Curried Greens and Eggplant (Baigun Sak)

fresh greeens:

Here’s another in my serialisation of recipes from my culinary muse Yamuna Devi, a wonderful cook and yogini.

Curried Greens and Eggplant (Baigun Sak)

The “heat” in this sak should be noticeable. Fresh green chilies, though unpredictable in strength, are usually milder than dried red chilies. To be authentic, this dish should be a bit hot and spicy. Bengalis sauté the greens quickly over high heat, allowing them to wilt, then soften, but still retain exuberant color and fresh flavour.

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): a few minutes,
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes,
Serves: 4 or 5.

4 tablespoons peanut oil + 2 tablespoons mustard oil,
or 6 tablespoons vegetable oil,
1 small eggplant (8-10 ounces/230-285 g),cut into ¾ -inch (2 cm) cubes,
½ teaspoon garam masala,
½ teaspoon turmeric,
1-2 whole green jalapeno chilies, dried whole red chilies, Anaheim chilies or Yellow wax chilies (or as desired),
1 teaspoon each crushed fennel seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds,
½ cassia or bay leaf,
1 pound (455g) fresh spinach, trimmed, washed and coarsely chopped, or one 10-ounce (285 g)
package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and pressed dry,
1 teaspoon Jaggery or maple syrup,
½ tablespoon salt,
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice,
4 or 5 lemon or lime wedges.

Heat 4 tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil in a nonstick wok or large frying pan over moderately high heat.. When it is hot but not smoking, drop in the eggplant and stir-fry until reddish-brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with garam masala and turmeric, and toss to coat the cubes with spices.

Add the mustard oil or the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to the pan. Heat the mustard oil to the smoking point for a few seconds, but only allow the vegetable oil to become hot. Immediately add the chilies, spice seeds and cassia or bay leaf, and in a few seconds add the greens, sugar and salt. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the lemon or lime juice and fried eggplant, toss gently and reheat the eggplant. Serve immediately, garnished with lemon or lime wedges.

Posted by Kurma on 25/2/11; 4:05:07 AM

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