A considerable part of my great-grandfather Bhaskar Gore’s formative years were spent at his maternal grandmother’s house, the Shidores, who influenced much of his palate, and their heirloom delicacies gradually made their way to the Gore repertoire. This recipe probably draws inspiration from dum pukht, a style of slow cooking traditionally used to cook meats over a slow and long fire with minimal addition of liquid. The vegetarian Shidores found a way to adapt the technique to tender brinjals, new potatoes and locally grown sweet, red onions. The rich, robustly spiced and fragrant curry base is versatile and makes an excellent chicken curry as well.
- 1 kg baby potatoes, peeled and left whole
- 1 kg baby onions, peeled and left whole
- 1 kg baby brinjal, scored (make cross-shaped incisions on the brinjals without cutting all the way through)
- 3 tbsp ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp saffron strands
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp mace powder
- ½ tsp nutmeg powder
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 cups ghee
- 1½ cups dried coconut, grated
- 1½ cups onion paste
- 1 cup fresh yogurt, whisked
- ¾ cup coriander seeds
- ¼ cup garlic cloves
- 4-5 cloves
- 3-4 green cardamoms
- Salt to taste
- Using as little water as possible, blend all the spices (cumin seeds, coriander seeds, caraway seeds, cloves, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric powder, saffron and red chilli powder) with the ginger, garlic, onion paste and grated coconut to make a thick but homogenous paste.
- Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pot and once it melts, tip in the ground masala. Sauté over a medium flame until the raw smell disappears, the fat starts separating from the sides, and the masala looks drier than what you started with. Add the yogurt, salt and sugar, and sauté again until the fat from the yogurt begins to separate.
- Tip in the vegetables and adjust seasoning if required. Coat the vegetables well with the masala. Turn down the flame to low and cover the pot with a plate or thali containing a little water. Do not add any liquid to the pot itself.
- Cook over a low flame for 30-40 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Serve hot with poli and shrikhand.
Excerpted with permission from Pangat, a Feast: Food and Lore from Marathi Kitchens by Saee Koranne-Khandekar, Hachette India.