Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Taste of Rajasthan

Allergies still are shaping the daze of our lives here in St. Louis, but today I managed to pull my act together. I cooked up a flavorful and spicy meal for this rainy, stormy Saturday night that we are spending in the comfort of home. I've been missing out on so many food blog events recently, so I am delighted to be able to send this meal to Padmaja for RCI: Rajasthan.

Rajasthan: a Northern state of India that I am not too familar with. Rajasthan evokes images of dry dusty deserts, harsh living conditions, camels and oases, and rugged beautiful people whose colorful and vivid way of dressing belies the difficulty of their lives. I have never visited Rajasthan but my parents were there last year for a conference. My dad, an avid photographer, sent me some incredible pictures from their trip. Here is one of them...
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Maharashtra is home to a number of migrants from Rajasthan- Marwaris who are traditionally recognized as being astute businessmen and tradespeople. For instance, the master carpenter who my parents relied on for every project big and small was from Rajasthan (but in addition to speaking his native language, he spoke Marathi perfectly...not just any Marathi but perfect Kolhapuri Marathi). But the only typical Rajasthani food I have tasted was at a Marwadi wedding. It was a sumptuous lunch, and I will never forget being served daal-baati-churma with an entire katori (bowl) of ghee on the thali for dipping the baati into.

The recipes for this meal came from a book that I found in our local library. It is called Ajanta: Regional Feasts of India written by a restauranteur from California named Lachu Moorjani. The book is organized into a dozen or so menus, feasts from different (predominantly the Northern) states of India. The Feast from Rajasthan features bharwan mirch pakora (stuffed pepper fritters) as the appetizer, sufed maas (white meat curry) as the entree, achari baingan (eggplant with pickling spices) as the side dish, Rajasthani pulav (pilaf) as the rice dish, batia roti (flatbread stuffed with salt, cilantro and spices) as the bread, and rasgulla (cheese balls in syrup) as the dessert. Quite an ambitious menu it is, and I chose just two dishes, the rice and the eggplant, for our little mini-feast.

The eggplant dish calls for a tomato-onion filling that is sauteed with a delicious medley of pickling spices. This tangy and spicy filling is stuffed into long Chinese eggplants and they are pan-fried to melting tenderness. The rice is pretty much a standard pulao, but is cooked in stock to make it more flavorful, and with aromatic whole spices. The spices used in the two dishes are completely different, complementing each other and in cooking both these dishes, I made use of almost all of the whole spices in my pantry! This meal perfumed my home with such a wonderful aroma, one that managed to pierce through even to me, with my current state of near-anosmia.

Achari Baingan
(Eggplant with pickling spices)

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(adapted from "Ajanta: Regional Feasts of India" by Lachu Moorjani; serves about 3)
Ingredients:
4 long slender (Chinese/Japanese) eggplants
2 T oil
Filling:
2 t oil
1 t mustard seeds
1 t cumin seeds
1 t nigella seeds
½ t fenugreek seeds
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 t ginger-garlic paste
3 tomatoes chopped fine (I used canned whole tomatoes)
1 t turmeric
1 t red chilli powder (or to taste)
1 t coriander powder
salt to taste

Method:
1. Start by making the filling. Heat the oil and add the four seeds. Saute them for a few seconds to temper the oil.
2. Add the onion and fry it on medium heat until soft.
3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Cook uncovered on low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is almost dry. Let it cool a little.
4. Prepare the eggplant by cutting off the stem ends. Slice the eggplant lengthwise leaving it still attached at the stem end.
5. Divide the filling into equal portions and stuff the eggplants gently.
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6. In a wide pan, heat the oil. Place the eggplants and cook them on low heat, turning every few minutes, until the eggplants are cooked through and are wonderfully tender. I covered the pan in the last 5 minutes of cooking to get them completely cooked.

Rajasthani Pulav

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(adapted from "Ajanta: Regional Feasts of India" by Lachu Moorjani; serves about 3)
Ingredients:
1 C Basmati (or other long-grained) rice
2 C vegetable stock
1 small onion, halved and sliced
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 cardamon pods, crushed
5-6 peppercorns
5-6 cloves
1 t oil
salt to taste

Method:
1. Heat the oil. Saute the onion and the whole spices until the onion is slightly browned.
2. Add the rice and saute for a minute.
3. Stir in the stock, salt (if needed) and bring to a boil.
4. Simmer until the rice is tender.
5. Fluff with a fork and serve. Remove the whole spices before eating.

Verdict: What a wonderful meal this was! I love stuffed eggplants from all regions of India, but this dish was very different from the mostly Western and Southern style recipes that I normally use. I am thrilled to have another stuffed eggplant dish that I enjoy. It was my first time cooking with these long eggplants, and their sweetness was a wonderful contrast to the spicy pickled filling. This dish is finger-licking good in that irresistible way pickled vegetables are. As much as I loved the eggplant with the fragrant rice, I loved it even more with roti. Next time, I might make a complete Rajasthan-inspired meal with this eggplant, rotis, rice and Rajasthani kadhi.

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So it turns out that these days I have a new obsession on my hands- I have been bitten by the knitting bug. Cathy taught me to knit last year and left me with a ton of knitting supplies, including yarn and a superb book. Now that summer is here and I have more time on my hands, I decided to give it a go. I am hooked (no pun intended)! Knitting is so therapeutic. At one point, I turned to V and said, "Isn't it magical and miraculous how two thin sticks can turn a ball of thread into all kinds of stuff?". He looked at me warily and I am sure he thought it was just the antihistamines talking :D

Here is my first complete project- a little paw print washcloth; I found a free pattern online here. I know this is the sort of thing that people make when they are eight and a half years old, when they just start to knit, but I am excited all the same. I couldn't stop saying "whee" as I completed each line without dropping a stitch.
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Well, I have way more enthusiasm than talent when it comes to knitting, so there is no danger that this food blog will turn into a knitting blog, I assure you. But tell me, does anyone have ideas for a simple and fun beginner project?

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone.

66 comments:

  1. hi nupur,

    a silent visitor here! couldnt resist passing on this information for an 'idea' for the knitting project-----not advertising for it.

    I had just 'soda-bottle enthu' for knitting----hence couldnt help them much....by the way its based in MO i think....

    you can have a look...
    http://www.newbornsinneed.org/html/about_us.html

    -SJ

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  2. Achari baingan! That sounds like something I would love, given that I'm not too crazy about eggplants.

    When I think of Rajasthan, Lamhe(the movie) immediately comes to mind. I loved the song and the way it was picturised in the desert. If you've not seen the movie, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about.:D

    I remember we used to have a knitting class in school every week. It was one class, among many others, that I did not look forward to. The simplest project I remember doing those days was the headband- pretty simple and straightforward.

    Hope you're feeling better now.:-)

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  3. What a beautifully written post Nupur and your Dad's photo is just gorgeous! Eggplant is one of those veggies I need to become better acquainted with. There certainly is no shortage of tempting recipes calling for eggplant, so I don't know what I've been waiting for! Your dish sounds delicious and like a good place to start!

    P.S. - how about a simple hat? You'd have to do some decreasing, but that's not bad... found this general "recipe" for a cute and very easy hat: http://www.crazyauntpurl.com/archives/2005/06/easy_rollbrim_k_1.php

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  4. wow! wonderful, eyecatching and mouthwatering pictures. Nice post.

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  5. My best friend is Marwari, and I think they make one of the best tasting Indian vegetarian food - i always hog when i am her place...your achari baingan looks absolutely mouthwatering...this is another of your bookmarked recipes now...
    I do think knitting is so therapeutic, have never got the chance to learn it though :) Your initial effort has turned out beautifully!

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  6. HI Nupur,
    I missed you posting. I absolutely adore stuffed brinjal, bookmarked (as usual, together with all the rest of your yummy posts).
    You knit? that is cute, I like the color and the pattern. You changed your pretty pic, I noticed....

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  7. What a coincidence..At our potluck dinner today, we were talking about Rajasthani delicacies..such as 'Dal baati' and 'Gatte ki subzi'
    Rajasthan evokes rich taste of delightfully cooked meals. I have three little eggplants remaining in my fridge. After having eaten 'Bharli vaangi' all the time, this one is a welcome change:)
    BTW, I also heard about a particular dish made from 'Poppy leaves' I was surprised to know although, poppy is associated with narcotic efffects, the leaves form a part of a wonderful subzi:)

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  8. Welcome back :-)

    And both these dishes look very tempting. And congrats on the knitting... you can go "whee" as much as you like... it always happens to me :-)

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  9. lovely entries for rci...pulao looks so good...Btw i loved your knitting...i want to learn too...

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  10. Nupur...your dad has captured it so beautifully!...do share some more with us....

    and thats a lovely meal!...You new hobby does look very cute..though I have two left hands when it comes to knitting..:)))

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  11. Super recipes! I can imagine how great the eggplant must taste on a fragrant bed of basmati!

    And that is one neat first time project! Maybe you can try knitting a hat now? They are quick to knit. If there are any little ones you might want to knit for, I have a simple k,k,k one piece pattern for a sweater that is a breeze. I have made it n number of times for its ease; it is very pretty too. Definitely a weekend project. I'll e-mail it?

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  12. What a great post, so full of information, tradition and FLAVOR! I love the photo from your father, and now, I have to try stuffed eggplant!

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  13. Nupur, that is a beautiful picture and the dish is for me to make when I have some brinjals in my garden. I can already imagine the taste.

    When you said Rajasthan is a North Indian state it reminded me of how relative a place is, for us in TN even Maharastra is a North Indian state :)

    I only admire knitters, I see people engrossed in thier knitting (esp in the bus or train) and I pass my time just watching them knit, it is mesmerising. Good Luck with your project. Everything is 99% enthusiasm and 1% talent. you will do good ;)

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  14. love the paw print wash cloth.....and say whee all you want!! nice recipes too....:)

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  15. Yummy rajasthani spread...great knitting job...u get lot of free patterns on the net..you could try them out

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  16. Nupur,
    I must confess, that second picture made me drool (and I still am drooling).

    Congratulations on completing your knitting project. I was an avid knitter when I was in middle school but somehow lost interest or my priorities changed along the way. Seeing your washcloth makes me want to take it up again for nothing more than its therapeutic value.

    Btw, thanks for your suggestions in response to my comment on your last post. I never realized there were so many options. Encouraged by your suggestion, I offered my neighbor to walk her friendly Lab Mollie and she was really happy. I look forward to walking Mollie when the weather gets warmer.

    Mamatha

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  17. Wow Nupur-such a fantastic post! Your Dad's pic is AMAZING and the achari baingan sounds yummy! This is something that I'm going to be trying soon. Your whole post on knitting made me smile, especially the part about V maybe thinking that its the antihistamines :-)
    --Ruchika

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  18. lovely entries for RCI. Eggplant resting on basmati rice, wow, makes me hungry! Lovely photos too. Your dad looks like a wonderful photographer. The picture is awesome. And your first knitting project is so good. Kudos for everything.

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  19. Nupur,
    Rajasthani cuisine is really yum. That stuffed eggplant looks real good. I always use the Indian eggplant and never tried the Japanese one. Should try.

    Abt Knitting - Last winter I knitted 3-4 scarfs for my daughter. Real easy and my she loved it. She chose the colors, design, etc. She now thinks that I am the greatest Mom in the world for actually knitting scarfs for her instead of buying them. :))

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  20. Nupur, nice write up on Rajathan. Love the cute paw print

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  21. Nupur, sign up for an invitation to join at ravelry.com. You usually get in within a week or two. There are tons of free patterns available and pictures of what people have knitted. Try a scarf next? With two types of yarn - one chenille and one 'fun'? It remains simple but the fun factor is upped by the two different types of yarn. Something like this? Do it with large needles and it will move really fast.

    The pic is fabulous! You should print it and frame it!

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  22. SJ, thanks for the link...that does seem like a worthy cause to knit for! "Soda-bottle" enthu is an intriguing term :D

    TBC, yes, this is sort of deliciously flavorful dish that would change the hearts even of eggplant haters! I do remember the movie Lamhe now that you mention it, and all the desert scenes.
    We had a knitting class in high school too, and were supposed to make a baby bonnet-and-booties set one year. Most weeks, some teacher or the other would use the class for making up lessons, exam review and so on and we never learnt knitting in any real sense (or at least I never did). But the headband is a great idea, something very functional :) thanks!

    Cathy, I'm so glad you like my Dad's photo. I thought of cropping it a bit and playing with the contrast etc, then decided that I wouldn't tamper with it in any way since it is his picture.
    This eggplant dish certainly is delicious...and it was fun to make.
    The hat is so cute! Looks like a really nice project to take on.

    Mythreyee, thank you!

    Nandita, I wish I had more of a chance to eat home-style Marwari food...but Marwari family friends (and everyone else) made typical "party dishes" and not simple ghar ka khaana for get-togethers :(
    Thanks :) It was fun to learn knitting...maybe when you have some extra time on your hands sometime, I am sure there are people around you who could teach you.

    Zlamushka, glad you liked the stuffed eggplant...it is completely worth trying.
    I don't knit, I started 5 days ago :D I am enthusiastic about learning more! Yeah, I got bored of the pic and changed it, will change it back to my pic when I find a good one (I don't photograph well).

    Rays of Sun, three little eggplants :) so cute. Yes, this is a nice change from dishes of the bharli vangi variety. Well, the poppy plant is well used in India. We all have poppy seeds in our pantry :) and bhang is a legit drink. So I suppose it is only fitting that someone would make a nice subzi from the leaves! Hope you are doing well :)

    Harshad Joshi, thanks!

    Raaga, you knit? Any favorite projects? Good to know you enjoy it too!

    Sowmya, thanks! I am sure you know someone who knits (it is a very popular hobby); it is really fun to learn and practice.

    Srivalli, oh come on, I am sure you are not bad at knitting...in fact, I too have two left hands when it comes to any arts and crafts :) but I enjoy them so I do them anyway!

    Anita, me, knit a sweater? gulp! but you make it sound so simple and fun. Sure, there are tons of little ones that I could make a gift for. I would love love love to have the pattern if you find the time to e-mail it, Anita. Thank you so much!

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  23. T. W. Barritt, yes, you definitely have to try stuffed eggplant; I have a dozen different recipes for it from different parts of India and they are all so tasty.

    Indosungod, you're growing eggplants? Yes, this dish will be divine with fresh sweet eggplants from the garden!
    LOL yes, North/South is certainly relative but we in the middle of the country have an easy time of splitting the country half-way into North and South :)
    "Mesmerising" is a good term to use with knitting. I have been enjoying knitting on the bus :) and everyone peers curiously at the project trying to see what you are making :D

    Arundati, thanks, my dear :)

    Easycrafts, yes, I have been finding some cute patterns on the net. Thanks for stopping by!

    Mamatha, yeah, I can see how knitting can be pushed to the sidelines as one gets busier. Simple projects like the washcloth are great because they don't take forever and it is a good feeling to be able to complete something and then use it. If you do take it up now, you might be amazed at the range of yarns/ adorable patterns etc. available. It is a huge hobby here in the US.
    How nice that you are going to walk a neighbor's dog. I hope you and Mollie have fun times together!

    Ruchika, thank you, my dear! Yes, you have got to try the achari baingan....very delicious it is.

    Uma, yes, my Dad is a very enthusiastic photographer but he is quite amused that I keep taking pictures of food! Thanks for all your sweet words :)

    Anjali, this was my first time trying the long Japanese eggplants too...and they are so sweet and delicious.
    How sweet to hear about the scarfs you made for your little girl! Yes, I have been given knitted presents too, and I think hand-made gifts are the greatest in the world for sure :)

    Sreelu, thanks! Glad you like it :)

    Manisha, I did sign up for an invitation on ravelry. Two other knitter friends also strongly suggested I do so :) so I am excited about joining it. An aunt gifted me one of those fun scarfs and you are right- that could be a really enjoyable project for me to take on. Thanks for the tips :) I am so impressed by Medha's knitting!

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  24. I don't eat eggplant very often, but this sounds heavenly. I'd pay to eat at your house!

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  25. eggplant looks delecious nupur ,love the masala a lot

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  26. Nupur,

    Such a beautiful description, and the gorgeous photo complements it so well. One of my best friends from school was a Rajasthani and I remember going to her house duing Holi. Her mom used to make this amazing food and we kids would eat it from a huge thali. Congrats on your new hobby, the cute paw print design on the washcloth brought a smile to my face.

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  27. I've just started knitting again after a few years on hiatus and am LOVING it. I'm doing a mohair wrap sweater for myself. It's been years since I've made anything but baby gifts, so I am enjoying doing something just for me. Your washcloth is adorable! I think scarves and hats are always good beginners projects, especially if one gets great fun yarn.

    I live in northern CA, and while I don't think that much of eating out in Indian restaurants in general (it tends to be overly-greasy northern Indian cuisine almost exclusively), I make notable exceptions here for Ajanta, Viks and Saravana Bhavan. I have the Ajanta cookbook and have enjoyed a few recipes from it. I'll have to try this.

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  28. Yay...you too knitting? Wow..I have been bitten by it too :D. I finished my first knitted vest last month :D. I think its coo to start some kind of sweater because it lets you learn almost all aspects of knitting. I simply loved the paw cloth you have knitted. Its so cute.

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  29. The achari baingan looks so spicy and also colorful with the spices.

    Your knitting looks good. The only things I knitted as an 8 year old was mufflers, the family got so bored with me making multi-colored unwearable mufflers that I gave it up :)

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  30. the rajasthani recipe looks too good..and the knitted cloth looks too cute

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  31. Mouthwatering recipes! Fabulous pictures! And really cute washcloth :) I was considering taking up knitting inspired by a knitting club at work, you just inspired me a little more :)

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  32. Yummy Achari baigan Nupur , great entry..
    The knitting is really superb, i did it when i was in school, try some placemats, muffler. They are 4 beginner...U should have a real eye vision...

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  33. hi nupur.
    this sounds deelish. what's nigella seeds?

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  34. I've only just found your blog and I have to say it's looking great.

    Both those dishes look amazing, so colourful and exotic.

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  35. achari baingan looks blissfull.. bookmarked... check out my humble entry too...

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  36. Lisa, LOL Trust me, you don't have to pay...just show up and join us at the table. You have a standing invitation! This way of making eggplant just might turn you into a fan of the purple beauty :)

    Sagari, Yes, the masala was really delicious, in fact, it might be good as a stuffing for other veggies too.

    Namita, Good to hear from you. Your memories of eating home-made Rajasthani food are so wonderful!

    Diane, A wrap sweater for oneself sounds like such a fun project! You are right- I need to go to a good knitting store and stock up on some cute yarns.
    So you have eaten at the Ajanta restaurant! The recipes do sound like it would be a great place to dine out.

    Shilpa, LOL you too are a knitting fan now?! Hey the knitted vest sounds great. And a pretty involved project! See, I always think of garments as difficult and small things/accessories as manageable by me. But you're right- taking on something like a sweater might be challenging and teach me a lot! Thanks for the tips :)

    Sandeepa, Aww...I can just picture you busily knitting mufflers as a little girl!! I suppose you no longer find time to knit, eh?

    Divya Vikram, thanks :)

    Shweta, Well, if you find a fun knitting group, that would be such a nice thing to participate in. Plus experienced knitters will mentor you! This might not be a hobby for everyone but I am loving it right now.

    Cham, thanks for the tip- it might be fun to knit some placemats for my dining table! Yes, it can be a strain on the eye if one does not take frequent breaks.

    Mona, nigella seeds are also called "kalonji". Read about them and see a picture here:
    http://food-forthought.blogspot.com/2006/06/mistress-of-spices-finally.html

    culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess, Welcome to my blog! Thanks for saying hello :)

    Swati Raman Garg, thanks!

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  37. I love stuffed eggplants and never tried one with the long chinese ones..:) the filling is so different and am happy I have one more variation of bharva baingan..:D..the knitted washcloth looks so cute Nupur..Looking forward for more!

    Siri

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  38. nupur!!lovely lovely post..stuffed brinjal loks really delicous....i can imagine the taste...great entry!!

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  39. the kalonji adds such a unique flavor :) the pic from Rajasthan is a beauty, Nupur!
    knitting is a lot of fun, i remember knitting a lot during my school summer vacations & then comparing notes w/ friends at the end of our vac :)

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  40. wow, a neat way to make people relish baingan Nupur:) the filling wsure sounds interesting!

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  41. I totally hear you on the allergy thing, Nupur! I've been rubbing my eyes like mad despite taking allergy meds! Eggplant and rice dishes look delicious. Goodness knows I can't get enough eggplant dishes!! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  42. Though not a big fan of eggplants; this achari version I'll dig into anytime.
    You are now knitting?? Have you figured a way of getting more than 24 hours in a day?

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  43. That is a wonderful pic ur Dad sent u! I always think of 'morni baga maan boley aadhi raat maaa...." Song when I think of Rajasthan! The baingan ( which I don't like) will be a treat for my parents and M, the stuffing ( I liked!!) will be tried with some other vege ( just for me)!
    That is one nice washcloth! Dale's Paw Print!! I made a sweater, boots and topi set in school, I was SO proud of it , that to date it was wrapped in sandal sachet and a polybag! Looking fwd. to using it soon! Dunno ifI will take up anything again, but I remember it was fun !!

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  44. Achari Baingan & Pulav look awesome Nupur! Rajasthani food - not tasted yet.. the authentic one. May be i must take a trip there & see...heard beautiful place. Knitting looks good - for first timer!!. Before i left STL i learnt to knit a cap for my toddler.. it was so easy & came out good too. Unfortunately i did not take a photos :-(

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  45. Hi Nupur,
    Yummy recipes...Definitely gonna try them...One quick question - how do you know about all these rci events??? Is there a centrol palce they are listed???

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  46. The dish looks delicious. I like using my library as well to try out cookbooks. I have a stack right now, including one on French Vegetarian cooking of all things!

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  47. Wonderful write up,Rajashtani Pulao was excellent.

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  48. Hi,
    I was searching for capsicum recipe and saw a reference in your blog to Ranjani 's eatandtalk blog.But I was not able to access teh blog nor had a way to request access.Can you kindly give me Ranjani's detail so taht I can get access to her blog

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  49. Both look yum, N! And I LOVED the paw print! It definitely looks complicated, not like a beginner project (to the no-knowledge-of-knitting me!)

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  50. Beautiful picture.

    I am trying to sprount lentils due to the inspiration of your post. I have read in other posts that you should not eat these raw due to listeriosis. I read on one blog that you should stir fry or boil. Seems like you do not. Do you think you need to cook them?

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  51. Siri, One can never have too many versions of stuffed eggplants, right?! Glad to know you are a stuffed eggplant fan too :)
    Yes, knitted goodies are likely to show up on this space as long as my enthusiasm persists!

    Ranji, Glad you like it!

    Richa, The kolonji does add a unique flavor- and it is a spice that I have only discovered very recently; am loving it :)
    So do you still get time to knit? Yes, I am discovering that it is a really fun way to make good use of down-time.

    Mansi Desai, Oh yes, the filling was delicious!

    Kalai, I hope your allergies are better now...the itchy eyes are such a pain. Mine continue unabated inspite of zyrtec, allegra and claritin :D
    Good to know that you are a fellow eggplant fan!

    TheCooker, Try this achari version; it just might tip you over into becoming a devotee of eggplant ;)
    Oh, I am knitting at the expense of other things...the dust bunnies are nodding their heads :D

    Manasi, You are right- the stuffing would be great with other vegetables...perhaps zucchini or summer squash or even peppers.
    Cute- you have saved your knitted baby set all these years :)

    Seema, Yup- now it will be easy for you to take an actual trip to Rajasthan and try the real stuff :)
    Hope all is well with you and that you are enjoying the mango season in India!

    Smita, Future hosts of this event (2008 and 2009) can be found at Lakshmi's blog here:
    http://veggiecuisine.blogspot.com/
    Maninas has a wonderful page with all the RCI announcements and round-ups too:
    http://maninas.wordpress.com/regional-cuisines-of-india-rci/

    Lisa, Using the library allows us access to such an awesome collection of cookbooks, right? Especially because I usually find only a couple of recipes from each book that I really want to make anyway.
    The French vegetarian cookbook must be a rather slim volume :D

    shankarkotkar, Thank you!

    Prabha, I'm afraid I have no information about that blog.

    Vani, That is the awesome thing about knitting- that generations of knitters have devised methods and patterns that make it really easy for newbies to take on even complex projects. Since this super-easy cloth, I have tried a couple of things I never thought possible- and managed to do them :)
    It is a very satisfying hobby for sure!

    Lori, Actually, I do cook sprouts before I eat them- simply because I prefer the taste of cooked sprouts. I cook them several ways- lightly steaming in the microwave, stir-frying etc.

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  52. What an engaging post this is, Nupur. And I love the combination of ingredients in the recipe--so bold and flavorful. Many thanks!

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  53. Thanks so much for the info Nupur. I just sent me entry to the RCI-Rajasthan event - My first entry to an event ever!!! :D I am so excited!

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  54. Nupur, I loved this post! You know, I think I actually tried Ajanta! Isn't it in Berkeley, on Solano Avenue? If it's the same, it's a really good one.

    Also - if you'd like to participate, I just tagged you for a meme I was tagged to. :)

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  55. i luv eggplants in whatever way it's cooked!

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  56. Hi Nupur! Your father's picture is beautiful. It looks like there is a wonderful story behind these images. And I love, love your paw print wash cloth! So cute!

    I haven't done any knitting since my one little scarf. I think I'll be picking it up again in the fall probably.

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  57. Nupur..the pic is really lovely...
    the wash-cloth is cute..i have been bit by the knotting bug..actually joined a class a few months back...and made a bag..simple knot and purl...can chk out the lion yarn brand knitting site..they have some really easy patterns there :)

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  58. Hi Nupur ,

    Love the way you write . Discovered your blog recently ..Read all posts and have made a note of all dishes I can try :) Keep posting :)

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  59. Lovely aachari eggplant..shall try this as i was looking what to make with some long eggplants :)!!

    Nice pic Nupur !! Great entry !!

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  60. Hi Nupur, the stuffed eggplant looks so good, I could spoon some right onto my plate from here :) And I love the adorable paw print washcloth! Also loved your dad's beautiful photo... that's a sight you could get lost in, I think. Hope you're feeling better so you can enjoy the free time :)

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  61. I love eggplant! It always get a bum rap. :(

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  62. Susan, yes, this dish certainly was bold and flavorful in the best possible way! Thanks for stopping by :) I'm thinking of some calcium-rich dishes for your event!

    Smita, you are so welcome. I'm excited to see your entry :) The RCI event has really taught me a lot about the cuisines of India.

    Chemcookit, I'll try and do the meme but I am notoriously lazy about those :D
    How awesome that you have actually been to the restaurant "Ajanta"! Yes, it is the one in Berkeley and everyone seems to love it.

    My Bug Life, me too :)

    Anali, Hi :) I will do scarves as gifts this fall/winter too, I am sure. Glad to know you are a knitter too :)

    Rajitha, oh, you took a class?? Right now, I am learning through books (and trial and error!). Hey a bag sounds like a great project. Thanks for the idea!

    Deepthi, Thank you for the kind words!

    Archy, yes, do try the recipe...it is very tasty!

    Linda, Yes, that is exactly what my Dad said, that the sights in Rajasthan are simply mesmerizing. I'm feeling a little better but boy, it has been a rough season :)

    Daniel B, I know...so many people don't like eggplant, but more for us, right? :D

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  63. Hi.. I made the eggplant a couple of days ago and my parents and M loved it! I stuffed a green bell pepper for me and the stuffing went very well with that too! Thanx a lot!!!

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  64. I have been looking out for an achari baingan recipe since so long. Can't thank you enough for posting it. Will try making it soon :)

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  65. I tried this recipe today and it was amazing! Thanks to you.

    A

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