Baingan Bharta

For K, if he ever decides to cook by himself

Plop those eggplants on the stove. Good ole desi gas stove. No! You don’t need to take out a wok. Just plop ’em on the stove and let them burn.

Now get back to the Shamsie novel you have been reading for the nth time. Cuttle fish, ink, Karachi..

How different is it from Lahore?

Put Kartography down and pick up Moth Smoke.

Never mind, get back to the stove! See how heat has pierced into the skin, aging it in just a few minutes. Turn the eggplant over. Get back to Moth Smoke now.

How did you ever not know of Dara Shikoh? Don’t worry. I learned history through fiction. Thin line..

It’s time to take those eggplants off the stove and let them cool. At this point, they should be beautifully burnt. God! Alliterations I come up with…

My former literature teacher would shake her head!

Use your fingers or fork to peel off the skin. Ditch the fork like I did, you did. I now dive in with my pregnant fingers. Have I never told you about fingers being pregnant. Curvy bones sticking out from the back. Like bellies protruding.. Analogies..Similes..

My former literature teacher would slam her laptop shut at this point.

Sigh.

Mash the pulp. Beautiful golden yellow pulp. See the seeds. What beauty! Make sure you remove every inch of the purple turned black skin from the pulp.

Keep mashing. At this point, you can either chop up some tomatoes, onions and hari mirch, throw in some cumin powder, sprinkle in lemon juice all into the pulp and call it a day or..

You may light up the stove again, brown some onions and hari mirch. Add in tomatoes and coriander powder, garam masala powder, paprika, salt, turmeric powder and cumin powder. Stir it all in. Keep stirring. Let it all just melt into each other.

Add in some water. Keep stirring. Now throw in the pulp. Keep stirring, coating the pulp in the red spicy masala mess that you just created. Now empty out half a cup of yogurt. Stir it. Mix it. Let it cook for ten minutes.

Turn off the heat.

Baingan Bharta!!!

PS. As you know, I don’t know measurements. I start with a pinch of salt here, a teaspoon full of paprika. I keep tasting. Tweaking the gravy as I go. A little more here, a little less there.

Its all about intuition.

Sing as you cook..

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