Baingan Bharta with a twist!! (Pressure cooked version)

Baingan Bharta literally means mashed eggplant. A widely prepared dish in Northern India, the best ones are available in Punjab. Usually, baingan bharta is made over a flame – using a tandoor, gas flame, or oven. At times, people use microwave as well. But what do you do if don’t have any of these in your kitchen?

Yes, this is a version without a flame. I agree that smoked brinjal smells heavenly and takes the dish to a whole new level. But this modified recipe is good too! Here, I don’t have a flame gas – It is instead a hot plate. So, I used my sister’s recipe (who was incidentally cooking bharta like this when she was in Sydney using basic kitchen tools).

I tried it today for our lunch and it was awesome. And so here is what I did:

Ingredients –

1 big brinjal / eggplant

1 large onion – chopped finely (you can even grate it or mixer it if you don’t like chopping onions)

1 medium tomato – finely chopped (again, if needed u can purée it)

2 small green chillies

3 garlic cloves – peeled

1/2 teaspoon ginger paste

1/2 teaspoon garlic paste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon chilli powder (adjust according to taste)

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

Salt to taste

2 tablespoon oil

Coriander leaves for garnish

Method –

  1. Cut brinjal into half. Confirm no black region is there or discard the black region. Use whole brinjal only if it’s all clear. Fill the halves with water to cover them. Add peeled garlic cloves to this water. Pressure-cook for 2 to 3 whistles.
  2. Once it has cooled, drain the water. Peel off the brinjal skin. Mash the skinless brinjal and garlic together. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add chillies and fry till it changes colour.
  4. Add chopped / grated onions and fry till it turns pink.
  5. Add ginger and garlic paste and fry till the raw smell vanishes.
  6. Add the tomatoes and cook till oil separates.
  7. Add all the spice powders including salt and give it a stir mixing everything together evenly.
  8. Now add the set-aside mashed brinjal and garlic mix to this and give it a stir to mix evenly with spices.
  9. Take it off the stove. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with roti or with dal-rice.

And this is how the final product turned out!



Spinach-Carrot Rice

Time is scarce. Especially if you have a 14-month old at home who likes to keep you on your toes with his mischief. You cannot leave him alone and finish your work. He needs to be constantly observed and on the other hand, when hunger strikes – you have to satisfy his tummy (and palate) with different yet nutritious foods.

Anyway, even if he isn’t bored of eating the same food daily, I surely will get bored. I love to enjoy different delicacies. Even though my son has just started to speak, he has made it clear that he likes his food. He isn’t overly fussy – the food just needs to taste well and not be very spicy.

That is where these one hot-pot meals come in handy. I can cook them with ease and after cooking, there are lesser utensils to wash-up. Also I can cook while keeping a watch on him.

He loves carrots – boiled or in a raita. No doubt this is good – As carrots are rich in vitamin A, fibre and minerals. This will help in building good eye-sight. On the other hand, my hubby doesn’t prefer plain carrot dishes. He thinks they are a bit bland even if I add spices.

So, to satisfy both parties – I added a little variant to carrot in this recipe. I used spinach. Again, spinach is also rich in iron, folic acid, and other vitamins and minerals. So, what’s better than having a nutritious meal which tastes well!

What’s cooking – Spinach-Carrot Rice

Ingredients needed:

1 cup rice (wash it and soak it in water for 15 minutes before adding to the recipe)
1/2 a packet spinach – washed and chopped finely
2 carrots – washed, peeled and grated
1 onion – outer skin removed and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 chilly- finely chopped [if you need it to be more spicy, you can add more]
1 to 2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chili powder ( optional) – as you are already using chilies
1 teaspoon cumin – coriander powder
Salt to taste
2 cups water.

So let’s start:

Since it’s a one hot pot meal. I will be cooking it in one vessel – i.e. a pressure cooker here. You can even cook it in rice cooker, if needed.

1. Heat 1-2 tbsp. oil in a pressure cooker.
2. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them splutter.
3. Add the finely chopped chilies and garlic. Once garlic start turning light brownish, add the chopped onions and stir it till they turn pinkish in color.
5. At this stage, add the grated carrot and give it a stir such that it gets mixed fully.
6. Add all the masalas – turmeric powder; chilli powder; cumin-coriander powder, and salt.
7. Add the chopped spinach and give it a toss (adding it at this stage will help in retaining its color.  it will become dark in color only after getting cooked)
8. Add the soaked rice without water. I use 1:2 rice:water ratio which results in good cooked rice and doesn’t become mushy in texture. You can adjust the water as this differs based on the rice used, just ensure that rice should be fluffy, not mushy.
9. Close the lid and cook for 3 whistles.

Once, pressure is released completely, give it a mix, and serve it in a plate along with plain yoghurt or cucumber raita.

This colorful and nutritious meal is ready!