An eggplant in oven, and a quick whisk of yogurt

Aha, the day one…

It is 2 pm and we have already have our lunch of leftover 7-grain salad and brown rice with yogurt kadhi. Does the 7-grain salad sound exotic? Well, I did not make it. It is a favorite recipe of my husband which he had made for a Thanksgiving party to which we were invited on last Saturday. It is made of wild rice, mix of lentils, and wheat, all soaked and then boiled al dente. He later seasons these grains with a strong flavored dressing of ginger, chilies, garlic, lemon, olive oil etc. Sun-dried tomatoes, cranberries also went it into it. We happened to have a sizable portion left and refrigerated for ourselves once we packed a pot of it for our hosts, which we used today. I should admit though that it was not my original idea. My morning started late and was spent mostly on daydreams, phone calls to friends back home. After which I decided not to skip my rowing exercise. By the time, I had finished with my session, it was past 11.20 am, and  in another half an hour, I expected my husband to be home for lunch.

One thing that I had done beforehand was to put an eggplant to be roasted in an oven. This was my first experience of doing so. You see, I had never had an oven in my kitchen before. My own shifting kitchens during the grad school years counted themselves too lucky just to have a fridge along with a gas-stove and rice cooker. Oven would have been a luxury. My sisters’ places where I used to spend my vacations had microwave ovens which we mostly used for warming up the food. Once in a while my elder sister baked cakes… but I was merely an unskilled assistant who never graduated to be allowed to bake by myself. So now here was I, in hitherto my husband’s kitchen with a full-fledged OTG oven and did not know how to operate it. So I took the instructions from him in the morning, and set the oven on bake settings with 400 degrees temperature. At first, I was planning to check the internet to know the optimum bake time for an eggplant to get roasted. Later, common sense prevailed. This was not a first time, I made vangyacha bharit/ baba ganoush. It is just that before I used to simply hold the eggplant over a live flame of gas stove, and now I had to use an oven for the same job. I remembered that the time required for different eggplants differed according to not only their sizes but also their quality and ripeness. So, I decided to play it by the ear… and it worked. We took 30 minutes to get it fully grilled.

As the roasted eggplant cooled (so that I could peel it off for the flesh within), I put the wild+brown rice in cooker and got a large bowl of yogurt (more precisely, curd) whisked. I intended to use the latter for taakachi kadhi (yogurt soup). This particular kadhi is quite common in various cuisines from Indian subcontinent. Some versions use besan (gram flour) as a thickener to this soup-like preparation. But today I craved for simpler mode where a whisked and diluted curd is seasoned with salt and tempering of spices. I used thinly sliced green chilies, ginger and gralic julienne, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, pinch of asafoetida in tempering, added two pinches of turmeric for the color. After fodani, I added a cup of water in it and boiled it. To this boiling concoction, I slowly whisked in the diluted yogurt and salt to taste, while constantly stirring it. As the soup got warmer, it was time to get it off the stove (otherwise, with more heat it would have curdled).

So the yogurt kadhi came quick but preparing the bharit would have taken some more time.  So we decided to keep it for dinner and our lunch with the kadhi and brown rice and a generous helping of 7-grain salad. After some hours, I would beat that peeled eggplant to the pulp (god, sounds so violent…) and would make either bharit or baba ganoush. Both are quite similar to be honest. Few ingredients here and there… olive oil, lemon juice for middle-eastern baba ganoush and tomato, red onion, hot tempering, pinches of masalas for Indian vaangyache bharit/ baingan bharta. With that my husband would probably heat some rotis. I already have a bowl of brown rice, and I may come up with impromptu salad/ stir fry side. If something interesting turns up, would note it in tomorrow’s post. Bon appetite till then.

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