Vange-batatyachi Bhaji (eggplant with potatoes)

by ifrdaily

2-3 tbsp oil
Pinch asafetida
2 medium garlic cloves, julienned
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
5-6 small red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium globe eggplant, diced
1/2 jar of canned tomatoes (~equal to half 14oz can)
1/2 – 1 tsp of garam masala
1/2 tsp red chile powder
1/2 tsp sugar
Water as needed
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in a large saucepan or kadhai. When it shimmers, add asafetida. Inhale the amazing aroma and only then add garlic. Let the garlic sizzle but don’t let it caramelize or burn.

Add turmeric powder and quickly add the potatoes. Stir to coat the potatoes with oil. Add diced eggplant.
Add enough water to barely cover the vegetables. (Medha may have added a tad bit more water than necessary.)
Add 1 tsp salt and then cover and cook on medium until the potatoes are almost cooked through. 10-15 minutes. Check a couple of times during this process to ensure that the veggies aren’t sticking to the pan as well as to ensure that the water has not evaporated away. Add more water as needed. This dish is not very soupy but it isn’t dry either.

Add tomatoes, breaking them down if they are like mine—canned whole—and stir to mix well.

Add garam masala. I used Koli Masala made by Anjali of Anna Parabrahma. I usually add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala to begin with and, if necessary, add more later.

Add red chile powder, sugar and another 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir and simmer on medium-low until all the flavors have combined.
Adjust seasonings. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot over khichadi with yogurt on the side or with rotis.

This is a simple yet hearty dish that I make on a regular basis. My mother would add diced onions and stir-fry them for a few minutes before adding the veggies. Since Medha was making this off a badly scribbled list of ingredients and verbal instructions, I chose to keep it simple for her and didn’t include onions. Add them if you wish; they taste wonderful.

This can be served as a side. Most of the times though, this is the main dish for us.