To escape the boredom of pasta, soup, and stir-fry, I am always on the hunt for a new, inventive recipe that will be satisfying enough for The Professor (he shuns whole grain salads as side dishes). I came across this recipe for Baingan Aloo Charchari, a Bengali-style curry I had never heard of that seemed to fit the bill, it was substantial enough (especially when served with steamed rice) and exploding with flavor. The only problem was there were no instructions on how to cook it.
After some internet sleuthing I felt like I had the basics down and it seemed surprisingly simple. First you fry the aromatics in oil, then add the vegetables and spices with enough water to steam them. Partially cover and let cook undisturbed until the water evaporates and the vegetables form a crisp crust on the bottom with the remaining oil. The results were excellent, excellent, excellent. I am excited to try it again with different vegetables, although I did love the starchy potatoes with the creamy eggplant.
I rarely recommend how much salt to use in a recipe because I think it really varies according to the ingredients you use and your taste, etc. Because I had no idea how this recipe was going to turn out I used the indicated amount of salt and it was delicious. I’ve indicated that amount below, but if you feel it needs more for your tastes, you can add more at the end.Print
Baingan Aloo Charchari Recipe (Potato and Eggplant Curry)
Adapted from Serious Eats
- Yield: 4 1x
- 1 medium eggplant, large dice
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 jalapeños, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 pound waxy potatoes, large dice
- 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 1/4 cup water
- Juice from 1/2 a lime
- Toss eggplant with a generous amount of salt (about a tablespoon). Transfer to a colander and set over a bowl or the kitchen sink to drain for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid (like a Dutch oven). Add jalapeños, ginger, garlic, and mustard seeds. Fry until mustard seeds start to pop.
- Add potatoes, eggplant, salt, cinnamon, turmeric, fennel seeds, garam masala, and lime zest. Toss to coat in oil. Add water and lime juice, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a rapid simmer, partially cover, and let cook, undisturbed, until water has evaporated and a dark crust has formed on the bottom of the pot, about 35 minutes.
- Stir bottom crust into vegetables and serve.