Smoky Spiced Eggplant with Yogurt

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Serve me eggplants is any style, I eat it up.   Make it anyway- baked, grilled, roasted, deep-fried, sautéed, stuffed, or in this case – smoked, this loyal vegetable never fails the taste buds.   Naturally, it is a staple food in my kitchen but it has never occurred to me to write a post on this versatile vegetable.  So, when Azita said that she also likes eggplants in every which way, I decided to get this recipe onto this blog.   For Azita’s recipe of yummy picked Persian style eggplant, check here.

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Note:  Traditionally the eggplants are either cooked directly over fire or grilled over charcoal, and when made this way, the dish is infused with the smoky flavor that I find so wonderful.  In absence of a cook top that runs on a gas,  an alternative is to use the outdoor grill on fire or the oven. Broiling imparts the smoky flavor to an extent.

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Aubergine
  • 1 Cup Fresh Curd/ Yogurt
  • Coriander (Handful)
  • 3 Green chillies
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Coriander seeds-Coarsely crushed (optional)

For seasoning:

  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 Dry red chillies
  • Few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida

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Recipe:

  • Brush the eggplants lightly with oil.  Punch holes with a fork or a knife tip.
  • Scorch the eggplants by holding them over medium gas flame. Using tongs, turn them periodically so that they are done evenly inside. Alternatively, heat them under the broiler. (Even a plain roasting at 375° F also would work).  Keep turning them until the skin is blackened on all sides.
  • Set aside until cool, peel of the charred skin and mash lightly.   I prefer leaving off specks of the charred skin to the eggplant, as they add to the pleasant smoky flavor.
  • Combine the chilli, coriander leaves and the seeds in a blender and grind to a coarse paste.   I used my stone mortar and pestle to get the right consistency, but a blender would work. 
  • Whisk the yogurt lightly. 
  • Add the yogurt and the chilli-coriander paste to the mashed eggplant.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds.  When they start spluttering follow with the remaining ingredients.
  • Add the entire seasoning to the eggplant yogurt mix.
  • Sprinkle some freshly cut coriander leaves.
  • This dish of total awesomeness goes well with rice and roti.

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Lavender Lemon Bars

Am I the only one who dreams about how a certain recipe tastes? I guess not.  I recently came across an email from Taste of Home on Lavender Lemon Bars.  Even without reading the entire recipe, I fell in love with it.   I was dreaming about how it would taste and could almost taste it on my tongue. Now, don’t be so surprised, for I never had a lemon bar before, forget it with lavender. I was sure that the sweet taste of lavender would perfectly complement the tartness of the lemon and it sounded like heaven.  

I tried it out this weekend (having ordered for the lavender buds on Amazon.com) and it did not disappoint me or my family.

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Lavender Lemon Bars Recipe

Ingredients
For the Crust:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
  • 2 teaspoons lemon peel-grated

Topping:

  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Substitute for 4 eggs (see the note below)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Note:  I do not use eggs and as a substitute, I have added 1 tsp of Baking Powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda to 1 cup of yogurt, let it sit for 3 min till it froths up.   For those of you who use egg, actual recipe calls for 4 eggs.

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  • In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar. Add the flour, lavender and lemon peel; beat until crumbly.
  • Fill a13-in. x 9-in. baking pan and pat till even.
  • Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, in a another bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, the yogurt mix/eggs and lemon juice; beat until frothy.
  • Pour over the warm crust. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes or until light golden brown.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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Oven Roasted Aloo Gobi- (Cauliflower and Potato)

Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower and Potato curry) a North Indian curry- a comfort food.  It is one of my all time favorites and a dish that I make regularly. 

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The original version to make from the scratch takes some time like most of the other Indian recipes.  So, it is natural that when I came across Suvir Saran’s recipe for oven roasted style, I literally jumped with joy.  The recipe is super easy, takes less time than the original one and tastes just as good.  Mine tasted even better!

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 head cauliflower torn into medium florets
  • 2 Medium potatoes- chopped
  • 1 medium red onion,  thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt
  • Red Pepper powder
  • Turmeric powder (optional)
  • Coriander leaves for garnish

For Seasoning (Totally optional)

  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 Tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin seeds
  • Curry leaves

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a gratin dish or any large baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
  • Coarsely grind cardamom, cumin, coriander. I used a pestle and mortar.
  • Arrange potatoes, onions and cauliflower in a large dish.  Add oil, spices, salt and turmeric. Toss to coat.
  • Transfer vegetables to the baking dish. 
  • Roast until tender for about 30-40 min stirring in between.
  • Season with salt and pepper powder.
  • Transfer to a serving dish.

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Optional step: In a small pan heat some oil, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let them splutter. Add curry leaves. Add to the roasted vegetables and mix well.