Eggplants in a spicy Coriander sauce

This is another authentic Andhra recipe that I had tasted at a friends place long back. The fresh coriander leaves and ginger gives this dish a unique flavor, and the combination of silky, tender eggplants when paired with the fresh herbs can not go wrong.

The recipe below is adapted from here, but the only addition I made was that I added onions, and it gave a nice flavor as that is how I remember my friend making this dish.

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped length wise

2 long purple eggplants

2 cups fresh coriander leaves, chopped

3 to 4 green chillies (adjust according to your spiciness)

1" fresh ginger, chopped

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

For tempering:

1 tbsp cooking oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp urad dal

4 or 5 fresh curry leaves

Method:

1) Remove the ends of the eggplants, and cut them up lengthwise into about 1" pieces. Place the chopped eggplants in a bowl of salted water. This will help release the bitterness from the eggplants.

2) Take the chopped cilantro, green chillies, salt in blender and make a coarse paste without water. If you have a mortar and pestle, you can use that.

3) Heat oil in a skillet. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal and when it starts to splutter add the curry leaves. Fry it for a few seconds. Follow it by sliced onions, and fry it until translucent.

4) Drain the water from the eggplants, and add it into the skillet. Sprinkle turmeric powder and salt. Stir fry for a minute or two. Cover the skillet partially, and let the eggplants cook. You can sprinkle little water n between to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the eggplants are soft, add the coriander leaves paste, and mix well. Stir fry for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the fresh coriander smell emanates from the dish!!

Serve with rice or rotis!

Onion Pakoras/fritters

Who does not like Onion Pakoras?! It's a perfect tea-time snack on a rainy day, or any other day! Thinly sliced onions mixed along with spices, besan and deep fried till golden can be a treat along side a hot cup of tea! This can be made in a jiffy - whenever I have remaining besan batter left over from deep frying anything, I simply add sliced onions, rice flour, some crushed coriander seeds, and voila, you have onion pakora batter ready to fry!

There are various recipes, but here is my version which is very easy.

Ingredients:

2 medium onion, sliced thinly lengthwise

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp red chili powder

1/2 cup rice flour or corn starch (adjust this accordingly)

3/4 cup besan/bengal gram powder (adjust this accordingly)

salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Method:

1) In a bowl, add the thinly sliced onions, red chili powder, rice flour, besan (bengal gram powder), salt and mix well until everything is combined without using any water. Set this aside for about 10 to 15 minutes.

2) The mixture will be much softer now as onions releases moisture which should be good enough to bind everything together. At this point, add the coriander seeds and crush it a little using a mortar and psetle. If you feel its a bit watery, you can add a little rice flour and mix again.

3) Heat oil in a frying pan, and when oil is smoking hot, drop the onion mixture in small batches, and fry until golden. When done, carefully remove using a slotted spoon and drain on a kitchen paper towel.

Serve hot with Chai!