June 16th was special for Fathers around the world. Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. It wouldn't be fair if I didn't mention my father in the month of June. This post is in remembrance of my father!!
Fishing or farming were not part of my childhood at all, although my parents made sure they raised me on some of the freshest and healthiest fruits and vegetables. Being a scientist, my father was particular about our daily quota of vegetables, fruits and nutritious home made food. My parents were sticklers for making sure diary, fruits, fish, eggs, grains and vegetables were part of all our meals. Many decades ago no-one talked about the 'five a day' theory or health benefits of fruits but my mother kept up with his menu pattern until he passed away.
I've been oblivious to the pains and benefits of growing your own produce myself, although my father had his own vegetable garden in the back yard where he grew fresh okra, tapioca, bananas, eggplants, guavas, tomatoes and peanuts as a mere hobby. Our family lived in a fascinating city in India with a healthy climate all year around, the capital of the powerful Maratha empire and a colonial British architecture. The quarters we lived in had a lot of land hedged in with green shrubbery. There was enough room to grow a flower garden, a beautiful lawn and a big back yard vegetable garden with trees.
I admired his passion at maintaining a flourishing veggie garden and the fact that he grew a few of his favorites himself. Being a renowned scientist he had a busy schedule from which he had to find dedicated time for this hobby. But he spent his evenings outside making veggie beds, watering his plants and removing weeds. Had he been alive and well, my father would have been 86 years old today but he is still my "Food Hero"!!
If I were to follow in his footsteps, the Urban woman in me would get her hands dirty cultivating an expansive vegetable garden and growing all her produce. But, in reality I'm have not an accomplished gardener like him. I could easily be enticed into growing tomatoes, herbs, green beans and green peppers, but with some extra time and effort I would love to grow eggplants, squash and even cauliflower someday.
Eggplant was one of my Dad' favorite vegetables so here's to Father's day--sorry Dad I've used the eggplants from the supermarket. I've certainly inherited his passion for this purple vegetable because they are versatile and can be flavored with almost anything but tomatoes and eggplant are a match made in heaven!!
Whole baby eggplants- 10
Chili powder- 1 Tblspn
Turmeric- 1 Tblspn
Tomatoes- 2 large
Onions- 1 chopped fine
Coriander powder- 1/2 tspn
Green chilis- 2
Garlic cloves- 7
Salt to taste
Olive Oil as needed.
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tspn
Wash and dry the eggplants. Keeping the stems on the eggplants, slice into quarters from the broader end to the stem without completely splitting them, but keeping them whole.
Mix together half of the turmeric and chili powder adding salt to taste and 1 tspn on Olive oil.
Take one eggplant at a time and apply the chili mixture to the inside of the quartered eggplant stuffing it with the spice without breaking them apart. Keep aside.
Next, slice the onions, garlic and green chilies into smaller pieces and keep aside.
Also chop tomatoes as small as possible and keep aside.
Place a large wok over a medium fire. Add 2 Tblspns of Olive oil. When it gets warm, add the eggplants and slowly brown them on all sides by turning after every minute or two. Drain and keep aside.
In the same wok, add another Tablespoon of olive oil, when it gets warm, add mustard seeds and let them crackle. Toss in the chopped onion, garlic, green chili mixture and saute for a few minutes until the onion turns golden brown. Add tomatoes and coriander powder and let it cook together until a soft mushy red mass is formed.
Add enough salt to taste, toss the eggplants and 1/2 cup water. Cook covered until the eggplants are cooked inside and absorbs the gravy.
Serve hot with steamed rice or rotis.