Stuffed vegetables and meat are common in every culture of the world.They differ in terms of ingredients,spices and condiments and mode of cooking.They may be deep fried,shallow fried,baked,cooked underground as in the case with some Hawaiian delicacies and the list is endless.In India we have stuffed veggie recipes in all the states which widely differ in their recipes.The coastal areas use Coconut and other areas use easily available local produce for stuffing.Whatever the recipes,they are absolutely delicious and are actually keepers for the future.
This particular recipe was given by my aunt – Alka Narayan.She came into our family nearly 3 decades ago when I was a very small child and created magic on the dining table with this particular recipe.Believe me I was too small to remember things but I remember these lovely stuffed Brinjals served with hot ghee smeared roti and lovely aromatic perfectly cooked Basmati rice.
These Brinjals are very easy to cook and have a totally yummy stuffing.The Bengali Panchphoron Masala(five different ingredients roasted and powdered) is used in this so I would be sharing the recipe for that as well.I asked my aunt for the recipe which she gladly gave and here is sharing the recipe with you all!
THE PANCHPHORON MASALA (Powder and store in an airtight container.Very delicious when used in any subzi)
2 tsp Fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
2 tsp Kalonji Seeds (Onion seeds/Nigella Sativa)
2 tsp Mustard Seeds(Rai)
2 tsp Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
2 tsp Cumin Seeds(Jeera)
2 dried red Kashmiri Chillies
Dry roast each one individually and powder finely.Store in an airtight container!
Now proceeding to the recipe..:
Preparation Time : 45 minutes – 1 hour
Makes : 4 stuffed Brinjals
4 baby Brinjal/Eggplant/Aubergine
2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 liter water
For the stuffing :
3 big Onions – sliced
2 tbsp roasted Coriander Seeds(dhaniya)
1 tbsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 tsp Panchphoron Masala(Recipe above)
2 tbsp powdered Jaggery(sugar can be used)
1/4 cup Oil
2 tbsp Coriander leaves
Thread to tie the Brinjal while frying
Preparing the Brinjal :
Wash and wipe the Brinjals.Trim the extra green elongations leaving only the stalk on top.Mix the water and turmeric powder in a deep bowl.With a sharp knife slit each Brinjal from the centre and open it slightly.Scoop out the seeds from both the sides so that it resembles small “cups”.Immerse it in the turmeric water to prevent it from oxidising and turning black.Prepare all the Brinjals the same way and keep them immersed in the Turmeric water.
Preparing the Stuffing :
Grind the roasted Coriander seeds to a coarse powder in a grinder.Now in a blender add the sliced Onions and 1/3 cup of water.Grind to a fine paste.Now add the ground Coriander seeds,salt,chilli powder,Panchphoron Masala and powdered jaggery/sugar and blend again.Taste for salt.Now the filling is ready.
Stuffing and frying the Brinjals :
Heat Oil in a fry pan or Kadai on medium heat.Take each Brinjal from the Turmeric water and wipe it with a kitchen towel to drain all the water.Put 1 tbsp stuffing in the middle.Close the other part over and tie with the string to ensure the filling does not come out.Prepare all the Brinjals the same way.There will be Masala left so don’t worry.We will use it for the gravy.
You might find this a bit difficult as the Brinjals tend to be very slippery.Tie multiple times but not too tightly.You may want to tie both vertically and horizontally for ultimately you need to discard the thread.
Gently keep the Brinjals in the hot Oil and cover them with a lid.Let them cook for 5 minutes,then open and turn them around to cook the other side.Do this with the help of a pair of tongs(Chimta) for easy turning.Cook till the skin begins to wrinkle and the Brinjals are cooked.Do not over cook them as they will disintegrate.Keep them on a plate lined with absorbent paper.
Remove the Oil from the frypan and reserve 2 tbsp for frying the gravy.Fry the leftover Masala till the raw smell disappears and a lovely aroma emanates.Snip off the string or thread gently from the Brinjals and add them to this Gravy and cook for 2-3 minutes turning them once in between.
Garnish with Coriander Leaves and serve with rice or roti or both..:)!
Served with roti :
Served with rice :