Brinjals (Aubergines) cooked with dried prawns 

“To everything there is a season” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

The monsoons is that season for a whole host of lovely local produce. From white onions and garlic  braided and left hanging from the rafters to the dried fish that did its time on hot summer shores. Somehow there is magic when dried prawns are cooked on a rainy day. Yet, like caviar, this is an acquired taste.  

Jeera – 1 teaspoon
Onions – 2 large or 200 grams 
Curry leaves – three sprigs
Tomatoes – 2 
Ginger garlic paste – 11/2
Byadgi chillies – 5 
Groundnuts – 15
Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
Dry prawns – 50 grams
Moong dal – 50 grams
Potatoes – two
Binjals 400 grams 

Oil as required, salt to taste

Mise en place (Preparation) 

Wash and soak the dal and set aside for twenty minutes. Soak the dry prawns in water and wash it about three times. Squeeze out extra water and let it sit.Now cut the onions and tomatoes very finely but dice the brinjals and the potatoes. On a hot pan with no oil, roast the chillies and the ground nuts and let it cool.With a little water, grind the chillies, groundnuts, turmeric and corinder powder and set aside. NOTE: Byadgi chillies give your dish both heat and great colour which a kashmiri chilly may not. 

In a pot heat oil, add the jeera and let it lightly brown. Now add the curry leaves; carefully as they always splutter. Add the onions and cook till translucent. Add the tomatoes and allow them to be rendered down. Now add the ground masala paste  and fry for two minutes on low heat. Add two cups of water and the potatoes with the dal and let it cook till the potatoes are well done. Ground nuts add as a thickening agent to food besides giving the dish a distinct taste. Too much of it and your dish ends up bitter

Now add the brinjals and dried prawns and cook for another ten minutes. You garnish with fresh coriander or curry leaves. I added three more green chillies when the dish was done. Fresh green chillies added at the end of the dish release their oils while contributing mildly to the heat of the dish. you can take the chillies out before reheating. I like to allow my dishes to rest for a while before I reheat and serve. 

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