In the eastern part of UP there are a lot of spicy hot fried vegetable preparations to go with a daal-chawal lunch . Kalonji is the name for masala stuffed vegetables ,and the vegetables used for this are parval ( pointed guard ) , karela ( bitter guard ) , bhindi ( okra ) , baby sponge guards , baby egg plants etc. While the spices for stuffing are usually different for different vegetables , like my mom used to make a mustard spice mix for baby egg plants , a onion and raw mango based spice mix for karelas and a ginger-garlic-onion and garam masala mix for parval , bhindi , baby sponge guards and potatoes .
Potatoes are halved and slit along the length and then the furrows are stuffed with the same spice mix and they taste really good . Unlike other stuffing where a paneer , boiled potato , chick pea mixture or coconut mix based masala is used for the stuffing , this kalonji uses this spicy hot garam masala mix . Stuffed in small quantities the spice mix makes the vegetable really smoky hot .... i made it with parval and potatoes this time but the same stuff can be used for any vegetable you wish .
ingredients for the spice mixture...
onion 1 no.
garlic 8-10 cloves ( indian garlic)
green chillies 3-4 nos.
whole dry rad chilly 1 no. ( or more if you like it hot )
ginger 1 inch piece
turmeric powder 1tsp
coriander seeds 2 tsp
cumin seeds 2 tsp
black pepper corns 2 tsp
cloves 3 nos
black and green cardamom 1 no. each
half a star anise or 4-5 petals of the whole star anise
bay leaves 2 nos ..scissor cut in small bits
amchoor powder 1-2 tsp ( according to taste )
salt to taste
mustard oil 1 tbsp
Make a coarse paste of onion and keep aside .
Make a fine paste of all the other ingredients except mustard oil , salt and amchoor . Keep aside.
Heat oil in a thick base kadai and pour the onion paste in it . Fry till the onion gets shiny and soft , add the other paste and fry on low heat for a good 5 minutes .
Add salt ( just a bit more than needed for the masala paste ) and amchoor powder and fry the masala paste till the oil starts spluttering a bit . The masala paste starts sticking to the pan while frying but keep scraping and turning to roast it well. A nice aroma of bhuna masala is an indicator to put off the flame.
Now prepare the vegetables for stuffing. about 8 parvals and 4 halves of potatoes can be stuffed with this much of masala paste , but it depends on how much masala paste you would like inside each kalonji ...
Scrape the parval and make a side slit . Emptying the contents is not needed but if there are seeds they are better removed.Blanch in salted water and keep aside .
Peel and cut the potato in two flat halves , now make two or three slits to make it look like the picture . rub salt over it or blanch along with the parval.
Stuff the masala inside the parval and in the furrows in the potato halves.
Shallow fry in a flay base pan using minimal amount of mustard oil. Do it on very low flame and keep turning the vegetables so that they get cooked and browned on all sides .
Some of the masala paste seems to burst out of the seems but it is okay to let it be like that as the over browned masala tastes great with these kalonji....
With hot daal chawal topped with some ghee ... this is the ultimate side dish for most people of eastern UP ....... stuffed vegetables are made in many more ways in other parts o the country but this is the age old recipe of kalonji .... or tawa fry as some people prefer to call it now....
I like it rolled up in a kathi roll too with some fresh salad ........