Poor People's cooking

Brinjal Pasty Vegetable- Vankaya Muddha Koora



Today we had Brinjal Pasty Vegetable for lunch. The name of the dish doesn't do the preparation justice. It was delectable. With mashed brinjal, black eyed beans and toasted urad dal, the textures were amazing. The beans had some bite and the dal was crunchy. This,through the soft aubergine, made for a mouthful of an experience. And the taste...something else!

The recipe is from Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain's lovely book " Cooking at Home with Pedatha" , a collection of recipes from the kitchen of Subhadra Krishna Rau Parigi, now 87 and living in Bangalore.

It is a slim volume with just about 80 recipes. Well presented, with ingredients and methods clearly delineated for ease of cooking, it is a pleasure to use. Mostly because each recipe is accurate in the measurement of ingredients, true to the Andhra style of cooking and is absolutely 'no fail'. An added advantage is the simplicity of every one of them.

I liked the layout. One dish to a page with a box to give alternatives, additions or special instructions. Nice photographs and an illustrated glossary of ingredients in three languages, just enough for those unused to the spices or vegetables used.
I particularly liked the section on Pachadis/ chutneys which is quite comprehensive. The vegetable section could have done with a few more recipes though.

This book is already into its second printing and you can see why. Besides recommendations from the who's who of the culinary world and reviews in every possible paper in India, the marketing has been excellent. Which is saying someting considering this is the first cook book published by the authors themselves whose CV's are impressive. From kathak dancer and choreographer( Jigyaya) to Doctor of Philosophy of Language and writer (Pratibha) to translators of texts from Hindi to English, their interests are eclectic. They seem to have a passion for recording Indian traditions, culture and stories. This book is a continuation of that passion.

Here is the recipe for Brinjal Pasty Vegetable posted here with the kind permission of the authors.

Brinjal 1/2 kg, chopped medium
Black eyed beans 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Ginger 1 tsp, grated
Coriander leaves 1 tbsp, chopped fine
Green chillies 3-4 slit
Oil 2 tbsps
Salt to taste

The tempering
Split black gram ( husked) 2 tsps
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Red chillies 2-3, nicked at tail with stalks retained
Curry leaves 8-10,with stem
Asafoetida powder 1 tsp

1. Soak the black eyed beans in warm water for half an hour and pressure cook up to one whistle.Strain and set aside.

2. Boil the brijal with the turmeric powder until well cooked. Strain and mash coarsely.

3.In a wok, heat the oil for tempering. Add the gram; as it turns golden, add the mustard.Lower the flame and add the red chillies. As they turn bright red, stir in the curry leaves and asafoetida.

4.Add the mashed brinjal and boiled beans, green chillies, ginger and salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes.

5. Finally,switch off the flame and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with steamed rice and any pachchadi from the collection.


Cooking at Home with Pedatha
Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain
Pub: Pritya
ISBN 81-902993-0-1

P.S. from Jigyasa and Pratibha-"It is exactly 2 years since the book was first published and 1 year since we received the news about the awards the book had won. At this point we just want to say that the awards have of course, affirmed our work, and we are extremely happy about them, but the greatest award has been and continues to be the love and appreciation from food lovers like you. It reiterates our faith in working from the heart and in our belief that if you don't take the shortcut, you will go a long way.
Pedatha sends her love and blessings, she says - "to all you wonderful bloggers...whose words I read because of my 2 naughty lovely girls who always remember to send me printouts of the wonderful things you write."

Do check out those "naughty girls" latest offering "Sukham Ayu- An Ayurvedic Cook book".