Nigella Awesome - Achaari Baingan

When I requested for more recipes using nigella seeds (kalonji) in my last post, I got responses from a few blog buddies and the idea for this informal event was born - Nigella Awesome (you can thank Vaishali for the pun on the domestic goddess).

If you have bought even the smallest packet of nigella seeds from your grocery store, chances are you still have a LOT of them lying in your pantry and not as many ideas what to do with them. If you don't have a packet of nigella seeds lying in your pantry, go out and buy one at once :-)

Though it is under appreciated in comparison to other seeds in the Indian spice box - mustard, cumin and fennel, those who use nigella will testify to its aromatic qualities. A little hot oil is all that's needed to coax it out of its shell, after that the seed will infuse your dish with a unique smoky, onion-y flavor.

A few of us are sharing our favorite recipes using this spice today. My contribution is Achaari Baingan, a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey. Achaari refers to cooking an ingredient with the same spices used in pickles - this dish is so good, it can convert even the odd soul who does not take to eggplant kindly.

* The original recipe calls for deep frying the eggplant slices. I used about 2-3 tablespoons of oil for each batch instead and they still tasted good.


ACHAARI BAINGAN (Eggplant in pickling style)
(adapted from Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey)
(serves 2)
1 large eggplant
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (optional, not in original recipe)
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
3 medium size tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tbsp coriander powder
a pinch of tumeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder (or to your taste)
oil for frying

Cut eggplant into largish cubes and place them in a bowl of cold water. Pat dry with a towel. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a deep saucepan. When hot, add the eggplant slices and fry them over medium heat until they turn reddish brown. Fry in batches if the saucepan cannot hold all slices at one time. Remove from heat and place on absorbent paper.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. When hot add cumin seeds; as they begin to sizzle, add fennel seeds and kalonji. When they darken add the chopped tomato and ginger-garlic paste. Stir for a minute. Add coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Season with salt.

Mix well and and cook for about 2-3 minutes, breaking the tomato pieces with the back of your spoon. Turn the heat up and continue to stir until the masala thickens.

Add the eggplant slices in the sauce and mix gently. Cook for about a minute more. Serve hot with rotis.

Its a happy happy day for nigella! Check out -
Vaishali's Dal Fry
Krithika's Squash Subzi
Priya's Achaari Aloo, Naan and Namakparas
Nabeela's Khara Masala Chicken

Tags: madhur jaffrey achaari


Blogger Krithika said...

This is a great recipe too ! Neat idea of having recipes using a lesser known spice.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Vaishali said...

Awesome! :) Nice recipe, Ashwini. Might even try out tomorrow itself, coz I have a large eggplant sitting in my fridge.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Nabeela said...

Ashwini, I posted my nigela recipe last Sunday here's the link for it:

5:34 PM  
Blogger KA said...

Good recipe Ashiwni. I never knew that kalonji existed utnil you blogged about it..
You sure took a long break from blogging, is everything ok??

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice recipe Ashwini. I am not able to wait until I buy these seeds :D.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Krithika - thanks. Also for sharing your own recipe
Vaishali - Its a change from the way we usually cook eggplant. Let me know how you like it.
Nabeela - thanks buddy. I have added your recipe to the list
Krishna - Everything's okay (thanks so much for asking) only crazy busy :-)
Shilpa - yep go and buy them at once :-D

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice recipe Ashwini !
This taste of this spice is so eminent in any recipe don't u think !
I seem to like the achari style of curries and your recipes is very simple and Iam sure would be delicious. Shall try it and let u know. Thank u for the recipe.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Vineela said...

Hi Ashwini,
Achaari baingan sounds great.Nice collection of kalongi recipes.
thanks for sharing.

1:13 PM  
Blogger BDSN said...

Very nice recipe Ashwini..I did not know nigella seeds such a indepth flavor...Will try this recipe once i buy fresh veggies and the seeds from the market..thanks for sharing the recipe...

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried this yesterday and loved it. Even my fussy husband who hates eggplant cooked in Indian style, liked it :) Its so easy, no one would believe that there was very little effort and time put to it..
Thank u for the recipe Ashwini !

11:20 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Vineela, BDSN - thanks
Priya - Man you are quick :-)
I am so glad you like this dish. Doesnt it make a nice change from the usual eggplant preparations?

11:33 AM  
Blogger Vaishali said...

Hi Ashwini,
I have put up a quiz about fellow food-bloggers. ;-)
Do you want to solve it? Here’s the link.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey....i ve recently started cooking...n im internet i search even before cooking anything...n for veggies its nice to try a new n different recipe so that who doesnt like veggie(like my husband) may also eat it with equal delight...n im so grateful that u have given such a nice n easy recipe,i made it yesterday n im still enjoying the husband call bengan as a poison for him,,,,but this time he was surprised that how can bengan be so delicious...thank you sooo i m looking for some different kind of aloo gobbi's recipe,...

4:46 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Anon - thanks. Achaari baigan is a dish which can convert a brinjal hater. Glad you liked it

10:50 AM  
Blogger delhibelle said...

Hi Ashwini,

Let me first thank you from the bottom of my heart for this recipe, my bhabhi learned this one years ago from a BBC show and we all loved it.

Nobody since remembered the recipe and despite searching thru various Madhur J books, I could never find it.

And now, you have so nicely shared this, and made my day. Hugs:)

7:53 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Welcome to FFT, Delhibelle! What can I say, Madhur aunty (as my friend refers to her) rocks! Glad you could reconnect with one of your favorite dishes.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can u tell me what is the weight of your 1 large eggplant? becoz here we get in diff shapes and sizes..thx

7:20 PM  

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