I had my first taste of Indian Cuisine when I was about 10 years old. We were at Veeraswamy’s in London and it was Fairy Tale Place. All the trappings of what a beautiful Maharaja’s palace, to a young girl, should look like. The paper-thin glasses (one of which I broke) the fragrances of the spices wafting in from the kitchen. The variety of delicious dishes. I don’t think I could ever go back. It just wouldn’t be the same. But they did introduce me to one of my favorite cuisines – ever!! And thanks to Madhur Jaffrey I can taste and enjoy the cuisine again. The I Heart Cooking Club will be cooking with Jaffrey for the next six months. I am excited because I have been cooking from one of her cookbooks for the last year or so, thanks to Kayte and Leslie who introduced her to me. So for the next six months you will be seeing a lot of Jaffrey’s delicious dishes right here.

The first theme for Jaffrey is POTLUCK which means we can basically cook anything we want. I started with something simple:

Something that is easily made in just about any kitchen without having to buy a bunch of different spices to get started.

In fact the only ‘different’ spice you need is ground tumeric.

    Tala hua baigan

Jaffrey says this is one of the simplest ways of cooking eggplant in India.

    550 g (1 1/4 lb] (1 medium) eggplant
    About 1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    l/8 -1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Some freshly ground black pepper
    Vegetable oil for sauteing
    6-8 lemon wedges

Cut the eggplant into quarters, lengthwise, and then cut, crosswise, into 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick wedges.
Mix the salt, turmeric, cayenne, and black pepper in a small bowl Sprinkle this combination over the eggplant wedges and mix well.
Put about 1 cm (1/3 inch) oil in a 20-23 cm (8-9 inch) frying pan and set over medium heat. When hot, put in as many eggplant slices as the pan will hold in a single layer. Fry until reddish gold on one side. Turn the slices and fry them on their reverse side. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread out on a plate lined with paper towels.
Do a second batch, adding more oil. if you need to.
Serve with lemon wedges.

I am always on the look-out for new ways to use eggplant. I do fry it, but usually they are deep fried. These aren’t. And they are good, but don’t let them sit too long, as if you would, because they will ‘wilt’ if left too long.

This recipe came from Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking on page 194.

Next week’s theme is Spice Bazaar. Exciting!!

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