Baingan Ka Salan | Eggplants in a Creamy Peanut Gravy

Salan is a very popular spicy peanut sauce from Hyderabad, often an accompaniment to biriyani (veg of course) and roti, paratha and parotta. It is a dish that looks complicated from the number of ingredients, but don’t let that deter you. It is actually simple to make once you have organised your spices. Here it is paired in the famous dish with eggplants, Baingan Ka Salan.

The sauce is amazing, the peanuts and coconut cook down into a lovely creamy sauce that compliments the eggplants so well. Who would have thought that eggplants and peanuts would go together so well. And I love the way that it layers flavours with roasted and raw spices, and whole and powdered spices. Delicious!

For this dish, use the smaller type of eggplant – the small, fat, slightly circular ones. I happen to be growing them, but you can also find them at Asian shops if your local Green Grocer does not stock them.

Are you looking for other Indian Eggplant Recipes? Try Sampangi Pitlai, Potato and Eggplant Curry with Punjabi Wadi, and Brinjal Fry.

Or general Eggplant recipes? Try Cheese and Eggplant Torte, Japanese Simmered Eggplant in a Beautiful Broth and Steamed Thai Eggplants.

You might like to browse all of our Eggplant recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn collection of recipes.

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Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu | Eggplant Gothsu From Chidambaram

The best Gothsu, they say, is definitely Chidambaram Gothsu, and the Gothsu made in this temple town is certainly different to varieties from elsewhere. Chidambaram Kothsu (also spelt Kosthu), or Gothsu (also spelt Gosthu or Gotsu), is a South Indian curry that is made using roasted and mashed eggplant. The Gothsu was originally made by the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple’s Dikshithars (special priests). They make it with Samba Sadham (lentils and rice) as an offering to Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram. It certainly does taste divine.

They say that Gothsu is a very old Tamil recipe, about 2000 years old. Traditionally the eggplants would be roasted over coals, but sadly today they are deep fried or sautéed. This recipe is without onions, just as the Dikshithars would make it. However, Chidambaram Gosthu is also made for many marriages in Chidambaram and for those occasions sambar onions are included.

This recipe is from Meenakshi Ammal’s treasure of TamBram recipes. It is different to other varieties of Gothsu in that it uses smoky roasted and shredded eggplants along with toor dal. You will see recipes without any dal, but if Ammal was making it this way it is probably more traditional. Ammal also includes this recipe in the chapter on Poritha Kuzhambu because of the dal and the spice mix fried in ghee.

There are other versions of Brinjal Gothsu that claim to be Chidambaram Gothsu, but they are not. The Chidambaram Gothsu includes Toor Dal. Without the dal, it is just Gothsu.

Are you looking for similar Poritha Kootu type recipes? We have some coming up and you should check for them here. In the meantime try Pitlai, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Or are you looking for Eggplant Recipes? Try Babaganoush, Potato and Eggplant Curry with Punjabi Wadi, and Madras Curry with Eggplant, Sweet Potato and Spinach.

Want more? Check out our Meenakshi Ammal recipes and all of our Indian recipes. You might like to browse Indian Essentials. Have a look at all of our Eggplant dishes. Or take some time to explore our easy Early Autumn dishes.

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Sampangi Pitlai

We are working through the different types of Poritha Kuzhambu, where the spice paste is fried in ghee before being ground. There are Poritha Kuzhambus, Poritha Koottu and Pitlai, Gothsu and Masiyal. They can be with and without tamarind, stuffed full of vegetables or just one or two.

This is our second Pitlai, Sampangi, which traditionally has drumsticks as part of the vegetable mix, with 3 or 4 others. The spice mix used in this recipe differs from the first Pitlai recipe – it does not include coriander or channa dal (Bengal Gram), but does include peppercorns. The chillies are ground in the paste rather than left whole in the tadka. I have been explaining to some people recently how subtle differences from recipe to recipe results in a different dish, and the taste difference is remarkable IF we allow our tastebuds the time to register. This isn’t so common in our society, we eat so fast, but in India these differences are important. The other key difference in this recipe is the variety of vegetables, as many as 4 can be used in this dish, rather than 1 or 2.

Are you looking for other Pitlai recipes? They are here. And browse other Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Koottu dishes. You must definitely try this Pitlai, and Amaranth Greens Soup/Pitlai. (Some of these dishes will be published later. Pop back and check if the link is not returning what you might expect.)

Explore all of our Kuzhambu recipes here and all of our Sambar dishes. You might like to browse our Indian recipes. Or simple take some time to check out our Early Autumn collection.

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Pitlai | Toor Dal with Vegetables

Pitlai is a South Indian recipe using some basic vegetables and cooked in a coconut-based gravy with specific spices that have been fried in ghee. It sits close to Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu, but the spice mix varies from these.

South India adores its rice, and so the different cuisines of the South include a huge range of gravy-like dishes that are ladled over warm rice to be mixed and enjoyed. It makes sense, right? Rasam, Sambar, Kuzhambu, Kootu etc are the most common. Pitlai sits in that group too, and some will say it is a type of Sambar and others will say it is a type of Kuzhambu. Meenakshi Ammal sits her Pitlai recipes within her Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu section – those with a fried spice mix/ paste. The dish varies slightly from any of the above – in consistency, spices used, and the vegetables that are added – bitter gourd and eggplant are definite favourites. Like the other Poritha dishes, it is the ground paste of spices, the coconut, and the predominance of lentils, that serve to thicken the dish. A tiny amount of rice flour can help if needed.

Pitlai includes coriander and Bengal Gram in its coconut-based spice paste, and this is the difference from the Poritha Kootu and Poritha Kuzhambu pastes. As I say about South Indian dishes – change out one spice and the dish has a different name, a different way of eating, a different time of day to eat it and different vegetables to include in it. 🙂

Pitlai is made all over South India and each region will have its own interpretation of the dish. This is a recipe from the Tamil Brahmin Cuisine.

Are you looking for other Kuzhambu? Check out our Poritha Kuzhambu dishes. Also try Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai, and Tomato Kuzhambu.

You might like to try some Sambar. We recommend Moru Sambar, Classic Seasoned Sambar, and Sambar Powder and Paste.

Why not have a look at all our Kuzhambu dishes, and all Kootu. All of the Sambar dishes are here. Browse the Meenakshi Ammal recipes. Or take some time to explore our easy Early Autumn dishes.

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Babaganoush | Roasted Eggplant with Tahina

Suddenly the eggplants in the garden have found their mojo and are producing so many eggplants. It has me scrambling to find different ways to prepare them. Today they are grilled and the flesh is combined with tahini. It is another lovely mezze or tapas dish, or an any-time snack with flatbreads. You will love this. A take on Babaganoush, it is rich, smoky, and creamy.

You can grill/bake the eggplant in several ways. Cook it under the griller, turning often until the skin is blistered and blackened, and the flesh is soft. Or it can be cooked over a gas flame in the same way. But my favourite way is to grill it whole in a covered BBQ (grill) until the skin is blackened and the flesh collapsed. It is the easiest and quickest way at our place.

Are you looking for other Eggplant recipes? Try Eggplant Simmered in a Beautiful Broth, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Pinenuts and Pita Chips, and Deep Fried Eggplant.

Is it Dip Recipes that you are looking for? Try Coriander-Walnut Dip, Tomato and Chilli Jam, or Tahina Tarator.

You can explore all of our Eggplant recipes here, and all of our Dips here. Browse the Middle Eastern recipes, or take some time to explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Roasted Aubergine with a Garlic Sauce, Pine Nuts, Basil and Yoghurt

I have the Ottolenghi book Nopi, and have been determined to make something out of it if just to prove that a cookbook from a restaurant is not necessarily out of reach of someone who loves simple home cooking. While the recipes are a notch up from Ottolenghi’s other books, I enjoyed making this dish.

This really is a stunning dish. I mean, really very very good.

NOTE that this baked eggplant is so delicious, and could be used in a variety of ways. Bake the eggplant and top salads, use with pasta, remove the flesh and mix with yoghurt. Even in this recipe it won’t hold its shape once you begin to handle them, but don’t worry if they are a little mushier than expected. All the better to mop up with flatbreads.

If you would like other Eggplant recipes, try Cheese and Eggplant Torte, Marinated Eggplant, and Steamed Eggplant with Spring Onions and Sesame.

Ottolenghi recipes include Creamy Baked Sweet Potato, Creamy Caramelised Belgium Endive, and Sticky Balsamic Sweet Potatoes.

Or you might like to explore all Eggplant Recipes, and all of Ottolenghi recipes are here. Are you wanting Yoghurt recipes? Try here. Or simply browse all of our Late Summer recipes here.

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Japanese Simmered Sautéed Eggplant in Beautiful Broth

This dish has to be eaten to be believed! How can eggplant taste so not-like-eggplant?

Eggplant always surprises.

This is one of those dishes things that is an absolute surprise! The sort of recipe that makes you want to rush out to plant your own huge eggplant patch! This is more of a summer dish in Japan as eggplants are one of the best antidotes to Japan’s hot and sultry summers. But it can be cooked at any time that eggplants are in season. The broth is heavenly, and the eggplant acts like tofu, soaking up all of the flavours.

Browse our Eggplant recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Japanese recipes here and here. You might also like our Kombu recipes. Check out our easy Summer recipes here and here.

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Cheese and Eggplant Torte | Cheesy Eggplant Layers

Yet another divine use for eggplant – such a versatile vegetable. This time it is a cheesy torte – eggplants layered, Italian style, with cheeses, baked, allowed to rest and firm up, then cut into wedges to serve. What could be better? It makes a great lunch or supper, or works very well in a tapas spread, mezze or antipasto. It even makes a great any-time snack.

Eggplant is so flexible, and very variation tastes so good. You can bake it, simmer it, steam it, BBQ it, grill it, roast it, saute it and deep fry it. I hope you try some of these recipes.

It makes great Indian style Chutney, Curries, Salads, Fritters, Pasta Sauces, Rice dishes, and gentle dishes.

As well as all of these Eggplant recipes, you might like to also browse our Italian recipes and our easy Late Summer dishes.

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Grilled Eggplant Salad with Pine Nuts, White Beans and Pita Chips

Bittman once put together 100 salad recipes in short 2 or 3 line descriptions. I love to turn to these suggestions in the warmer months for inspiration. They are great flavour combinations yet simple and easy to put together, and are great inspiration on hot days when your creativity flags.

Grilled eggplants are always a winner, and I grill them on my covered BBQ. A few red and green capsicums are added alongside, shining from being wiped with oil prior to being placed on the grill. Twenty minutes later the capsicums are charred and the eggplants are soft and collapsed. Perfect bases for salads and soups.

Would you like to try some other Eggplant dishes? Try some BBQ’d Marinated Eggplant, Roasted Eggplant Salad with Verjuice, and Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Spring Onions. All of our Eggplant recipes are here.

The Bittman salads we have beein inspired by are here.  Or take some time to explore all of our Salads.  All of our Eggplant recipes are here. Try some Cannellini Bean Recipes. Or take some time and explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Marinated Eggplant on the BBQ with Tomatoes and Asparagus

Smokey charred eggplant from the BBQ

Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato

This dish combines the classic flavours of an Italian pasta dish.

Often a pasta dish is my go-to Saturday or Sunday night fare. With a friend from a good Italian commercial pasta making family, we are never short of good pasta. This dish combines the classic flavours of an Italian pasta dish. Use a great spaghetti, a thick one if you can, or thin if you cannot. Pasta shells work well also.

You might like to read Pasta with Soul – how long to cook pasta. Similar dishes include Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce, Pasta Aglio e Olio, and Pasta with Tomato and Basil. Explore our other Pasta recipes here and here.

Feel free to browse our Eggplant recipes here and here.  We have some Italian recipes here and here. Check out our easy Winter recipes here and here.

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Spicy Eggplant Rice | Baigan Pulau

Rice with buttery soft eggplant

Is it the golden brown cashews or the butter soft spears of eggplant that make this a succulent rice dish? The eggplants are first marinated in turmeric and salt to maximise the flavours, before being sauteed with spices and then cooked with the rice. The sesame-heavy spice mix is freshly made – dry roasted and then ground – and adds a nuttiness to the basmati rice.

This is a great main dish rice for lunch or dinner. It is a fiddly dish, with more work than we normally include in recipes. But the result is worth the extra effort. Serve with yoghurt or raita/pachadi, a simple spiced vegetable, a simple broth and perhaps some roti.

Browse all of our Rice Recipes here and here. Our Yamuna Devi recipes are here. Explore all of the Indian recipes here and here. Or be inspired by our Autumn dishes here and here.

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Kathirkkai Rasavangi | Brinjal Rasavangi | Eggplant and Toor Dal

Rasavangi is a spicy, tamarind based eggplant dish that is a wonderful change from a regular sambar. It is similar to a Kootu or Pitlay and is very common in South Indian households.

Rasavangi is a close cousin of the Arachuvitta Kootu/Sambar, but with different spices. It is also very close to Pitlay. It is a good example of how a small change in spices can make a dish taste very different. This has a wonderful flavour profile of coriander and coconut. All you need with it is some rice and perhaps a simple potato dish, papadums or a vegetable curry.

You might like to browse our Sambar Recipes or all of our Eggplant recipes here and here. Feel free to browse the Indian Recipes. Our Kuzhambu recipes are here.

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How to Cook Vegetables for Sambar

Removing the confusion around cooking vegetables for Sambar

Once you are experienced at cooking sambar, it is quite easy. However, while mastering the skill it can be confusing. Here is some advice on making sambar, and particularly on cooking the vegetables for sambar.

The advice is based on my experience and the writings of S. Meenakshi Ammal who wrote the Cook and See series of books on traditional South Indian cooking.

Browse all of our sambar recipes here. and Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes here.

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Roasted Eggplant Salad with Unripe Grape Juice (Verjuice)

An unusual use of verjuice in a Greek eggplant dish

In Greece, I hear that one of my favourite ingredients, verjuice, is used as a replacement for lemon juice when the fruit is out of season or unavailable. What a great idea!

Are you looking for eggplant recipes? You can browse here and here. Greek recipes are here and here. Or perhaps check our Autumn recipes here and here.

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