Baingan ki kalonji or bharwa baingan was a regular at home when we were growing up. It must have been a convenient recipe for my mother and grandmother both because they would make an assortment of kalojis one day and that would last a week or so in the fridge to provide variety on the table every day. They used to make Bhindi, Parval, Aloo and Mirchi ki kalonjee regularly. This Baingan ki kalonjee was integral to each such kalonjee cooking spree for them. Interestingly, although I used to like it at that time, I never made it myself after the first few trials after marriage. Arvind didn't like them much and we remained contented with the Bhartas, Caponata, Japanese style grilled aubergines, Baba ganoush, Grilled eggplant salad and Sarson waala baingan fry...
I have been harvesting some long green Brinjals from the garden for quite some time and kept planning to make those Kalonji of my growing up years, but somehow it never happened. Then one day a reader Surekha comes to my blog and says she wants this recipe. I found her request very sweet and wanted to post it ASAP. More because she had whined about her MIL who hails from Banaras, cooks great food but never shares recipes with Surekha. That is mean. I am glad this blog helps people like this eager DIL a lot. I hope this recipe is closer to the one your MIL makes Surekha, knowing every family has their own ways to make the same recipe, you might need to do some changes after giving it a trial.
These green long brinjals are from my garden, you can use the purple ones as well. The white egg shapes brinjals are the best suited for this Baingan ki Kalonji. Go with whatever is available to you. Just those round variety cannot be stuffed with masala this way.
A mix of five spices, called Panchphoran is used liberally in this masala stuffing. Dry roasted and then mixed with a bhuna masala...
(for 6 long Brinjals and two halves of a large potato)
2 tsp whole fennel seeds (moti saunf)
1 tsp of Ajwain seeds
1 tsp of fenugreek (methi) seeds
1 tsp of Nigella seeds
2 tsp of powdered yellow mustard
2 tablespoonfuls of Bhuna masala
Dry roast the first four whole spices, these are a part of panchphoran. The mustard powder is used raw.
Powder the roasted panchphoran (minus the powdered mustard) in a mortar and pestle. Coarse powder is not a problem. If making a bigger batch you can use your food processor to make a powder.
Add the yellow mustard powder and the freshly pounded spice powder to the bhuna masala. Mix with 2 tbsp of Bhuna masala like this.
Now is the time to slit each one of the brinjals ans stuff about 1.5 tsp of masala paste into them.
Heat 1 tbsp pf mustard oil in a flat base frying pan and arrange all the long stuffed brinjals into it. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes one side. Turn and cook five minutes on the other side as well.
Check with a pointed knife if cooked through, take off the pan and serve hot or at room temperature. Or refrigerate for later use.
Tastes great as a side dish with daal chawal meals or even with rotis.There is a good mix of spiciness and a sweetish buttery texture of grilled Brinjal in this Kalonjee. The making of this kalonjee transported me back to my childhood as the aromas were all familiar from those times. More of my grandmother's cooking.
As it happens always, or it is intended most of the times, some of the masala mix is leftover. So we peel a potato, cut it into two flat halves, make multiple slits in it so it looks like fingers of a palm, and stuff the masala paste between the fingers.
The Baingan ki Kalonjee doesn't soak the oil and it gets drained into the pan when you fish out all the Kalonjee carefully after cooking. Arrange the potato halves in the same pan and cook covered on low flame for about 10 minutes both sides. Lower the flame, more the cooking time, better the taste. Saundha swad as we call it, a nice grilled burnt kinda taste of potatoes and these spices is what Arvind likes.
The same spice mix can be used to stuff Okra (bhindi) or even Parval or Tinda. I liked the Baingan ki Kalonji after a long time. Enjoyed making them for you Surekha. Hope you like them.
And hoping some of my other readers would find this useful too.