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BRINJAL DELICACIES TO BINGE; A Humble, Interesting & Globally Famous Delicacy.

LifestyleBRINJAL DELICACIES TO BINGE; A Humble, Interesting & Globally Famous Delicacy.

A nutrient rich vegetable, numerous benefits to offer us, it has a number of names attached to it and ways of working with this natural beauty laced vegetable has been with us since a very long time now, while most of us in India call it as Baingan and Vangi its varieties, sizes, shapes and names have found their place in several countries and in number of cuisines as well.

While it has been called Eggplant in the United States, Aubergine in England, the Italians fondly call it Melanzana, Arabic cuisine calls is Badinjan and the word Brinjal comes from the influence of the Portuguese. It is one ingredient most of us enjoy having in our meals once in a while and its adaptability in our recipes has been much appreciated by a number of food connoisseurs.

Brinjal oEggplant has been regarded as a member of the night shade family which means that both the fruit and the flower of the plant are considered edible. The word has become synonymous with the shape that looks like egg hence all those having a roundish oval shape to them would be addressed as eggplants!

We get brinjal in various shapes like the big bhartha variety used for making our all-time roasted flavoured baingan ka bhartha, the others include the long elongated ones, and the third category being the round or oval shaped eggplants. However, we also get white, light green, light purple and dark purple varieties as well in brinjal and each one of them has a unique character and role to attach when it gets ready to be dished out.

Health Benefits of Brinjal:

  • They are high in iron content hence ideal to be included in our diets, also considered heart healthy.
  • They assist in weight management, ideal to include in our weight watchers diet.
  • Brinjal is considered good for our hair, skin tone, bone health.
  • Eggplant is rich in fiber content and helps regulate cholesterol levels in our body.
  • They are helpful in treating anaemia and should be consumed in healthy ways to secure its positivity.
  • Brinjal is also regarded as an immunity boosting ingredient and vegetable with easy to use features.
  • Aubergines also help remove any toxic build ups in our system and assist in flushing them out.
  • Brinjal helps in our digestive system and also keeps our mind going healthy, it is also high in water content and moisture.

 

 

*Why do brinja discolour or go brown when we cut them?

A very commonly raised query by people and the simple reason being that since they are high in iron content, when we cut them they start oxidising as they get in touch with the outside oxygen in the air.

Some of the ways to ward off the browning or change in color of eggplants and to reduce the ph level is to use salt, vinegar or lime juice when we cut them, either place them in a bowl of water with salt in it or we can also add a few drops of lime juice/vinegar while they are being cooked.

 

CULINARY USES OF BRINJAL:

 

  • The most popular recipe in our Indian kitchen remains baingan ka bhartha, an awesome yummy and robust flavor which tells us much before that its cooking up!
  • We also use it in making pakodas, bhajiyas, just having them fried with dry spices, baingan cutlets, brinjal patties etc as well.
  • Baked aubergines with tomato sauce, cheese and herbs, stuffed eggplants with mincemeat, soy keema, tofu scramble.
  • Bhagara baingan, Achari baingan ki subzi, baingan mussallam, baingan aloo, bharli vangi, masale bhaath, baingan ka pulao, stuffed baby brinjal with peanut, coconut and til ka masala.
  • Taking it to the international kitchens we have it in a batter fried from the French kitchen called as brinjal beignets, the Chinese love it stir fried with combination of sauces and sesame oil and seeds.
  • The Japanese would do them in their batter coated preparation called tempura which would be batter fried and served with variety of dips, sauces, wasabi etc.
  • The Italians love making melanzana parmigiana, their most popular brinjal recipe, sliced, layered, fresh garlic & tomato sauce, herbs, parmesan cheese and olives, baked to perfection.
  • Arabic cooking uses badinjan in curries and gravies called marag, rice preparations, and also in their mezze platter with dips like Baba Ganoush and muttabbal which use roasted eggplant.
  • Brinjal also taste good when we lightly marinate them and grill them/pan fry them with spices/ add them to stir fry dishes/ toppings on bruschettas/ with sun-dried tomato and garlic as a pizza topping as well.

Here are a couple of easy to make interesting Recipes with BRINJAL:

Recipe-1] Baked Brinjal Roll Ups in Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

Long elongated eggplants- 200gms, sliced vertically.

For the stuffing:

Oil- 2 tbsp.

Chopped Garlic- 1 tbsp.

Chopped Onions- 1 medium size.

Fresh tomatoes- 2 cups puree

Salt and pepper to taste

Mixed herbs- 1 tsp

Chili flakes- 1 tsp

Soy keema/ chicken keema- 1 cup

Green peas- ½ cup boiled

Garam masala powder- 1 tsp

Water/stock as needed

Grated cheese- ½ cup

Chopped parsley/coriander- 2 tbsp.

Lime juice- 1 tbsp.

 

Method:

  1. Prepare all the ingredients for the recipe.
  2. Apply salt and little olive oil on the sliced brinjal and lightly grill them in a pan/non-stick tava for 2-3 mins.
  3. Heat oil add in half of the garlic,onions, add in the tomato puree,salt,herbs,chili flakes,mix well simmer for 10 -12 mins,add little white wine if desired, keep it aside.
  4. In a separate pan, heat little oil/butter saute the remaining garlic and onions, add in the soaked soy keema or chicken mince and green peas, salt and garam masala powder and saute it well, add a tsp of maida if it leaves too much water and continue cooking on a low flame, add little water and little of the tomato sauce as prepared above to cook the mixture- also add additional veggies of your choice as needed.
  5. To assemble the dish finally, in a baking tray /dish place the tomato sauce at the base, roll up the keema filling in between each brinjal slice, roll them up one by one place it in the tray top with grated cheese, cover with a foil and bake it in a pre-heated oven at 180 Deg Celsius for 12-15 mins, later open it brown the cheese from the top/can also be made on a low flame covered and cooked on the gas as well and serve hot garnish with greens/olives and serve with garlic bread.

 

 

Recipe-2] NUTTY BRINJAL DIP

Ingredients

Big brinjal for roasting- 400 gms, roast, peel, chop

For the dip:

Olive oil- 2- 3 tbsp.

Tahini paste- 2 tbsp.- white sesame seed paste

Chopped garlic- 1 tsp.

Chopped onion-1/2cup

Chopped green chilies- 1 tsp

Chopped coriander -2 tbsp.

Boiled chickpea/rajma/ chauli beans- ½ cup puree with the roasted eggplant with little chilled water.

Salt and pepper to taste

White wine-2 tbsp. optional.

Chat masala-1/2 tsp

Roasted crushed jeera-1/2 tsp

Lime juice-2 tbsp.

Mint leaves-10-12

Black and green olives- 4-5 no

Roasted crushed peanuts/ almonds/ pine nuts- 2 tbsp.

Method:

  1. Prepare all the ingredients for the dip
  2. In a pan heat up the oil, add in the garlic, chilies, onions and saute until light pink, add in the eggplant and bean mash.
  3. Add salt and pepper, herbs and chili flakes to taste, white wine if desired, cook on a low flame for 3-4 mins stir well.
  4. Remove from the flame and add in the tahini, lime juice, chat masala, coriander, mint, olives and mix, cool and serve it warm or chilled with snacks/chips/skewered grilled prawns/chicken/paneer/mushrooms/roast potatoes etc.

Recipe- 3] EGGCITING STUFFED BRINJALS

Ingredients

Big brinjal- 450gms, cut them half vertically, scoop them out, chop up the inside flesh, salt the cups and deep fry them/oven roast them with little oil and keep aside.

For the egg and veg stuffing:

Oil- 2 tbsp.

Onions- 2 small chop

Tomatoes-2 med size chop

Green chilies- 2-3 chop

Salt and pepper to taste

Eggs- 4- 5 no

Green peas- ½ cup boiled.

Chopped red/yellow capsicums- ½ cup

Boiled sweet corn- ½ cup

Garam masala powder-1 tsp

Red chili powder- ½ tsp

Dhaniya jeera powder- ½ tsp

Schezuan sauce- 2 tbsp.

Tomato ketchup- 2 tbsp.

Cheese- ¼ cup grated

Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp.

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

  1. Prepare all the ingredients for the recipe.
  2. Heat oil add in the onions, chilies and saute well, add in the scooped chopped brinjal flesh,salt,tomatoes, spices and saute well.
  3. Add in the peas, corn and peppers and saute well, simmer for 3-4 mins and cook well.
  4. Now add in the eggs scramble them well and make it like a bhurji concept/ in place of eggs we can also use soft textured tofu or paneer as well for a variation.
  5. Check for seasonings, add in schezuan sauce,tomato sauce and mix well, stuff the pre-cooked brinjal cups and top with cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 Deg Celsius for 12-15 mins.
  6. Remove and serve hot garnished with olives/herbs etc along with toasties/herbed focaccia bread.

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BRIEF ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DR. KAVIRAJ KHIALANI – CELEBRITY MASTER CHEF IS A MUMBAI-BASED FOOD & HOSPITALITY CONSULTANT. HE HAS WORKED WITH ESTEEMED BRANDS LIKE THE TAJ GROUP OF HOTELS, KUWAIT AIRWAYS AND MANY MORE. BESIDES HAVING SPECIALISED IN OVER 33 PLUS INTERNATIONAL CUISINES CHEF KAVIRAJ IS A RENOWNED NAME IN THE WORLD OF HOSPITALITY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT. HE HAS ALSO BEEN FEATURED ON STAR PLUS & COLORS TELEVISION. AN AWARDEE OF THE BHARAT VIDYA RATAN AWARD, BEST CHEF ASIA AWARD AND MANY MORE ACCOLADES MAKE HIM ONE OF THE ICONIC NAMES IN THE CULINARY WORLD.

 

 

 

 

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