This blog is dedicated to Mum, my greatest mentor. It is a compilation of simple recipes - Bengali, Indian, Burmese and Continental, among others. All of these recipes have been tested in my kitchen. Most use everyday ingredients found at your local market, but some use specialty ingredients available at Asian and/or Indian markets. Comments are welcome and members are invited to send in any recipes they would like to share.
Eggplant is probably the best loved vegetable (or fruit?) in our family. My son, especially, can have it everyday, cooked in countless ways. On this blog alone, I have tagged this vegetable at least 25 times, each recipe unique from the rest.
Begun (eggplant) Pora (burnt) gets its name from the way in which this dish is prepared. Using the big globe eggplant, slits are made on the bottom opposite the stalk end, rubbed with oil and baked in a 400*F oven for 30 minutes or so. Turning the eggplant occasionally, it is baked until the skin appears singed and wrinkled and the center is soft when tested for doneness. Alternatively, it can be charred over an open gas flame or placed on an iron skillet on the stovetop and grilled. After it comes to room temperature, the skin is removed and the pulp is hand-mixed with salt and mustard oil along with diced onions, green chilies and cilantro. It is served as a salad or first course in a meal, and is eaten with steamed rice.
Look for a firm, glossy skin and pick the lightest eggplant in the pile. The heavier ones have more seeds and could be bitter to the taste. A good clue to picking a practically seedless eggplant is to check the bellybutton at the bottom. Pick the one with the roundest navel (boy eggplant) as opposed to an elongated navel (girl eggplant). Believe it or not, eggplant(s?) are not gender-neutral and the boy eggplant is better for eating because it has less seeds.