Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grilled tofu, Asparagus, Pineapple and Corn Salad with Vietnamese dressing

I love love Vietnamese food. I was lucky enough to go Vietnam during my bachelors degree as a part of a multidisciplinary project. I made some great friends there and also was introduced to this beautiful cuisine which was not as popular back in 2009. I loved the use of fresh herbs and the ritual of wrapping the spring rolls in lettuce and mint and then dipping in the sauce. It was so fresh and tasty, unlike anything I had tasted at the time. This little salad reminds me of my time there and the beautiful people I met in Vietnam.

This  salad is inspired by one of the dishes on Red Lantern's menu. (Restaurant in Surry Hills, Sydney) I absolutely love the dressing, its zingy and full of flavour and delicious. I have put a lot of different vegies in this salad as I like to have it as a main meal. But if you think there are too many ingredients you can simplify it and use the vegies that are easily available to you. The tofu makes it more substantial and enough to be eaten as a meal by itself. Its great for those wanting something healthy to have for lunches and dinners.


Serves 4

1 carrot sliced1 cucumber sliced
11/2 cup Pineapple cut into cubes
2-3 bunch Asparagus
1/2 cup corn kernel
100 g Snow Peas
5-6 small pink radishes - cut into thin rounds
250 g Firm silken Tofu (you can use medium firm or firm tofu as well, I personally prefer Silken tofu) cut into 6cmx4cm rectangles
2 cups Rocket leaves
2 cucumbers sliced 
1/2 cup Mint leaves
1/4 cup coriander leaves 


The vinaigrette should be salty, sweet, sour and hot. I am making this to my taste buds which like a good amount of heat and sourness. so if you need alter the quantities a little to your taste.

2 tbsp Peanut oil
1/4 cup coriander leaves
4 long Red Chillies (use only 2 if using small chillis as they are hotter) finely chopped
2 tbsp light Soya Sauce
1 tsp Dark Soya Sauce
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves grated Garlic
2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Limes - juiced and zested
11/2 tbsp brown sugar dissolved in 2 tbsp warm water

2 tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves
2 tbsp Chopped mint leaves
1/4 cup Crushed roasted peanuts


In a bowl add the oil, mix in the other liquids - soya sauce, vinegar, lime juice, give it a good stir. Add the dissolved brown sugar and give it a good mix. Now add the grated ginger, garlic, finely chopped chilli and half the coriander. Give it a good mix and set aside. 

Steam the asparagus, corn and snow peas gently making sure they are still a little crunchy (I usually do it in the microwave) 

On a slightly oiled grill pan cook the tofu pieces till they are nice and golden on both sides. Now you can start assembling the salad. Add the rocket, (remaining)coriander and mint leaves to a big bowl followed by the cucumer, carrot, radish, corn, snow peas, asparagus and pineapple. Add 3 tbsp of the vinaigrette and give it a good mix. To serve place the salad in 4 bowls, top with a few pieces of tofu add another tbsp of the vinaigrette on top and scatter some crushed peanuts, mint and coriander leaves to garnish. 

Fennel and Orange Salad

This is a really quick and refreshing salad. I think this is my go to salad in summer, its sweet, refreshing, healthy and its a great side to any spicy dish too. 


Serves 2

1 large bulb of fennel
2 Oranges
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Lemon juice
1/4 tsp Pepper
Salt to taste


Shave the fennel finely in a bowl and keep aside. Peel the orange and cut into segments and add it to the fennel(remove the seeds. Mix the olive, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and give it a good whisk. The dressing is ready. Pour the vinaigrette over the shaved fennel and orange segments. Garnish with fennel sprigs.Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spicy Vegetable Cous Cous

Cous Cous is a popular grain used in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Libya. Its also very popular in the Mediterranean and Europe. It is basically semolina (durum wheat) and is used in a variety of savoury and sweet dishes. It is very easily available these days in supermarkets, and come in the easy to prepare packs. Its a really good quick meal idea. I have used Middle Eastern flavours to enhance the cous cous and added a variety of vegetables to it. You can choose to add some dried apricots, raisins, cranberries to add a sweet flavour to it as well.


Serves 4


1.5 cups Cous Cous

1.5 cups boiling water

1 Red Capsicum - sliced

1 Yellow Capsicum - sliced

300 g can of Chickpeas

small bunch  Baby Asparagus - ends trimmed

handful of Beans - cut into 4 cm pieces

1 Sweet Potato - cubed

1 Onion - finely diced

4-5 clovesGarlic - crushed

4 Red Chilli - finely chopped

1 cup Parsley 

1 cup Mint

1/2 cup Pistachios

1 tsp Pepper

3 tsp Sumac

31/2 tsp Cumin powder

11/2 tsp Turmeric powder

4 tsp Paprika

Juice of 1 lemon

3-4 tbsp Olive oil

Salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 180C. Roast the sweet potato cubes with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and roast for 20 minutes or till tender.

Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and sweat it, followed by the red chilli and crushed garlic.  Add the capsicum and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the beans and asparagus and let it cook through. Add the spices- sumac, cumin, turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper. Let the vegetables and the spices cook and the flavours get complex.This is the flavour base for the cous cous, so it should pack a punch. Drain the can of chick peas and add them to the pan. The vegetable mix is ready.

In a large bowl add the cous cous and add the boiling water. Cover with a lid and let it stand. Once all the water is absorbed add a drizzle of olive oil to add flavour and lubrication. Take a fork and fluff the cous cous, dont use a spoon as it will get gluggy.

Add the spicy vegetable mix to the cous cous. Add the sweet potato and half the herbs leave some for garnish) Add the lemon juice and mix it thoroughly using your hands. Garnish with toasted pistachios and parsley and mint leaves.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee = Banana + toffee 

This Pie is Pure Genius! 

Let me take you all down the road of culinary genius to find the origins of this dessert.
Here is the story from the creator Ian Dowding himself. The Complete true and utter story of Banoffi Pie 

Credit for the pie's invention is claimed by Ian Dowding (chef) and Nigel Mackenzie (owner) at The Hungry Monk restaurant (now closed) in Jevington, East Sussex. They developed the dessert in 1972, having been inspired by an American dish known as "Blum's Coffee Toffee Pie", which consisted of smooth toffee topped with coffee-flavoured whipped cream. Dowding adapted the recipe to use instead the type of soft caramel toffee created by boiling a can of condensed milk, and worked with Mackenzie to add a layer of bananas. They called the dish "Banoffi" and it was an immediate success, proving so popular with their customers that they "couldn't take it off" the menu.

The Hungry Monk closed its doors for the last time in January 2012 due to "increased running costs". It was purchased in 1968 by Nigel Mackenzie and his wife, and was open for 44 years.
The recipe was adopted by other restaurants, and was reported on menus in Australia and America.[2] In 1994, a number of supermarkets began selling it as an American pie, leading Nigel Mackenzie to offer a £10,000 prize to anyone who could disprove their claim by finding any published pre-1972 recipe for the pie. 

Mackenzie erected a blue plaque on the front of The Hungry Monk confirming it as the birthplace of the world's favourite pudding.The recipe was published in The Deeper Secrets of the Hungry Monk in 1974 (now out of print), and reprinted in the Hungry Monk's later cookbook In Heaven with the Hungry Monk (1997). Ian Dowding has since put his original recipe online because he is "pedantic about the correct version", and stated that his "pet hates are biscuit crumb bases and that horrible cream in aerosols".

A recipe for the pie, using a biscuit crumb base, is often printed on tins of Nestle's condensed milk.The word "Banoffee" has entered the English language and is used to describe any food or product that tastes or smells of banana and toffee.

Banoffee pie in India
Banoffee pie is a very popular dessert on the backpacker trail in India, thought possibly to have arrived as early as 1978 or 1979 with the influx of young westerners to the region, who shared their favourite comfort food recipes with the local restaurateurs who catered to them.The banoffee pie is a fixture in most budget and tourist towns from McLeod Ganj in the northern Indian state of Himachel Pradesh to the resorts of Goa.
Source : Wikipedia

These are two of my versions of the Banoffee pie, its got a few tweaks and one of them is a shortcut version for when you are pressed for time.I have added my own little spin to it by adding nutella to it. The nutella does something magical ( not that the original is not) it cuts through the sickly sweet caramel and adds a nutty flavour which is just divine.

Recipe - The "Almost from scratch method"


For the Pie Crust
(adapted from The Little Teochew)
1 1/2 cups (200g) all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) granulated white sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the Filling
2 Bananas
250 ml thickened cream 
2 tbsp Nutella
2-3 tsp Caster Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract/paste Banana slices and Chocolate shards for garnish

Start by boiling 2 litres of water in a pot and placing the condensed milk tin in it. Put it on a low simmer for 2 hours. Next start the pastry. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Place the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or just until firm (can place in a freezer for about 10-15 minutes.)

Lightly butter and flour an 8  inch (20 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Once the pastry has chilled sufficiently, evenly pat onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan*. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°C  (180°C for a fanforced oven) and place rack in center of oven. Bring out the tart shell that has been chilling in the freezer. Lightly prick the bottom with the tines of a fork. Place baking paper on it and add some beans or rice on it for blind baking. Put the tart in the oven for 25 minutes till its golden brown and cooked through. Take it out and let it cool completely before filling it.

After 2 hours remove the tin carefully from the pot and put it in a bowl of cold water to let it cool down. Be careful while opening the tin the dulce de leche (carmel) might ooze out. Slice the bananas and keep it aside. Take the pie crust and spread a tbsp of nutella on the bottom. Spread the dulce de leche (caramel) next. Fill the tart about 3/4 full. Top it with sliced bananas. Whip some thickened cream with a tsp of vanilla and 2-3 tsp of caster sugar.

                                                                                                Dulce de leche (caramel)

Top the bananas with the whipped cream spreading it evenly. Now let it chill for an hour or till you have to serve. For the garnish scrape a slab of semi sweet chocolate with a knife to get some shards. Decorate with a few slices banana and the chocolate shards. I made mini tarts as I had some pastry left over from another dessert.

"The Shortcut method"

There is no shame in using shortcuts to make your life easy when you are pressed for time. Using these shortcut ingredients, your dessert will be ready in a jiffy. Perfect for mid week dinners. 


For the pie crust
1 store bought sweet flan case
you can also choose to do a biscuit base (like in cheesecakes) if flan cases are unavailable.
500 g digestive biscuits (crushed)
3-4 tbsp melted butter

1 tin Nestle top n fill caramel
250 ml Thickened Cream
2 tbsp Nutella
2 Bananas

Chocolate shards and sliced banana for garnish

For the biscuit base: Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter and press it into the base of a tart tin. Put it into the fridge to let it set.Now take the biscuit base or the ready-made flan base and add the nutella on top and spread it evenly all over the base of the crust. Top it with the caramel and spread evenly till it is 3/4 full. Add the sliced bananas. Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla and spread it evenly on top of the bananas. Let it cool in the fridge for an hour or till its time to serve. Garnish with sliced banana and chocolate shards.

num num...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Summer Fruit Popsicles

 I have been requested by a few friends to give them a healthy, egg free dessert. I cant think of anything better than these popsicles, that meets this brief. 

Fresh fruit tick
Egg and dairy free tick
Refreshing tick
Healthy tick

Enough said! 


(adapted from Pop Sugar Moms)


Assortment of fresh fruits

Mango cut into slices 1/4 cup
Peach cut into slices 1/4 cup
Blackberries 1/4 cup
Strawberries cut into slices 1/4 cup
Kiwi cut into 1/4 inch rounds
11/2 homemade Lemonade/Fruit punch/Grape juice
Mint leaves
Ginger juice (grate and squeeze the ginger, you only need a little to add flavour)


Divide the fruit mixture into 4 heaps and put them in the popsicle moulds Fill the moulds with the juice of your choice, mint leaves and add a few drop of ginger juice ( if using) in each mould.

Freeze them for a few hours till they are solid.

The colours look just divine. I am slurping one right now.


Kadai Paneer

If you have never heard of or eaten paneer before, let me tell you, you have been missing out. Paneer is an Indian cheese and it is a very versatile ingredient. It is a dairy product, and is a good source of protein for vegetarians.

Paneer has a special place in my family. My mother makes some of the most delicious paneer dishes, her palak paneer (paneer in a spinach sauce) is world famous. The first time my husband visited Chennai (my hometown) my mother had made it, and he couldn't believe how good it was. It is luckily my husband's favourite ingredient too, its right up there with chicken. 

Yes yes he is a meat lover and I am a veggie lover and we live very harmoniously (well almost always). I think the best thing about our relationship is that we have always given each other the space to be an individual and be the unique personalities that we were always meant to be. I often get asked, isn't it hard? Or a non vegie friend may try to sympathize for my hubby, saying he's deprived (you dont cook no meat, what!!!). We usually laugh it off because we have never really found it to be an issue. We are both foodies, and love trying new restaurants as much as we love cooking at home. He's really sweet and always looks for the vegetarian dishes on the menu first, making sure I always have a choice (I am a lucky girl) my main concern with his food is making sure everything is free range and sustainable. Eating well and eating healthy is as important as eating right which means eating produce that is sustainable and not harming the environment.

I think its great to be different and have different beliefs as long as we have a common goal - our happiness before mine or his. What can I say it (we) just works!

This dish is one of my favourite Paneer dishes (well I have a lot of favourites) It is earthy, fragrant, beautifully bronze with hidden white and green jewels. Kadai Paneer is a spicy combination of green bell pepper and paneer in a spicy sauce cooked in a kadai  (wok).  Its best served with tandoori roti or parathas.


Serves 4


250-300 g Paneer - cut into cubes
2 Capsicum - cut into cubes
6 cm piece of Ginger - make a paste, and a little julienne for garnish
6-7 cloves Garlic made into a paste
1 Onion - finely chopped
3-4 tomatoes pureed
1 Green chilli - finely chopped
2-3 Kashmiri dry red Chilli (use less if you dont want it too hot) dry roasted and ground
11/2 tbsp Coriander Seeds - dry roasted and ground
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
11/2 tbsp Kasuri Methi (Dry Fenugreek leaves)
2-3 cardamom pods
4-5 cloves
1/2 cup Fresh Coriander leaves- dry roasted
2 tbsp light cooking Cream (optional)
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
Salt to taste


Kasuri Methi /Fenugreek


In a wok heat the oil, add the cardamom and cloves to perfume the oil Let the cardamom start to colour then add the onions and cook till transparent. Add the green chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Add the ground coriander seeds and kashmiri red chilli and mix it well. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the salt and the tomato puree and cook till the oil separates. 

Add the capsicum and cook for another 5-7 minutes.Add the paneer to the wok. Add a the cream or milk and cook for 5-10 minutes till the paneer is tender. Add the kasuri methi and mix everything well. 

Garnish with coriander leaves and julienne ginger. Serve with rotis.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chargrilled Corn, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad with Chilli lime salt

Fresh, healthy Salad packed with super foods like avocado and grapefruit.


Serves 4


1 Avocado
1 Ruby red Grapefruit ( Sweet lime/Mausumbi or orange can be used if unavailable)
2 Corn on the cob
1 Cucumbber
1 Chilli
2 Limes
3 Spring Onions
1/4 bunch Fresh Dill ( Any other herbs you like, coriander, mint are other good options)
1/4 bunch Fresh Parsley
3 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes (Use regular salt if unavailable)


Boil water in a pot and add the corn to it. Cook for 10-12 minutes till tender.
Finely chop the chilli and zest the two limes. Add this along with the salt to a mortar and pestle and pound till you get a fine mixture. Chilli lime salt is ready.

Put the grill pan on the heat, once hot enough add the olive oil to it. Place the corn on the grill pan (be careful it may splutter) Keep turning the corn till they are nicely char grilled. Drain and keep it aside. Sprinkle and rub the chilli lime salt on it.

Finely chop the spring onion, dill, parsley and add it to  bowl. Peel and cut the grapefruit into segments and add to the bowl. Cut the avocado in two halves, gauge the flesh with a teaspoon and add it to the bowl. Chop the cucumber into bite sized pieces and add to the bowl(I like to leave the skin on).

Shave the corn kernels from the cob by placing it vertically on a chopping board, and running your knife along the sides. Add the corn kernels to the bowl. In a separate bowl add the juice of two limes and a teaspoon of the chilli lime salt. Give it a good mix and put it onto the salad. Mix everything well. Salad is ready to be served. 


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Honey Spiced Roasted Pumpkin and Fetta Salad

Summer is the time for fresh salads and this one is a winner in my book. Pumpkin- my new favourite vegetable makes it hearty enough to be had as a meal by itself. I think I have been having this salad for lunch almost ever week for the last 3 months. Roasting the pumpkin with honey and spices makes it sticky and crisp on the outside, melting and soft on the inside. The addition of cumin and paprika makes it pretty special and the sweetness of the pumpkin with the salty fetta is pure deliciousness. 

You can easily take this salad for weekday lunches. Simple pre-roast the pumpkin and store it in an air tight container in the fridge. You can mix the other ingredients and keep it in a box the previous night. Just put the roasted pumpkin in with the other ingredients in the morning. You can choose to carry the vinaigrette separately if you want to retain the crispness (I know I do) Just put it together at lunch time. It might need a little planning but trust me its well worth the effort and once the pumpkin is roasted you just have to throw it all together.



1/2 Butternut Pumpkin
200 g Mixed salad leaves
70-80 g Fetta
3 Spring onions
11/2 tbsp Pine nuts

For the Marinade

2-3 tbsp Honey
3 tsp Cumin powder
3 tsp Sweet Paprika (Degi Mirch)
1 tsp Cracked black Pepper
3 tbsp Olive oil

For the vinaigrette

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp Lemon juice
1 tsp Black Pepper
Salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.Peel and chop the pumpkin into medium sized chunks. I like the pieces a little big as the flesh gets really tender and the outside crisps up nicely.

Line a roasting pan with some baking parchment, it makes cleaning up a lot easier later. Add the pumpkin to the roasting pan, sprinkle the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Add the honey and olive oil and give it a good massage till everything is covered with the glossy,spicy marinade.

Put the roasting pan in the oven and let it cook for about 20-30 minutes. Keep an eye on it after 20 minutes. You want it to get nice and crisp but not over done.

Meanwhile wash the salad leaves and put them aside. Chop the spring onions and add it to the leaves. You can start the vinaigrette while the pumpkin is roasting. Just add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper and give it a good mix. Set aside.

Take the pumpkin out of the oven and let it cool a little. Take the pumpkin pieces (I like mine a little warm) and scatter them on the salad leaves. Add the vinaigrette and mix well. Sprinkle the pine nuts and crumble the fetta chesse on top. 


Apple, radish and walnut salad with garlic and horseradish dressing

I began to 'inspirate' while watching last night's episode of My Kitchen Rules (those who have been watching the show will understand the joke!) Anyways I was salivating looking at the girl's Sausage with apple and radish salad dish. I was salivating of course looking at the salad. The combination of sweet crunchy apples with peppery radishes and lemon juice and rocket. Drool...

I absolutely had to whip it up today and eat it. I think I even dreamt about it last night. I know I know its just a salad, but the heart wants what the heart (tummy) wants.

I didn't know what exactly went in the dressing so I decided to experiment a little. I found a really easy mayonnaise recipe online which I used to make a creamy herb, garlic, horseradish dressing (whats not to like) Lots of big flavours that really worked well together. 


Serves 4


For the Dressing (makes about a cup)

1 egg
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2-3 tsp Red wine Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
1 clove garlic grated ( if you don't like raw garlic, just use half a clove, or roasted garlic)
1/2 tsp horseradish
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt to taste

For the Salad

500 g Mixed Salad Leaves
1 medium sized Green Apple
8 small radishes
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
1/4 bunch fresh dill 
1/2 bunch fresh parsley


Crack the egg into the jar of the immersion/stick blender. (you can use a food processor too if you like) Add the salt pepper, dijon mustard, garlic and give it a whizz while slowly pouring the oil down the side.

Add the rest of the ingredients like dill, vinegar, lemon juice and horseradish. Keep whizzing till everything is nicely combined and you get a beautiful pale green creamy dressing.

Here's the recipe for the mayonnaise by The last Appetite which I modified to make the dressing. 

Finely slice the apple and radish into wafer thin rounds. Finely chop the dill and Parsley.
Wash the leaves and put them in a bowl. Add the apple, radishes, dill, parsley and walnuts to the bowl. 

Add 4 tbsp of the dressing to the salad (add more if you need) and mix it thoroughly so that everything is coated with the dressing.Add some shaved Parmesan on top and now its ready to be served.

Hubby and I enjoyed two big bowls of this tonight. Its a perfect summer salad.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Baingan Bharta (Chargrilled Eggplant Mash)

Baingan/Eggplant/Brinjal/Aubergine whichever name you prefer is one of my favourite vegetables. Its a great vegetable and works well across many cuisines like Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese. This way of cooking eggplant is probably one of my favourite, the chargrilling gives the eggplant a beautiful smoky flavour. Dont go by its looks, its mash like appearance is not very sexy but it tastes divine.

I made this for dinner last night with dal and rotis. You know its good when there are no leftovers, though I wouldn't mind some leftovers right now!

This is a staple Indian vegetable side dish. It uses the basic spices that are found in every Indian household. Indian cooking seems complicated to many, due to the different ingredients and spices it uses. If you cook Indian dishes often, or would like to, then if you can have the basics in your pantry, whipping up Indian food will be easy. I will delve into the different spices and how to make your own masalas (spice mixes) in another post. I will introduce some of the basic spices in this post as well.


Serves 4 


1 large Eggplant
1 Medium sized Onion
2 small tomatoes or 1 medium sized tomato
4-5 cm piece of ginger - grated
5-6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4-1/2 tsp Chilli powder ( you can add as much or as little depending on how hot you like it)
1 tsp Ground Coriander powder
1/2 cup Chopped fresh coriander (use the stems as well)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Vegetable oil


Wash the eggplant and pat it dry. On an open flame on your stove top, roast the eggplant. Keep turning the eggplant with tongs if one area is more charred than the others. The skin will turn black and it will begin to soften and ooze a little bit of its juices. Nothing to worry about, this is what you want.

Keep roasting the eggplant till you feel the centre of it is softened and all the skin has been charred. Now remove from flame and let it cool down.

Meanwhile chop the onion and  tomato, grate the ginger and finely chop the garlic cloves. Set aside.

Once the eggplant has completely cooled, you can start peeling the skin. Remove all of the skin, we dont want any black bits and you should be left with something like in the above picture.

Run a fork through the eggplant continuously, breaking it up like in the picture below.

In a kadai (Indian wok) you can use a normal pan too if you like, heat the oil. Once the oil is hot enough add the cumin seeds. Once the cumin starts turning brown add the onions and let them cook till they are translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and keep stirring. Dont let it brown, we just want to cook it through and still retain the freshness of the ginger.

Add the tomatoes, cover with a lid and let it cook on a medium flame for 5-10 minutes. Open the lid and add salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and give it a good stir so that everything is combined.

The picture below is of my spice box with my essential Indian spices. The more fragrant ones like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin powder I choose to bottle separately. This is my go to box for my everyday Indian cooking. They are available easily in all supermarkets but I would suggest buying from your local Indian spice store. They are much cheaper and better quality too.

Let the spices cook off on a low flame for another 5 minutes. Add the eggplant to it followed by the chopped coriander stems (leaves are for garnish). The coriander stem and root has a lot of flavour, I like to use it during the process of cooking and not just for garnish.

Cover the kadai with a lid and let it cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. You can adjust the seasoning after tasting it. If its too thick or dry add a little water to loosen it, although I have never needed to. Remove from the stove and garnish with fresh coriander leaves and its ready to be eaten. It keeps well frozen and in the fridge for later use as well. 

Best served with rotis on the side.