Despite milk being abundant in India, I find it is rare to see it used in dishes that are not sweet. However I have probably seen more such recipes in the past month than I have noticed in the past decade. I wonder is that just my awareness, or is there a resurgence of popularity of these dishes.
Yoghurt is of course used extensively in savoury dishes, so why not use milk instead of yoghurt? You will find that milk gives a lighter touch and is without the sourness of yoghurt. While yoghurt is always evident in dishes, milk adds flavour without being assertive.
However, the ancient Ayurveda texts advise not to combine milk and salt. This combination, they say, creeps up on you, damaging the body in various ways over a long period of time. It is Ok to mix salt with milk products, such as yoghurt, paneer etc, just not milk. You will see various ayurvedic practitioners warn against the combination, but interestingly Vasant Lad does not. If you do wish to avoid it, leave out the salt, or substitute watered down yoghurt and touch of sugar for the milk. The sugar is to counteract the sourness of the yoghurt.
This is an Indian chutney from Andhra Pradesh. Eggplant is roasted and the flesh is mashed with milk that has been boiled and cooled, and then a tempering added that includes ginger and coriander leaves. It is delicious, and I recommend it with rice or part of an Indian meal.
South Indian chutneys are quite different to Western chutneys, and they also make great dips, spreads for sandwiches and wraps, and purees to accompany a meal or form a base for other ingredients.
Milky Brinjal Chutney | Roasted Eggplant Chutney
1 large or 2 – 3 small tender eggplants
0.5 cups milk, brought to the boil and then cooled
0.5 Tblspn ghee
0.5 tspn Indian mustard seeds
0.5 tspn urad dal
0.5 tspn finely chopped or grated ginger
2 green chillies, slit lengthwise but leaving intact at the top of the chilli
1 Tblspn finely chopped coriander leaves
4 – 6 curry leaves
Roast the eggplants in the oven, over a gas flame or on a BBQ, until the eggplant is collapsing and tender and the flesh charred. I find the gas flame gives the best smoky flavour but on a the BBQ results in eggplants that are easier to peel.
Remove the charred peel and mash well with a fork. Leave the flesh to cool and then mix well with the boiled and cooled milk.
Make a tadka by heating the ghee in a tadka pan and popping the mustard seeds. Then add the urad dal and as that turns golden, remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Pour over the chutney.
Just before serving, season with a little salt and mix well.