When I was a teenager I used to visit a friends house…virtually daily. She used to be frequently annoyed when I would just stand and watch her mum cook. It facinated me and I would mentally clock her method and go home and write down her method.
I used to eat alot at her home. That was my favourite bit!
Food was cooked differently from how it was at mine and the smell was so encompassing I used to keep my fingers crossed I would be asked to stop for the meal.
It was decades later I understood what that one defining ingredient was that permeated my nostrils and played havoc with my head…I spent years consumed trying to recreate that smell.
After endless trials and tribulations I did it!
This dish, each time I cook it or others like it, I can now replicate that aroma. It could never be identical to those I enjoyed but its near and its full of nostalgia. I was 13yrs old but that was my first step into north Indian cuisine.
I have never looked back.
Here is my recipe to recapture 1 of many dishes that I hold dear.
1 large aubergine cut into 2 inch cubes or thick slices.
2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into thick strips or chunks like aubergines.
1 green pepper cut as above!
In a large pan add some oil.
1 tsp of tumeric in the oil and 1 tsp salt.
Fry the potatoes till golden brown, then do the same with aubergines. You want good colour and aubergines to part cook.
3 tbsp of veg oil
1 tsp of Cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves minced
1 medium-sized finely diced red onion
2 tsp of salt
1 stick cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp turmeric powder.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Kasuri methi leaves
1 tsp of Gharam masala
Handful of fresh coriander
1 tsp Kasuri methi crushed.
In the same pan add more oil so you have about 3 to 4 tbsp oil there.
Add the cumin seeds, bayleaf, cinnamon stick and tear the 2 dried red chillies into the oil. Stir till chillies and cumin change darker!
Add minced garlic…stir for few seconds then add onions.
When onions golden brown add 1 tsp garlic/ginger paste and stir in. Cook this well.
Add in your chopped green chillies, quick stir then add 2 blitzed fresh tomatoes.
Cook this for a while on low.
Then add your powdered spices, salt and sugar. Cook for few minutes stiring.
Then cover and cook on med for 5 minutes stiring occasionally till oil is split and floating.
Add half cup of water, bring to simmer.
Cook of the water content till oil splits again.
A good way is by making a well in the middle and watch for oil coming in and around outer sides.
Now add your aubergines, green peppers and potatoes. Give good stir.
Here I add few sliced green chillies. Cook covered on low till aubergines really soft and disintegrating and potatoes almost done.
Add 2 tbsp cream, 2 tsp Kasuri methi.
Stir in on low flame and cook with lid on for few more minutes.
Stir well, add fresh coriander and 1 tsp gharam masala. Stir again, add another tsp dried methi cook for 2 mins then serve hot.
It should be a thick creamy sauce of aubergines and a delectable aroma of methi and bell peppers.
Serve with hot chappatis or naan.
Step by step process below:
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