Sunday, October 09, 2005

E is for EGG RASSA and EGGPLANT KAAP

This article is part of a special series called "The A-Z of Marathi food". India is the land of diversity. Each of the 28 states in India has a unique cuisine but the Indian food served in restaurants represents only a tiny fraction of our culinary heritage. I come from the western Indian state of Maharashtra. Capital: Bombay (Mumbai). Population: 96 million (only 11 countries in the world have a population higher than Maharashtra). Language: Marathi. Traditional Marathi food is earthy and humble, diverse and very tasty. It also remains relatively unknown to non-marathis. Its time to change that. I invite you to join me on an alphabetical culinary tour of my state. We will go through the letters A to Z and make a dish with each letter to show-case Marathi cuisine.

E is for Egg Rassa and Eggplant Kaap
E is a hard letter! However, it does stand for two English words, Egg and Eggplant which hold great potential in Marathi food, so thats what I went with.
Eggs are a wonder food just like the beans we looked at last week: being nutritious, easily available and inexpensive. Egg curry-Rice happens to be my favorite comfort food. Every single region of India has its own style of making curries and thousands of recipes exist for egg curry. The one I have chosen is the curry or "rassa" ("ras" means juice and "rassa" is a juicy preparation...a curry) from my home-town. My home-town of Kolhapur is an ancient temple town...a city that grew around the famous Mahalaxmi Temple. For a temple town, Kolhapur has plenty unpious bad-boy attitude! It is a city well-known for its colorful language (the kind of profanity thrown around in routine Kolhapuri conversation would make a truck driver blush); bold folk dances called "lavnee"; a love of meat (vegetarians like myself are an exotic species in Kolhapur); and most of all, for its spicy spicy food. The typical feast meal in Kolhapur: a dry mutton dish, a mutton "tamda rassa" (red curry), a yogurt-based mutton "pandhra rassa" (white curry), rice and onion relish. How's that for a balanced diet?? As an aside, Kolhapuri women have a well-deserved reputation for being feisty ("Lavangi Mirchi Kolhapur-chi") as V found out the hard way :)
As a tribute to my Kolhapuri roots, I made an Egg rassa lunch. The curry is not hard to make at all, and the result is very fragrant and tempting. The deep flavors of this curry are very authentic. Anyone who does not care for eggs can easily put some veggies in instead...potato and cauliflower is a good combination.
E is for Egg Rassa
serves 4-6
EggRassa
Ingredients:
6 eggs, hard-boiled
2 large onion, roughly chopped
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh/frozen grated coconut
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
8 whole cloves
8 whole peppercorns
6 dry red chillies
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
4 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
2 tbsp minced cilantro for garnish

Method:
1. In a pan, heat the oil, add cloves, peppercorns, chillies, poppy seeds and fennel seeds and saute till the spices are aromatic and sizzling.
2. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and fry well till browned.
3. Add the coconut and fry till well-toasted.
4. Add the tomatoes and continue frying for 3-4 minutes.
5. Grind this mixture into a fine paste, using some water as necessary while grinding.
6. Transfer the paste back to a saucepan, add salt and turmeric and enough water to make your desired consistency; bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
7. Peel the boiled eggs, halve them and add them to the curry. Simmer for another minute.
8. Garnish with cilantro.


To make a traditional Kolhapuri meal, serve this egg rassa with jeera rice and "dahi kanda" (yogurt-onion relish). Both are very easy to make.

Jeera Rice
In a saucepan, combine 1 cup long-grained rice (Basmati works best), 2 cups water, dash of salt, 1 tsp cumin seeds. Bring to boil, then simmer will rice is tender.


Yogurt-Onion Relish
Slice some onion really really thin (a mandoline would be helpful here). Mix the onion with yogurt, a dash of salt, and some minced cilantro. Add some milk to thin the relish if the yogurt looks too thick.


The next "E" dish is also one of my favorites; because it tastes so good and because it is made in minutes. Kaap means "cut" in Marathi so this simply refers to cuts of vegetables which are pan-fried to make a side dish. This is one of those dishes that you make at the last minute to jazz up a simple meal of dal and rice, or when you need an extra side dish at the last minute.
Eggplant Kaap
serves 4-5 as side dish
Kaap
Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder/ cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Method:
1. Wash the eggplant and cut into slices crosswise. The thickness of the slices can be 1/4-1/2 inch thick, depending on whether you prefer the "kaap" crispier or "meatier". Set aside. Some people peel, salt and drain the eggplant but I have never found this to be necessary.
2. On a plate, mix the rice flour, salt, turmeric and chilli powder.
3. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet.
4. Dredge each slice in the flour mixture, patting so that it gets coated on each side, and shallow-fry the eggplant on each side till crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with rice and dal. Other vegetables that make good kaap are: raw plaintains, potato, yam, pumpkin. A mixed "kaap" platter is a real treat!

That concludes our "Egg-citing" E-journey. The next letter is "F". Hmmm...any ideas for this one?

23 comments:

  1. Hi Nupur- Excellent write-up as usual. Your description of Kohlapur is very interesting and your dishes look delicious.

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  2. hey Nups!
    all looks sooo yummy! A question, i don't have rice flour, but besan flour. do you think i can still use that to make the eggplant kaap? it looks delicious!
    -laureen

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  3. Nupur,
    I love your blog, especially your section on the various dahls. I've been intimidated by Indian food all my life, having had a mother that cooks superbly. I've ventured into trying my hand at everything else but have been hesitant to touch this. But if I learn alongside your recipes, I think I might just rise to the top! The Egg Rassa looks mouthwateringly good, by the way!

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  4. Egg rassa for dinner tonight, methinks...

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  5. Hey Nupur, your egg rassa recipe was a serioussuper-duper hit with my vegetarian sister-in-law (she's English and loves Indian food) - I made it tonight and she took home the leftovers AND the recipe! :)

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  6. Hi Mika, thanks :)

    Hi Laureen, no idea if besan would work the same way...I am going to try besan next time I make kaap as an experiment.

    Hi Food Therapist, I too have a mom who is an excellent cook so I know what you mean :) But we have to carry on those culinary traditions right ? :D so plunge right in!

    Hi Shammi,
    thanks so much for letting me know that it worked! I am sooo happy that you could enjoy this yummy curry. I think your sis-in-law will find that it's even tastier the next day!

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  7. I've been really intrigued by cooking with hard-boiled eggs in Indian cuisine--partially inspired by the book you so kindly sent. This recipe sounds delicious.

    Amy

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  8. Hi Nupur,
    You have a wonderful food blog. The recipes are easy to follow, ingredients easily available and to boot pictures that make you drool! And the best part, your anecdotes preceding each recipe.

    Faffer

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  9. Hi Amy, its true...Indian food is quite unusual in the use of hard-boiled eggs in entrees...but it makes for a quick and delicious dish!

    Hi Faffer, thanks so much :) I'm having so much fun doing this...and learning so much! Thanks for letting me know you like my wee efforts :)

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  10. Oh Nupur!
    I absolutely LOVE your colorful description of Kohlapur!

    And this egg dish looks very inviting indeed. I jump at the chance to use my white poppy seeds.
    I would really like to feature this dish on my Indian spice blog. Please get in touch with me if you are interested. My email is on my site.

    I'm so glad to have found this place.

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  11. I tried this recipe and it is wonderful!
    See my review here.
    http://towardsabettertomorrow.blogspot.com/2005/11/egg-curry.html

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  12. Hi Nupur,

    I just tried ur Egg rassa recipe and it turned out really well. Thank you very much for this wonderful recipe.

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  13. Hi Nupur,

    when i saw the picture of your eggplant kapa, i was instantly attracted to it. Yesterday i made it and it was really tasty. Keep up the blogging :)

    -Supriya

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  14. Hi Nupur,
    I love your blog and they way you present your recipes. I had boiled some eggs last night and was wondering what curry to make and I remembered your Egg khasa .. It was so yummy!!
    Keep them coming.
    -Meena

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  15. Hi Nupur,
    I just happened to discover ur blog some mnths back an since then am hooked to it.frankly, it is the best food blog i come across and one with easy to follow recipes.
    i am not blessed with the patience to learn recipes my mom so painfully tries to teach me, but I take to cookin when situation demands,so ur blog rely helps to recollect those titbits i must have missed....HAPPY BLOGGING.
    Chaos,
    N

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  16. Hey Nupur,

    Your description and the recipes both are exceptional....keep it up...consider myself lucky to have stumbled upon your blog...cheers

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  17. Hi Nupur,

    It's my first time today at my in-laws' house to ever make an egg-curry. But just reading the recipe itself made my mouth water ! Thanks so much for the help !

    Loadsa love !

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  18. I prepared the egg rassa.. and it was just fabulous! Loved the recipe. I hope you never pull this site down, b'coz the egg rassa is going to be a regular on my table.

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  19. hi Nupur!

    thanks for the authentic recipe.Agadi gharachyasarkhi.sundar.

    I am absolutely loving it.
    Thanks

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  20. hi
    Thanks for sharing ur wonderful dishes , i am a North Indian & was sick n tired of eating the same stuff cooked the same way by myself, hppnd to visit ur blog accidently( actually was invited by my maharashtrian friend for Gauri Pooja Lunch & got to eat Amtey it was awesome ..... so was looking for its receipe when i came through ur blog).
    Thanks again have already tried Zunka & Bharli Vaangi they were a hit. In Egg Rassa i want to know can it be made without poppy seeds as i don't have them & wanna try it tonight.

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  21. Hi Nupur

    Do i need to take the dry rice flour or i have to add lil water to make a paste of it i mean how it will stick on eggplant??

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  22. Hi Nupur,
    My wife is an avid follower of your blog and checks out the recipes you describe...She made the egg rassa for New Year's eve dinner based on your recipe and it turned out amazing..she had made a lot so I went on an egg rassa bhakari/roti diet for 5 consecutive meals!
    I just couldn't resist coming to your blog and iposting a Thank you note to you for this recipe (simple but very tasty)...
    Thanks once again,
    Ashish

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  23. Hey..
    I liked your blog..have tried the egg rassa. my hubby is from maharashtra. wanted to cook tambda and pandhra rassa for him. do you have the recipe for that?

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