Friday, August 05, 2011

Curry-Palooza: Eggplant with Crushed Mustard Seeds & Yogurt

This week I had the opportunity to try a brand new curry involving certain techniques that I'm not at all familiar with. Margie of More Please picked this rather unusual recipe by Madhur Jaffrey who, I am convinced, has a knack for taking a few simple ingredients and turning them into something amazing. Every single time. 

This curry uses 'Paanchporan' - a Bengali spice-mix that I have never used before but discovered is the same thing as 'achari masala/spice-mix' which I have indeed used & am very fond of. I made my own 'Paanchporan' since I had all the whole spices on hand (it requires equal parts of cumin, nigella seeds, aniseed, black mustard seeds and fenugreek). I was skeptical about using such a large (seemingly to me) amount of fenugreek because experience has taught me that it has to be used sparingly or it lends a certain bitterness to curries. The recipe also requires the unusual method of crushing the mustard seeds, mixing them with water along with a bare pinch of cayenne pepper and simmering the eggplant in this mixture. Atypical as it was I found that this technique lent a wonderful 'mustardy' aroma to the curry and gave it a deep, yet unsaturated,  note of flavor. 

That said, I had a few minor issues with the execution: I diced my eggplant smaller than indicated, so it cooked faster and  turned out a little mushy. In addition to which the yogurt split when added and I found that the fenugreek did indeed make the curry a teeny bit bitter so it did not go down well with the rest of the family. Maybe it's my/our taste buds, or maybe it's that I need to improve on the technique of cooking with this particular spice, but I intend to reduce the amount of fenugreek seeds significantly when I prepare my Paanchporan mix next time. It's a shame about the bitterness because, otherwise, I really like the flavors in this simple and quick-cooking curry.

I know for a fact that the other Curry-Palooza members had no such issues & really enjoyed this curry. The recipe can be found on Margie's blog. Please check out the participants' posts by following these links:

Curry-Palooza is a monthly event. Members take turns picking random recipes each month & next up it's Camille's pick. I'm hoping she will throw a challenge our way!

If you'd like to join in the fun, please email either Rocquie or myself


Sage Trifle said...

Your eggplant looks delicious. I'm sorry to hear your family didn't enjoy it. I will agree there was a bitterness to it. The first time I made it, when I added half and half actually tasted better than the second version with the Greek yogurt, which has its own bitter flavor. But we cook and learn, don't we? I am having a lot of fun with this event and so happy we started it.

Beth said...

This looks yummy! I must check out one of Madhur Jaffrey's books. Everyone loves her food!

croquecamille said...

I never noticed that about fenugreek - I actually really enjoy the flavor! But everyone's palate is different. The yogurt in mine split, too, but it still tasted great. :)


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