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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Achari Baingan / Eggplant in Pickling Spices

 Achari Baingan is a lip-smacking curry from the Punjabi Cuisine. Here, baby eggplants are cooked with pickling spices in a tomato based curry . Achari baingan is spicy and tangy in taste and gets a characteristic flavor and aroma from mustard oil and the spices used in a typical North Indian pickle. The curry tastes equally good with any Indian flat bread like phulka, naan, paratha or steamed rice . This is a quick and healthy version of achari baigan which does not call for any marination time or deep frying of eggplant.

My husband loves eggplant or brinjal in any form. But my little one hates it to the core and i have to always look for different ways of cooking eggplant with a hope that some day he develops a liking towards this healthy fruit vegetable. I mostly make bharli vangi and vangi bhaat with the baby eggplant and vangyacha bharith and begun bhaaja using the large variety. This time i tried this flavorful achari baingan as a variation and paired it with jeera rice for our lunch. I adapted the recipe from a cookery show i viewed on television a few days back. They had deep fried the eggplant pieces and the gravy had yogurt , i altered the recipe to suit our taste buds.

Before we jump into the recipe, lets have a quick look at health benefits of adding this fruit to our daily diet. Eggplant or aubergine come in a variety of shape, size and color. It is rich in fiber and antioxidants, nutrient-dense, low in calories , contain potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. It is believed to support heart and liver health, lowers blood cholesterol, helps in anemia. Source

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3-4

  • 7-8 baby eggplants
  • 1 large onion , finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree*(check out the recipe notes below for the method)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • Salt to taste
Spices used:
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds/ saunf
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds/ jeera
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds/ rai
  • 1/4 teaspoon nigella seeds/ kalonji
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds/ methi dana
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder/ amchur powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Pinch of asafoetida/ hing
  1. Wash the eggplants , trim the stem and discard it. Halve them lengthwise and soak in a bowl of cold water until use to prevent them from discoloring. Alternatively you may sprinkle salt on the halved eggplant in a bowl and allow it to sweat until use. Keep the whole spices, tomato puree, spice powders ready at hand.

2. Heat mustard oil in a sauce pan and allow it to smoke. Lower the flame and after few seconds, add the panch phuran ( mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds) . Once the seeds crackle, add the asafoetida powder followed by the ginger garlic paste and stir fry until the raw smell disappears. Next tip in the finely chopped onion and saute for about a minute before adding the tomato puree.

3. Mix the tomato puree well with the onion and stir fry for 2-3 minutes on medium flame while stirring intermittently. Once you see oil separating from the mixture, lower the flame and add the spice powders. Stir fry the masala for half a minute, taking care , you do not burn the spices.

 4. Drain all the water from the eggplant and add them to the pan. Mix them well using a spatula such that each piece gets coated with the masala. 

5. Now stir in 1/2 cup of hot water . Cover the pan and cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes on medium flame. Open the lid, add sugar if using and salt to taste and cover cook on low to medium flame for 4-5 minutes with intermittent stirring. Lastly add the amchur powder, give a quick stir and put off the flame when the eggplants are cooked well yet hold their shape.

 6. Serve hot with steamed rice or any flat bread of your choice. I have serve it with jeera rice.

 Recipe Notes:
  • To make tomato puree , wash 2 large tomatoes , make a plus mark at the base with a knife and tip them to a sauce pan of boiling water. Cover cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from boiling water, peel off the skin , chop them roughly and puree them in a blender without adding any water.
  • Mustard oil gives the typical pickle taste in this achari baingan. However, you may use any other cooking oil if it is not available or you are not used to its strong flavor and aroma.
  • Use paneer pieces instead of eggplant in this recipe to make a quick achari paneer.
  • You may wish to sweat the eggplant to remove the bitterness before adding them to the curry. I did not do that. For that place the eggplant pieces in a bowl. Sprinkle salt on them and keep them aside for 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplant pieces after that before adding them to the curry.
Regular readers of this blog, must have noticed that on alternate months I participate in the A-Z recipe challenge. It is a food-group on Facebook which is an initiative by my fellow blogger friend Jolly Makkar and Vidya Narayan. Food bloggers who wish to contribute to the theme choose key ingredients alphabetically and cook a dish with it. For this month E is the alphabet and this flavorful and aromatic Eggplant in pickling spices is my contribution towards the theme.


Related Recipes:

For more eggplant recipes do check out the following recipes from this blog

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Undhiyu Recipe

Undhiyu is a traditional Gujarati mixed vegetable curry and the quintessential dish during Uttarayan (Makar Sankranti )festival. This one-pot dish is very delicious and has few resemblance to the Maharashtrian Bhogichi Bhaji as both the curries celebrates the seasonal bounty of Winter vegetables. This vegetable casserole is typically served with poori and Shrikhand on festive occasions. You can serve it with Bajra roti or chapati as well.

The word Undhiyu means upside down in Gujarati. Seasonal vegetables are deep fried in the traditional recipe and cooked in earthen pots that are sealed and placed upside down in a fire pit dug in the ground . Source

Here i have shared an easy and guilt free recipe in which all the veggies along with methi muthia are steamed in a pressure cooker. This method requires comparatively less time and oil than the traditional method. I have adapted the recipe from here.

Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious days for Hindus and usually falls on 14th January. As the first festival in the year's calendar, it is eagerly awaited by one and all. It marks the end of the long winter, as the sun begins its northward journey and so this festival is called Uttarayan also. After sankranthi the days start becoming longer and warmer and the chill of winter declines. Farmers pray on the occasion to be blessed with bountiful harvest.

This harvest festival is celebrated in different parts of India by different names. In North India, large bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankranti , known as Lohri. In  many states of South India, it s celebrated for 4 day long festival called Pongal. In Gujarat it is known as Uttarayan, in Maharashtra , Makar Sankranti, in Uttar Pradesh as Khichri. Lord Sun is worshiped on this day and people take dip in holy rivers. 

#HarvestHarmony is the #178th theme on #FoodieMondayBloghop and this delicious and healthy Undhiyu is my contribution to the theme.


Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4-5


Vegetables for Undhiyu
  • 100 grams Surti papdi beans (hyacinth beans)
  • 100 grams purple yam
  • 5-6 small brinjals
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 medium size raw banana
  • 3-4 baby potatoes or 1 large potato , cubed
  • 50 grams fresh green chickpeas / choliya
  • 1 cup besan
  • 1 cup tightly packed methi leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger green chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of baking soda
For Masala:
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed scrapped coconut
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon roasted peanut powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger green chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste
Other Ingredients:
  • Oil for deep frying the muthia and for tempering the undhiyu
  • 1/4 teaspoon carom seeds
  •  1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida


Preparing vegetables for Undhiyu
  1. Wash the baby egg plants, remove the upper stalk and make 4 slit on each of them in such a way that they do not fall apart.
  2. String and pod the surti papdi beans. Rinse them well , strain and keep aside.
  3. Peel and chop the potatoes, yam, sweet potato and plantain.
  4. Mix everything under the list masala in a bowl. Do a taste test. Adjust the seasonings as per your taste.
  5. Stuff the masala inside the slits of the brinjal. 
Preparaing methi muthia 
  1. Take the chickpea flour and chopped fenugreek (methi)leaves in a bowl. Add all the ingredients under the list of muthia in it. Blend well. 
  2. Add little water and make a slightly sticky dough . Apply oil on your palms and shape the muthia. Deep fry the muthia in batches until they become crisp and golden brown from all sides. Remove them with a slotted ladle and allow to drain on absorbent paper. 

Cooking Undhiyu:
  1. In a pressure cooker, heat 2 tablespoon oil. Add carom seeds and cumin seeds. Fry the seeds for few seconds. 
  2. Next add asafoetida followed by the green chickpeas and the stringed and pod beans. Stir fry them for a minute or so. 

    3. Add the sweet potato, potato, plantain and yam pieces. Stir fry them also for a minute or so. Add the remaining masala and blend well. 

4. Next add the stuffed brinjal and add 1/2 cup of water to the pressure cooker. Sprinkle salt and cover the cooker with the lid. Cook for just 1 whistle and put off the flame. Open the lid once all the pressure has been released . Now add the fried methi muthia and simmer the undhiyu for 4-5 minutes.

  5. Serve the delicious undhiyu with poori and Shrikhand .

  Recipe Notes:
  • Do not over cook the veggies . The vegetables in Undhiyu should retain their shape and crunch.
  • Left over methi muthia can be served as tea time snack with some chutney or dip of your choice.
  • Undhiyu can be made with available winter veggies. Feel free to substitute one or two veggies as per availability. For instance normal potatoes can be substituted for baby potatoes, yam for purple yam etc.
For more Makar Sankranti recipes, check out the following posts from my blog.



Sunday, 6 January 2019

Multigrain Methi Muthia Recipe / Steamed Dumplings

Muthia is a traditional Gujarati snack that can be steamed or deep-fried. Basically, muthia is fist-size dumpling usually made with chickpea flour and Fenugreek leaves but a variety of vegetables and flours can be used to make it. Here I have made methi muthia using multigrain flour, have steamed them in a steamer and then tempered the bite-size pieces. The multigrain methi muthia turned out to be a delicious tea time snack, although it can be served at breakfast as well. I have served it with a lip-smacking Coriander chutney. This steamed version of muthia can be made ahead of time and tempered just before serving. Muthia is also used in a mixed vegetable curry called Undhiyo, another Gujarati delicacy.

My first encounter with this delicious dish was at one of my Gujarati friend, Shradha Patel's house some 5 years back. She had made the deep fried version of methi muthia using chickpea flour, whole wheat flour, and semolina. In fact, not only muthia, but I have had a chance to taste most of the popular Gujarati dishes like Handvo and Undhiyo at her place. I make methi muthia mostly during winter months as we do not get methi all year round in Mohali. Bottle gourd muthia tastes great as well. You can deep fry the muthia instead of steaming if you prefer. Often, instead of mixing the different flours together i use the Thalipeeth Bhajani ( Roasted multigrain Flour Mix from Maharashtrian Cuisine) to make this muthia. (Click on the highlighted words for the recipe)

Following are some more Gujarati recipes from this blog for your reference. Just click on the highlighted name of the dish for the recipe.

Instant Khaman Dhokla , Kutchi DabeliBhakarwadiGujarati Dal DhokliKhandvi using Pressure Cooker.

#MagicofFreshMethiLeaves is the theme for #177th #FoodieMondayBloghop and this delicious and healthy Multigrain Methi Muthia is my contribution towards the theme. 


Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4-5

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped methi leaves / Fenugreek leaves
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour / besan
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour / ata
  • 2 tablespoon sorghum flour / jowar ata
  • 2 tablespoon pearl millet flour / bajra ata
  • 2 tablespoon semolina / suji
  • 2 tablespoon oats flour
  • 2 tablespoon curd
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida / hing
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon green chili paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste
For tempering
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2-3 dry red chilies, de-seeded
  1. To make the muhia dough, take all the flours and spices in a bowl and mix well. Next, add chopped fenugreek leaves and curd and blend everything together. Keep aside for 10 minutes.  

2. Now add water little by little and make a soft dough. Grease your palms with oil and make 4-5 sausage shaped long rolls. Keep the steamer ready. Grease the steaming basket and place the muthia rolls on them and steam for about 15 minutes.

3. To check the done-ness, insert a toothpick or knife in the center of the roll. It should not be sticky. Allow the rolls to cool a bit, before slicing them .

4. Next heat oil in a pan for tempering. Add curry leaves followed by red chili pieces, and sesame seeds. Fry for a few seconds. Now add the sliced muthia to it and fry gently for 1-2 minutes. Put off the flame.

 5. Serve the delicious and healthy multigrain methi muthia at tea time with some dip or ketchup if you wish. It tastes great on its own though. I have served it with Coriander chutney

Recipe Notes: 
  • Do not steam the muthia for a long time as they turn dry after cooling.
  • Steamed muthia can be prepared ahead of time and stored in zip lock bags in the freezer for about a week. Thaw the muthia before use and then temper just before serving.
  • If you want to make the fried version, follow the same recipe until preparing the muthia dough. next instead of making long rolls, make small oblong rolls of the dough and deep fry them instead of steaming .
  •  Thalipeeth Bhajni (roasted multigrain flour mix from Maharashtrian Cuisine) can also be used to make muthia.
  • The proportion of flours can be adjusted as per preference or availability.
  • Grated bottle gourd can also be added in this multigrain muthia along with fenugreek leaves.
For more Methi (Fenugreek) recipes, check out the following recipes from my blog.