There was a time when I hated baingans. I was not in love with the purple big eggplants/brinjal/baingans as I could not roast properly. I know its sounding ridiculous, but its true.I knew how to chop up and cook,but roasting over gas was something I started enjoying after marriage. I love the warmth provided by smoking and enjoy bhaingan and the bharta . Now I am trying out different eggplant dishes in other cuisines and find that there is surely some sort of connection between each cuisines. There are several ingredients common to each cuisine and each region/cuisine used it along with the region specific spices to evolve a dish. Look at the case of Yatimcheh which I found in the blog FigandQuince. Yatim is Urdu for orphans. How and why the dish got the name I have no idea. But its a simple side of sauteed eggplant with a vinaigrette.And it was similar to Italian caponata. See I talked about connection, right?!. But enough talk. lets see the tasty dish.
Chinese eggplants : 5-6(long,thinnish,purple skin eggplant)
Onion: 1 medium finely chopped + 1 small for the dressing
Garlic: 1 small clove
Turmeric: 1 tsp
Ginger: 1 tsp (optional)
Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
Red wine Vinegar: 1/2 cup +/-
Dried Mint: as per taste
Salt&Pepper: as per taste
Skin the eggplants, prick it with fork and then sprinkle with salt and let it sit for an hour or so to remove the bitterness.Then rinse it, dry in paper towels and then cube them.
Heat oil in a deep pan and saute onion for a few minutes till transparent, then added minced/grated garlic,ginger, turmeric powder and salt and continue sauteing for a few more minutes.
Add in the cubed eggplant, mix well and let it cook on low heat for another 15-20 minutes or more covered until the cubes are cooked and tender.Add and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve topped with a mix of 2-3 tbsp of vinegar,minced/chopped onion and dried mint.
A simple ,refreshing and tangy side salad for your breads/rotis. Please adjust the quantity of vinegar as per your taste.Its a dry side salad unless you use a lot of vinegar which some might not like. Red wine vinegar and eggplant are a sure shot combination and this dish proves that fact as well.
The dish is also called Yatimcheh-e-Bademjan and is authentically/traditionally meatless.