minutes and blend to a paste

1. In a pressure cooker heat the oil and add the seasonings.
2. Add the onions and saute till translucent.
3. Add the brinjals(, potatoes and beans) and saute till they start to turn color
4. Add the chili,coriander and cumin powders and mix well.
5. Add Paste1 mix and 1 1/2 cups of water, close the lid and cook for 1 whistle, if not using cooker, cook for approximately 10-12 minutes till the vegetables are completely cooked and soft. Let the cooker cool
6. add salt, check for heat and add more chili powder if desired, now add paste 2 and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat. Let cool a bit (curd with curdle otherwise)
7. Add the whisked yogurt and let cook for a couple of minutes more.
8. Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves

Serve with any bread.

Though mine did not get the bright orange color, but we did eat like Shahs :)


  1. I'm sneaking a quick peek from work and oh, ISG, now I know what I am making for supper!! Love the gorgeous shahi baingan just the color it is.

    More on 'in this country' later :)

  2. I haven't had a "in this country" convo with anyone yet. Can just imagine how annoying that must be.
    The baingan curry sounds delicious!

  3. Love the idea of adding greek youghurtto thedish, itreally gives a creamier texture.
    Now abuot This Country..........When I was there for visit i too was shocked by the portions, whenwe went to a restraunt we could eat that food for atleast three meals ( thas is what i thought).
    I totally agree here inEurope tportions are much smaller.
    When my hephew came over and the first day we went to the ice cream shop and bought 2 scoops for each in acone, he ws like this you call 2 scoop, this doe'sn't even come to one scopp back in US.

  4. :-)

    a salad or soup, 1 kid's meal + 1 adult meal is what we order in the restaurants for 4 of us.. anytime anything more were doggy bagged for dinner.. with half the amount we have just enough space for a single serving of dessert with 4 spoons:-)

    the baigain is beautiful & creamy.. all the more tasty with homegrown..

    Thanks for the round up too Indhu.

  5. Wow this baingan looks very rich and delicious..

  6. Regarding the super-sizing -- I think it's that 'bigger is better' mentality of the US in general -- and it's especially scary when it manifests itself in food. Today my daughter and her friend came by work to visit me -- I took them downstairs to pay for their lunch. They ordered a 'small' pizza and shared it -- daughter was so proud of herself that she didn't eat the entire thing alone! It's pervasive, in spite of my best efforts. How to explain that even half a small pizza is ALOT of food!!

    Back to your baingan -- I need to go shopping for curry leaves first, so this is on the menu for tomorrow :)

  7. Shahi baingan sounds yummy

  8. I like the idea of cooking in a pressure cooker ... makes it real quick. The shahi baingan looks delicious! :-)

  9. Along with super sized food quantity, the other complaint that I have is the lack of exercise. There is harldy any scope to walk here.Oh well..

    The Baingan looks creamy and delicious.

  10. Though my favourite way of having eggplant is in any form as long as it has been fire-roasted, it looks delicious smothered in this sauce.

  11. Looks yummy! If you like this, you will also like my favourite - Brinjal sagu - I think I have the recipe posted sometime back. Its a favorite with my family and friends!

  12. Oh if you say that I have a few that was chainging in India too. I found the pizza;'s were oversized when we ordered them in USA. Even a cupcake is large there :( The shahi baingan is making me drool. Shud try it soon.

  13. Curry looks very creamy and delicious, nice idea of adding greek yogurt!


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