Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Quick Masala Eggplant

Navratri is a nine-day long festival that is celebrated in India with much pomp. Navratri  literally means Nine- nights." Nav" means nine and "ratri" means night. This is a festival that is celebrated for 9 days and 10 days . This festival is celebrates the Hindu Goddess (Devi) in her varied forms. You can read more here.During these days there is lot of festivities, fasting and prayers. You can read more in detail here. Different parts of India celebrate it differently with varied levels of fasting. It is believed in the Hindu religion that fasting is a form of cleansing and also that of self-discipline. The levels of fasting vary from complete fasting wherein the individual does not eat or drink all day and consumes a satvik vegetarian meal to an individual who only observes a vegetarian diet for nine days. Some only eat fruits and drink milk all nine days.Fasting is completely voluntary. It is perfectly ok if one chooses not to observe any of this and continues to eat a non-vegetarian meal.  Now, what is a satvik meal? A satvik meal is one that is without meat, eggs, fish, rice, onion and garlic . Are you surprised?? Well, you will be even more surprised when I tell you that all our weddings and other auspicious occasions have meals that are satvik , except that rice is served. And it is truly delicious. Coming back to the fasting: the North Indians follow a different kind of fasting while the South Indians follow a different kind of fasting. You can check the North Indian style of fasting for Navratri here. I am a South Indian and therefore I am familiar with only how fasting is observed  in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka. The other South Indian states like Tamilnadu and Kerala have a different way of fasting. You can check how the different states celebrate this festival here. I have only discussed the fasting part of this festival as this is a food-related blog.

Now,as for me personally, I used to not observe fasting during my younger days. Now for around 18 years I have been observing fasting during Navratri. This is how I do it. I take a bath first thing in the morning. Then I light a lamp in front of the altar. I then  eat breakfast in the morning which is usually a satvik meal with one cup of coffee. I do not eat anything all through the day. In the evening I eat another Satvik meal. That's it. Nothing in between or later. This for me is a great way to cleanse myself and to exercise my self-determination. It is also a great way to control your senses.

Happy fasting and praying to all those who celebrate Navratri. May you and your family be blessed.

On the occasion of Navratri I will be bringing to you one satvik recipe each day. Today I bring to you this dish which I prepared on a whim..

Sometimes you crave for certain flavors, certain tastes.. Sometimes you want to rustle up something different from the mundane... Sometimes, you want something really quick and easy... Sometimes, you want something that you can just leave on the stove and will transform to a delectable dish. This eggplant dish can meet all the above criteria. Honestly, I didn't know what to name this dish!! This is something that I came up with and created on a whim. I didn't follow any specific recipe and yet, here is a dish that you will want to make over and over again. It is finger-licking delicious! The addition of peanuts is completely optional, but I must say that the peanuts give the dish a nice texture and crunch that makes the dish even more delightful. Therefore, avoid adding peanuts only if you or a family member is allergic to it.

Servings: 3-4 ( serving size: 1/2 cup)


Eggplant: 1 medium-sized, diced large.
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Roasted Peanut halves: 2 tbsp
Sambhar powder: 1 tbsp ( I used MDH brand sambar powder, any brand can be used).
Tamarind pulp: 1/4 tsp
Salt: to taste


Dice the eggplant into medium pieces and keep aside.

Heat oil in a frying pan or a sauté pan. Add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the chopped eggplant & salt. Reduce the flame, cover and cook until the eggplant reaches the desired level of tenderness. 

Add the Sambhar powder and sauté for 30 seconds. 

Add the tamarind pulp and peanut halves and mix well. Turn off the flame.

Serve hot with rice, roti, bread.

Enjoy. I am bringing these goodies to Throwback Thursday #10, Fiesta Friday # 90 and Saucy Saturday. At the Fiesta,Effie @ Food Daydreaming and Lindy @ Lindy Mechefske are co-hosting this weekend.

Cooking made easy:

If you are out of Sambhar powder or don't have Sambhar powder, you can use any spice mix that you have on hand like rasam powder, curry powder.The taste will be slightly different than what you would get when you use Sambhar powder, but the dish will still be delicious as every spice mix is usually geared to making a flavorful dish.

Tip for healthy living:

For vegetarians,surreptitiously adding nuts, lentils and beans into dishes made with vegetables  is a great way to add protein into your diet.

Food for thought:

A champion is a dreamer that refused to give up. Unknown

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