Eggplants, aubergine, brinjal, baingan, bengun or whatever you call it by any name, these purple veggie is my favourite among the others. At times I become little partial too. This is the one vegetable that had undergone lots of experimentation by me and had never complained. Take this eggplant biryani for an instance. Lightly tossed with fragrant long grain rice and burst of flavors from range of whole spices, this eggplant biryani is one pot delight, a light and quick-lunch. Serve it with yogurt sauce or raita or pickles, this eggplant biryani is keeper recipe. You can add other veggies too like baby corn and capsicum. A wholesome lunch is ready in minutes. Before cooking this, I had no idea that such dish even exists or not but from my previous account on eggplant rice or vangi bhath, I got this idea that eggplants and rice goes very well together so as eggplants and pasta. This is one versatile veggie and if you fuel your creativity a little bit am sure you can come up with hundred ways of cooking an eggplant.
Cooking is all about passion and creativity. You subtract these two things from cooking and it will lost its flavor and taste. Same thing had happened to Masterchef India. Unfortunately I watched the very first episode which was hosted by khilari kumar, the Bollywood tag who got the padthai wrong, but who cares. It was not our dish, so you can whip it up anything and serve. When AK exited from the show and SK entered, I watched it once again hopefully that things would be better this time. But it was anything but a foodshow. High on melodrama and low on cooking good food. I understood, I was not the target audience. The show’s global versions are much better bait any day.
And this time the show has decided to go vegetarian. I appreciate that. But I will certainly missed the chicken from the show, specially the “undercooked breast”. 😀 But do not give lecture on vegetarianism. As quoted by them”We want to debunk the myth that non-vegetarian food offers more creative options than vegetarian food. Health, too, will be promoted by a 100% veggie MasterChef. More vegetarians mean less cholesterol…the world is understanding this.” First dear Masterchef “Creativity” is an art, it has nothing do with the type of diet. We Indians are little sceptic to adopt and appreciate the food from other culture unless it is Indianized. So creativity in general is grossly absent. Second health is sum-total of healthy lifestyle and type of cooking you are doing. Over boiled, deep-fried, spicy food and dals laced with tons of ghee are definitely not healthy. I am definitely pointing my fingers at orange-colored gravy serves at every other restaurants in India. Or was the theme dictated by the show’s sponsors?
The annoying show could not get it more annoying than this. The overall sentiment among many viewers is that it is not promoting vegetarianism. It is forcing the people to adopt it, in the name of religion, health, or whatever. That I will call is radical approach. Though I am not sure that Masterchef India is deliberately doing that. But resentment among the viewers are very strong and perhaps this has stemmed from the fact that now a days lots of stories are doing the round like 7-year-old Rhea can not take chicken sandwich to school because her veggie friends will not mingle with her. Few veggie parents went overboard and demanded that non-veg lunch should be banned from the school. Then there is demand for separate canteen for veg students in the colleges. What next, separate states for veg and non-veg people? We forget that there exist a word called “tolerance” towards each others lifestyle, diet, religion and culture. Instead we are happily adopting “ghettoization”.
Did I hear animal has right to live? Off course they have and so do I. Thats how the food chain works. But do not ostracize me because I am a non-vegetarian. Do not say to me that you are vegetarian because you care for the poor animals. Because by the same argument then you can not wear silk, and cannot use leather, fur, feather or any animal skin or hide products.
Will the real Indian vegetarian stand up please? India is country of contradictions, it housed the largest population of Hindus in the world, beef is banned here and yet we are the largest exporter of beef (buffalo meat) in the world and biggest producer of leather goods in the world. Arguably why not? Poor buffalos have no religion! Many of us are closet non-vegetarian too. Please tell me why there are few all-vegetarian restaurants in the country? When it comes to money, grab it and forget the ethics and all the animal right things.
So, Masterchef please bring the creativity on the table and simmer the contestants in makhni gravy, Let’s see who can whip up a green-ish spinach mousse this time.
- Long grain rice : 1 cup (I have used kolam rice. basmati and any long grain rice will do)
- Baby eggplants : 12-15
- Baby corns (cut into half inch pieces) : 6-8
- Onion (sliced) : 2 cups
- Ginger (finely chopped): 2 tsp
- Garlic: 4-5 cloves
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro (finely chopped) : 2-3 tbsp
- Green chillies: 2-3
- Curd: 3-4 tbsp
- Garam masala : ½ tsp
- Oil for frying
- Ghee: 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder : ½ tbsp
- Red chilli powder : 1 tbsp
- Cumin powder: ½ tbsp
- coriander powder: 1 tbsp
- Tamarind paste: 1 tsp+
- Salt to taste
- Sesame seeds : 1 tsp
- Cloves: 4-5
- Cardamom (green): 3-4
- Cinnamon : a small stick
- Kebab chini / tailed pepper (whole) : 1 tsp
- White pepper (whole): ½ tsp
- Nutmeg grated : ½ tsp
- Wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes.
- In a wide bottom vessel, add excess water and cook the rice till partially cooked.
- Drain the rice, spread it on a wide plate and let it cool. The rice should be devoid of any moisture.
- Wash and slit the baby eggplants half way. Rub the eggplants with salt and turmeric and leave aside.
- Meanwhile mix all the spices listed for eggplant stuffing and with little help of water, make a thick paste.
- Stuff the eggplants with the spice mix.
- In a pan add some oil and heat it till its smoking point.
- Lightly shallow fry the eggplants till it becomes tender.
- Slot the eggplants from the pan and add another tablespoon of oil and brown the sliced onions.
- Once done, reserve the onions for later use.
- Lightly fry the baby corns.
- Lightly roast (dry) the Biryani spices and crush it coarsely with the help of mortar and pestle.
- In a separate pan, warm the ghee and temper it with the crushed biryani spices.
- Add the garlic cloves, roast it and then add the minced ginger. Fry it for couple of minutes.
- Add the rice now, mix it well. Let it saute for few minutes.
- Add the green chillies.
- Mix the curd with garam masala and cumin powder. Add it to the rice. Mix it.
- Add the fried onions, baby corns and eggplants.
- Check the salt and other seasonings. Add half cup warm water.
- Close the lid and let it cook till done. take care that steam should not escape.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Serve it hot with tomato pickle and yogurt.
By the way, I am really eager to know that what happened to food that was cooked by the participants on a food show? Do the judges and contestants eat those food afterwards or parcel it to their home? Or do they donate it to charity? Or the food find their way to trash bins? Please stop this Food Wastage. Seriously. I think foodshows should concentrate more on this than anything else.
What do you think?
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