Thursday, 29 January 2015

Andhra Special Bhagara Baingan (Eggplant in Peanut Sauce)

There are various Bhagara Baingan recipes on net and this cuisine is a specialty of Hyderabad but I find my recipe to be appealing. However, I will not be able to assure you with the authentication of this cuisine as I have altered the recipe according to my taste bud and flavor. The dominant flavor of white cumin seeds tends to put me off so I replaced it with shahi jeera or black cumin seeds. Apart from that, I thought adding aromatic spices such as cinnamon, star anise and clove would elevate the flavor of this eggplant dish to another level. Blending these spices with coriander seeds and lots of dry red chillies add more appetizing colour and compensate with the richness from the peanut and sesame seeds. The sourness promoted by the tomato and tamarind also help to revoke the richness of the peanut sauce dish. This dish is best served with Kuska biryani or plain biryani or Naan flat bread.

Eggplant in Peanut Sauce


Ingredients :


Big red onion : 1
Medium ripe tomato :  1
Green chillies : 4
Small eggplants (round) : 11
Tamarind paste : 1/2  tsp 
Ginger garlic paste : 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
Oil : for deep the eggplants
Palm sugar : 1 tsp (optional)
Salt : as needed

Chilli- Peanut Paste : (dry roast and grind to smooth paste by adding water)

Dry red chillies: 5-6 ( adjust accordingly)
Coriander seeds: 1 1/4 tbsp
Grated coconut : 3 tbsp
White sesame seeds : 3 tbsp
Raw peanuts (without skin) : 3 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds : 6
Star anise : 1
Cloves : 3
Cinnamon : 1/2 inch piece
Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds : 1/4 tsp

To Temper :

Cooking oil : 3 tbsp
Black cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf : 1

Method :

  1. Dry roast the ingredients under 'Dry Roast' section till light golden brown in a pan. You can fry peanut and sesame seeds separately without oil. Grind them with enough water to a smooth paste. 

2. Finely chop the onion and tomato. Slit the green chillies and extract tamarind paste. 

3. Make four intersections to the eggplant starting from the smooth bottom of it till you reach the stem of the eggplant without cutting through it.. This is to allow the peanut paste to infuse all flavor into the fried eggplant. Deep fry the eggplants with added salt till golden brown. Drain the fried eggplants into a plate with absorbent paper.

4. Add oil into heated pan, temper all ingredients under 'To Temper' section. Then start adding finely chopped onion and slitted green chillies. Fry till onion is translucent and slightly brown in color. 

5. Next, add finely chopped tomato and salt. Fry till tomato is mashed. Now, you may add peanut paste, 1/2 tsp tamarind paste, 1 tsp jaggery, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and enough salt. 

6. Add enough water, and fried eggplants, cook them on low flame for 15-20 minutes till the eggplant is cooked well and reach the consistency of gravy you prefer. Garnish 3 tbsp of coriander leaves. This gravy should not be too watery or thick.

7. This gravy is tasty with flat breads, biryani or plain rice. 


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Indian Style of Spicy Ginger Sauce ( multi-purpose just like chilli ketchup)

I stopped using tomato ketchup or chilli sauce after finding a great alternative. Ginger sauce has all sort of Indian spices that works well as a condiment for fried fish fried chicken, burger, samosa etc. Plus it has long life storage too without preservatives. Give a try.

Indian Style of Spicy Ginger Sauce

Ingredients :


Young ginger (chopped) : 1 1/4 cup
Tamarind paste : 1/2 cup
Palm sugar :  1/8 cup to 1/4 cup ( I've used only 1/8 cup as I don't like sweet pickle)
Garlic cloves : 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder mix : 1/2 cup
Salt : 1/4 cup 

Chilli powder mix for the pickle : (dry roast and grind to fine powder)

Dry red chillies: 20
Coriander seeds: 1 1/2 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds : 1/2 tsp

To Temper the pickle :

Indian sesame oil : 1 cup
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
Dry red chillies : 3
Curry leaves : 3 sprigs
Garlic cloves (chopped roughly) : 10 

Method :


1. Dry roast the ingredients mentioned above the 'Chilli powder mix for pickle' section lightly and grind them to fine powder. Keep that aside.

2. Boil one big lime size of tamarind along with 1/2 cup of water for 5 minutes till soft. Remember to discard the tamarind seeds if available. Let the liquid cool at room temperature.

3. By adding 2 tsp of cooking oil, saute 1 1/4 cups of chopped young ginger till golden brown. This process is a must to get rid of the raw smell of ginger. Keep aside.

3. Next, by adding 1 cup of Indian sesame oil to the heated pan, temper ingredients under 'Temper' section. 

4. Now, in a blender, add 1/2 cup of chilli powder mix, boiled tamarind and its liquid, turmeric powder, palm sugar, 1/2 cup garlic cloves and 1/4 of salt. Blend to smooth red paste and add little bit of boiled water if the consistency is way too thick but not watery. 

5. Add the tempered ingredients and its oil and mix till well incorporated. Store the sauce in a clay pot jar or sterilized jar with air tight lid. The sauce will mature or ferment as it ages. The sauce serves in various way especially as a condiment for Indian flat bread, rice, biryani and burger. This sauce if well kept will last for 1 year. That's why we should not reduce the amount of oil used here. Use only dry spoon to take the sauce from the bottle. Always keep in the refrigerator for longer use.

Quick Home-made Khoya Gulab Jamun ( Mini Milk Cake Balls in Palm Sugar Water)

This gulab jamun recipe was adapted from I find the jamun recipe to be simple and easy to prepare when you don't have khoya in hand. Nisha has given us detailed explanation on how to prepare instant khoya at home using milk powder and full cream milk. I didn't follow the recipe to the exact amount given but altered here and there as my first attempt of making jamun using the same amount was a disaster. I alleviated the butter and sugar amount. A lot of people said you could never make gulab jamuns sugar water by using jaggery or palm sugar but when I made using that ingredient, I didn't even suspect the difference. Making jamuns with cooked milk is a divine pleasure it has the creamy, milky and buttery texture that simply melts in your mouth. Every bite is a great experience and definitely it makes you to devour more.

Gulab Jamun

Ingredients for making Gulab Jamun Dough (using Fernleaf, New Zealand Full Cream Milk Powder) :

Full Cream milk powder : 1 cup plus 1/8 cup
Full Cream milk or evaporated milk : 1/2 cup
Ghee or clarified butter : 1/8 cup
Whole Wheat Pastry flour : 4 1/2 tbsp
Yoghurt (Not the sour one) : 4 tsp (depends on the moisture of the mawa)
Salt : a pinch


1. In a heated pan, add 3 tbsp to 4 tbsp clarified butter along with 1/2 cup of milk. Let it boil for 5 minutes. 

2. Then, gradually add in the milk powder, little at a time by stirring continuously.

3. Keep stirring till the milk dough comes together as a ball. While stirring you can lightly press the dough to smooth any lumps and most of the liquid must be absorbed through mixing. If you find the 1/2 cup of milk too little for 1 cup of milk powder, then you may add little milk while stirring or had you find the 1 cup of milk powder to be not enough for the 1/2 cup of milk, then add few tbsp of milk powder. This is actually to ensure the formation of a dough. 

4. This is what we call 'Instant Mawa or Khoya'. Let it cool at room temperature and later keep in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5. You may find the mawa to be harden after keeping in the fridge. Do not have any qualm. Crumble it to a breadcrumbs texture by using the tip of your fingers.

6. Now incorporate the whole wheat pastry flour to the crumbled mawa along with a pinch of salt. Little at a time mix the yoghurt. Bring the mixture to a smooth, pliable and unsticking consistency ( You have to decide the amount of yoghurt based on your mawa plus ww flour mixture). Don't knead the dough for a long time as it will make the gulab jamun chewy and hard. Sometimes, you may find cracks appear on the surface of the balls, it is because of not enough of moisture so don't hesitate to add little yoghurt.

7. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. After that, pinch a small dough and roll it gently on your palm without adding much pressure to the dough. You need to coat your palm with some ghee to help you shape the balls. 

8. You need sufficient oil for deep frying the balls. Keep the flame on very low, add only four balls at a time and fry till deep brown colour. Never increase the flame or crowd the wok with lots of balls as they may crack. Drained and collected balls are laid on a plate with oil absorbent tissue.

Ingredients for making Palm Sugar Water:

Jaggery or Vellam or Palm Sugar : 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp
(I used very little amount of sugar as I have no preference for overly sweet dessert but you may add more according to your taste bud. When you add more sugar, then you have to increase the water level as we are trying to achieve not syrupy consistency but sugar water for soaking the balls)

Hot water : 1 cup
Cardamon pods : 6 (crushed)
Rose essence : a few drops


1. In a heavy bottomed pan, add 1 cup of hot water, palm sugar and crushed cardamon pods. Boil it gently for 15 minutes. Cool the sugar water to room temperature. (If using jaggery or palm sugar then, you may need to strain impurities in the sugar water)

How to assemble the Gulab Jamun in Sugar water :

1. Use wider dish, assemble the jamuns on a shallow dish. By using a ladle, gently pour sugar water on the assembled jamuns. You may not need to use all the sugar water but only use some to drench on the jamuns. Lots of liquid will over soak them or over sweet them and they will break easily.

2. Keep it in the refrigerator. Serve gulab jamuns with vanilla ice cream.