I have a dream, to cook in peace. That sounds so much like ABBA that I am changing that statement though that IS my dream.
Ok, so I want to cook in peace, in absolute silence with only sounds of nature around me, and by sounds of nature I do not mean kids talking, fighting, babbling and saying "Mommy" every 3rd second.
As much as I love these tiny mites, I do not believe that I need to run my cooking steps through them every time. I mean why does a toddler need to be carried so that she can see if I am doing tempering right. Even if she thinks I am doing something wrong and the meat is underdone, I am not going to listen to her, am I ? Who is the Boss around here, tell me.
And why every time that I grind something, there are tiny hands clinging on to my legs and wailing "Mik chi Mik chi" to clamber up. Why is the "Mik chi" the sixth wonder of the baby world ? What is so wonderful about tiny circles of yellow mustard seeds and flecks of green chillies dancing around in a glass jar and going krrrrkat kat krrrr ? I mean it is a great invention and all, close to the heels of a particle accelerator and makes my life very simple but does a baby need to see it in motion every time and be mesmerized.
What happened to cuddly elmo or even her sister's kid size juicer and blender ? Isn't that enough ?
To avoid such intrusions during cooking, I put the vent fan on very high and then turn on my magic bullet blender, praying silently for it to do its job quietly. But the little ears where ever they are hear it and come running, trying to see what the "mik chi" is doing this time. And demand to be held up, to observe the physics behind that chaos and to imbibe some theory that I am incapable of observing.
* Back home we called the blender or the food processor or any such contraption Mixie and I still tend to do that at home. Honestly I don't even know the difference between a Food processor and a blender. I have a Food Processor which has very bad work ethics and does not do my shorshe(mustard) or posto right while this blender does, that is all I know.
After all that if I made a decent Shorshe Begun thank your stars. Bengalis tend to eat a lot of shorshe or mustard or sarson or sorisha or senape and will douse everything on earth in this mustard sauce. Eggplants thankfully do a very good job when they are doused with mustard and Begun Shorshe, Shorshe Begun or Eggplants in Mustard Sauce are an all time favorite.
In this particular recipe I have used a friend's suggestion to add lots of fresh coriander while making the paste. Enough fresh green coriander to give the paste a pale greenish color which you will not see in any photo because my coriander was not fresh enough. Did I say, it needs to be F--R--E--S--H.
That is an unusual thing for a Bangali shorshe bata, the coriander. Bangali shorshe bata doe not have coriander, period. But this one does and that gives a nice flavor to the dish.
This dish also needs enough Mustard Oil, for the eggplant slices to be fried till they are dripping Mustardy goodness all over. If you are Mustard Oil averse and using Canola, do so, just don't come back and complain.
Enjoy this dish mixed with white rice and eaten with bare nimble fingers and thank the "Mik chi".
Serves about 8-10 people when served as one of many sides
Soak 4tbsp of Mustard Seeds + 1tbsp of Poppy Seeds in little water(about 1/4 cup) for 20-30 minutes. Note: Some of my friends will not use Posto or Poppy seeds but will add a little grated coconut while grinding. You can use lesser amount of Poppy seeds if you wish. Also if your mustard paste tends to get bitter, try switching the black mustard seeds with the yellow mustard seeds
Strain the seeds and grind above to a paste with
5 Green Chili
2 cups of fresh green Corriander Leaves
4 tsp of yogurt
and 3 tbsp water
Chop Eggplant in longitudinal pieces. Smear with salt and turmeric and keep aside. I have used 2 large eggplants(or 4 of the slender long ones) for this recipe.
Heat Mustard Oil to smoking. Fry the eggplant pieces to a light golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
Heat some fresh Mustard Oil. If you don't have Mustard Oil, use any other White Oil but Mustard Oil is best for this dish.
Temper with 1/2 tsp of Kalonji/Nigella seeds. When the spices pop, add the the mustard paste. Saute for a minute or two. Add 1 cup of water, salt to taste and let the gravy come to a boil .Then let it simmer for some time till gravy is thick and mustardy. If you like it hot add 1 tsp of red chili powder at this point. The gravy should be enough for the eggplants so adjust water accordingly.
When the gravy starts boiling, add the eggplant pieces to the gravy and switch off after a minute. Drizzle a little mustard oil on top, cover and let it sit for 30-40 minutes or more.
Let it sit for some time to let the eggplant soak in the gravy. Serve with white rice.