Recipe & Food Styling |Two Easy Indian Curries – Enjoying the roller coaster that is life..
Infact, I had no plans or any set goals for my life before jumping onto the bandwagon of food blogging. The only time when I needed to make a so called ‘plan’ was when I had to visit the grocery store, my doctor’s clinic, parents meet at school, activity classes for kids or to deposit cheques in the bank.
Life has suddenly become very fast and busy with a sudden spur of activities over the last few years.
One another day and one another shoot…this time it was for a ready-to-cook food products for the client Convenio Foods. The shoot was planned and executed at Food Consulate, a beautifully designed culinary studio by a very enterprising friend Mohammad Ali.
The final shots for the 2-day photo-shoot were finalized after a couple of meets with the client and the talented photographer Karuna Karan at Food Consulate.
As usual, I reached quite early to arrange and make myself feel comfortable at the studio before lights and camera flash up.
After shooting at many outdoor locations and studios in Chennai, I find this studio as one of the best places for any food photo-shoot to happen, as far as the facilities and cleanliness is concerned.
The client and the staff at Food Consulate were extremely supportive, the clients also engaged two chefs to prepare the dishes to be shot for two days, which made my work easier.
A wonderful shoot and a happy me…the last shot of the day and my friend and photographer Karan captured the tired looking me in the best possible way 🙂
Eggplant Mash or Baingan Bharta
The food I cook at home for my family during the days of shoot is easy and quick to assemble. I store half baked Rotis (India flat breads) and shredded vegetables a night before leaving for shoot. Brinjal was roasted and stored in an air-tight container and I just had to temper the mash, reheat the rotis before serving the same for dinner.
Brinjal (eggplant or aubergine) and cluster beans (gawar fali) are probably the most neglected vegetables in many households across India.
Consumption of Brinjal dishes can cause allergic reaction in some people while the slight bitter and bland tasting cluster beans can scare away many to add the same in their diet.
If you like eggplants and cluster beans these two simple Indian curry recipes are definitely for you.
Baingan Bharta or brinjal mash is a popular recipe in many houses of North and West India. You must travel by road and taste the recipe served at the roadside Dhabas in North India where the brinjal is in the traditional earthen Tandoor to get the distinct smoky flavor when cooked.
The smoky flavor infused by roasting the eggplants on direct fire gives a wonderful taste to this dish. Baingan bharta or brinjal mash pairs really well with millet rotis.
Cluster beans or Gawar fail as called in Hindi are one of the most popular vegetables grown in arid regions of India. The beans which are light green in colour, grows in bunches and have a narrow flat body with tapering ends are extensively used in fresh and dried form all across Rajasthan. The fresh beans are cooked to make subzis or curries while the dried form is used to make pachkuta and ker sangari.
I would not suggest cooking the cluster beans in a pressure cooker which my mom prefers unless you are short on time. The beans become lumpy and the spices do not coat evenly when cooked in pressure cooker. You have control over the cooking process when you use a wok or a pan.
- 5-6 medium Eggplants
- 3 Tomatoes
- 2 Onion
- 3-4 Garlic pearls
- Ginger a small piece
- 2 Green chillies
- 2 tbsp. Oil
- 1/2 tsp. Lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves to garnish
- 1 tbsp. coriander powder
- 1 tsp. Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp.Turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp.Garam masala
Method; Large round variety of eggplants are normally used to make brinjal mash but at times I use the local small or green variety also.
Smear vegetable oil on the brinjals and place them directly over the flame on a wire mash if you have one.
Keep turning the brinjal till the skin is nicely charred or burned. Let the brinjals cook and then peel off the skin from them.
Mash the brinjals slightly with a fork.
You could also bake the brinjals in an oven. Apply oil over the brinjals and place them on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes at 180°C, turning once in between.
Peel and finely chop the onion and tomatoes.
Roughly crush garlic and ginger piece with a stone or ladle.
Heat oil and splutter cumin seeds in it.
Add crushed garlic-ginger, slit green chillies and chopped tomatoes and onion in oil and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium flame.
Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and stir to combine all ingredients.
Stir in the cooked and mashed brinjal, garam masala, lemon juice, combine well and take the pan off the flame.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves or dry fenugreek leaves and serve with Indian flat breads or with plain rice.
Here is one another version of Indian Brinjal mash or Baingan Bharta with green eggplants.
Native to India, the low in glycemic index Cluster beans is a good vegetable to control blood sugar level.
- 200 gms Cluster beans
- 1 large Potato
- 1 large Onion
- 1 large tomato
- 5-6 Garlic pearls
- 2 tbsp. Oil
- Salt to taste
- Water as required
- 2 tsp. Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Red chilly powder
- 1 tsp dry mango powder
- 1/2 tsp.Turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp. Carom or Ajwain seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida powder
Method: Wash and remove the end and the top part of each bean (sounds a little laborious) and chop them finely.
Peel and chop potato into small pieces.
Grate onion, garlic pearl and tomato with a hand grater.
Heat oil in a pan and splutter carom seeds in it.
Add asafoetida powder (hing), turmeric, red chilly powder, coriander powder and grated onion tomato in a pressure cooker and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
Add potato cubes, chopped cluster beans, salt, dry mango powder, about 1 cup of water, close the lid and let it cook for 2 whistles
Open the lid after the cooker is cool, garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with millet roits or any Indian flat breads.
- Prick the brinjal from all the sides for better quick and cooking.
- Use large round variety of purple brinjal for the mash recipe, it has more flesh and less seeds inside.
- You can also cook cluster beans in a normal pan or wok, just that the cooking process might take a little more time.