Ok, Darlings, no kidding this time, Miami is suffering a cold snap! It was all of 57 degrees yesterday! And down to 32 F last night! La Diva even had to put the heat on!!! I know I sound like I’m whining and I am. I have no right to complain, after all I just came back up from the hot tub with a glass of red and my sidekick DJ Nevah L8. But don’t hate me darlings, we all have our cross to bear and come summer La Diva will have to face the dreaded hurricane season! (On a serious note: I hope I get a farm share this week and there is no damage to the crops. Frostbitten fennel, anyone?)
Darlings, welcome to DAY THREE of the Barack O’Bollywood feast in celebration of the inauguration of President Obama! If you are anything at all like me, you are still in shock and awe of what has taken place….but happy and hopeful! La Diva is all about POSITIVE CHANGE!
Going out for a fine Indian dinner is always such a treat for La Diva and she loves all the fabulous food accompaniments that make eating Indian so special. I’m talking about the chutneys, the pickles and the raitas that you put on the table to add to your dishes to cool and enhance. Depending on what dish you make, these can include:
- Pickles such as lime (very spicy) or eggplant (mildly spicy)
- Chutneys are popular, especially mango chutney (sweet or hot) and can come in a whole slew of styles and flavors including tomato, mint and onion.
- Desiccated coconut flakes: not the sickly sweet kind you use for cakes but simply dried coconut flakes, best bought in an Asian grocery.
- Sliced banana
- Raitas, like the chutneys, can come in a wide variety as well. They are yogurt-based and can include vegetables like cucumber or onion or even fruits like banana, pineapple and mango.
- Sliced onions, cucumbers and tomatoes
- Lemon wedges
Now, let’s get to the dinner! I have to admit: IT WAS THE BOMB. Ok, that wasn’t too humble but when it rocks, darling, it rocks! And this dinner rocked! DJ Nevah L8, being a Sydney-sider as well as having a true-blue curry-eating Englishman for a father, has had his share of authentic Indian fare. He was thrilled to have the home-made supper and immediately called his father to brag all about it. The flavors were divine, the vindaloo spicy without burning the roof of your mouth, the eggplant full of flavor and texture and the greens were spicy and smooth. But the best part about it was that it was all so easy to prepare. I didn’t need a million ingredients and used many of the same spices yet every dish tastes so completely different. Isn’t it amazing how that happens when cooking Indian food?
Here’s the final recipe for the eggplant and then we’ll talk about how to put it all together. Again, this recipe is courtesy of Charmaine Solomon from her cookbook: The Complete Asian Cookbook. By the way, I wrote to Charmaine the other day to tell her about my “shout out” to her on this blog and she wrote me back with appreciation! Yay! La Diva LOVES to praise others for their efforts and was happy to get a positive reply.
Eggplant puree or brinjal bartha
2 large eggplants
2 large ripe tomatoes
3 T ghee or oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 t finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 t ground turmeric
1/2 t chili powder
2 t salt
1 t garam masala
Wash and dice eggplants and tomatoes. It is not necessary to peel either. Heat ghee (or oil) in a saucepan and gently fry onion and ginger until they are soft and starting to brown. Add turmeric, chili powder, salt and garam masala and mix thoroughly. Add eggplant and tomato, stir well and cover. Reduce heat to low, cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally to prevent vegetables from sticking to the pan. Cook until liquid evaporates and puree is thick and dry enough to scoop up with Indian breads. Serve hot or cold.
- Mint chutney and yogurt
- Indian beef vindaloo
- Saag (pureed greens)
- Brinjal bartha (eggplant puree)
- Steamed basmati rice
- Plain naan
- Eggplant pickle
- Mango chutney
- Lime pickle
- Cucumber mint raita
- Red Stripe beer
We started the meal off with some papadom and yogurt with mint chutney. I made the papadom in the microwave, which is less fattening than frying but maintains the papadom’s crispy texture. It’s so EASY! I used the Whole Foods house brand of naan bread which I lightly oiled and grilled in a pan on the stove. I buttered it and kept it warm in wrapped foil. I was surprised at how well it turned out and tasted for pre-made bread! The cucumber mint raita was used with the beef vindaloo to cool the heat. I served the pickles and chutney with the main course, but we didn’t touch them, the dishes needed no extra condiments. Previous to the dinner, I had looked for Taj Mahal or Kingfisher beers, two favored Indian brews, but was not successful. So, instead served the Caribbean brand so popular in Jamaica, Red Stripe.
So, darlings, this wraps up the Barack O’Bollywood Indian feast! I hope you enjoyed our journey through the Indian sub-continent and would love your comments on your triumphs or trials. Namaste!
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Originally posted 2009-01-22 18:32:00.