Baingan or brinjal is one of the favourite vegetables I can eat in any form. Not only because I love baingan myself but also because baingan responds so well to different treatments given to it. Grill it to make eggplant salads or crustless aubergine pizza, fry it to make beguni or sarson wala baingan fry, mash it to make bharta or raita, puree it to make baba ganoush or just curry it with just anything you like. I love the Japanese style grilled aubergine as well. Alu baingan palak is one traditional subzi on eastern UP that is cooked in winters in almost every home but this baingan subzi with sowa and methi is not that common in eastern UP. It is more of a western UP combination. Those who like it get this subzi made several times during the season and sowa methi combination is used to bring the best from the winter brinjals and green peas. And this is one of the lightest curries one can cook.
I cook this curry quite often for dinner and have it like my soup dinners but some time in last month I cooked this one in day time and clicked a few pictures. And when I posted this urad daal sowa ke pakode, it reminded Nupur about the sowa baingan ki subzi and she enquired about it in the comments. Sowa baingana and sowa-methi baingan is cooked similarly and people keep using different ratios of both these leafy greens in this subzi, sometimes even skipping one of these.
It was a pleasant coincidence that I had already clicked pictures of this recipe and I promptly promised her about it. Although I got quite late in sharing it, but better late than never.So here is the baingan sowa-methi ki subzi for you Nupur.
one large round brinjal (or any fleshy variety) about 300 gm
cleaned washed and chopped methi (fenugreek) greens 200 gm
cleaned washed and chopped sowa bhaji (dill greens) 150-200 gm
finely minced green chillies, ginger and garlic 2 tsp each
chopped tomatoes 100 gm or one large tomato (optional)
green peas 100 gm (optional)
mustard oil 1 tbsp
fenugreek seeds 1/4 tsp
mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
fennel seeds 1/4 tsp
hing (asafoetida) a pinch
Heat the oil in a pan or pressure cooker pan. I often use pressure cooker for such mushy subzis (especially for brinjal) because it cooks faster and doesn't dehydrate the subzi too much.
Tip in the hing, fennel, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in the oil and wait till the splutter and get aromatic. Add the minced ginger, garlic and green chillies next and cook till sizzling but not browned.
Add the peas, brinjal and the chopped greens. Mix well to coat everything. Add salt and chopped tomatoes if using and top up with 3-4 tbsp of water. Cover with the lid and pressure cook till the whistle blows. Take off from the flame and let the pressure cooker cool down on its own. Mix well and serve hot.
If cooking in a pan, just let the subzi cook on low flame covered, stirring once a while for about 20 minutes. It will be mushy and muddled up after cooking and that is how it is supposed to look.
The duo of methi and sowa taste really good in this curry. Most people add a few potato cubes to it too and some of them even skip adding the brinjal and make it just with potatoes. But the crux of the matter is that this subzi doesn't have any other spices than the tempering essentials. The aroma of this curry is dominant with a mix of methi-sowa, brinjal being the base to absorb all the goodness. Some people like this curry all mushed up in a texture similar to bharta. Make it the way you like it, most likely you must be familiar with this subzi if you have lived in UP somewhere.
We enjoyed this baingan sowa methi with some whole wheat mini kulchas and buttermilk on a weekend afternoon, watching TV and talked of our simple meals of childhood.
When we live away from home and miss the seasonal foods, these are some of the flavours that are missed the most. The freshness of winter produce is best captured in this kind of subzis back home. I have heard my friends saying the baingan and saag of Banaras tastes so different from what we get elsewhere. That is called the taste of home and this subzi represents that for me.
I am sure it brings back memories from home if you have come here just to read about baingan sowa-methi ki subzi. Go shop for some baingan and sowa methi and cook this subzi. Soulful food doesn't cost a bomb.