Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Brinjal Capsicum Salan - Parsi vegetarian preparation

Believe it or not, Parsis do have quite a few vegetarian dishes that are quite traditional. Recently friends of mine attended a Parsi dinner in Delhi and the vegetarian menu described to me left me quite disappointed. That's when I decided to explore the vegetarian fare that is regularly cooked in many Parsi households, quite defying the general perception that Parsis have no clue about vegetarian food.

Brinjal Capsicum salan is a lightly spiced medley of just brinjals and capsicums. This combination of vegetables quite surprised me when I first encountered it, but it actually works very well and is one of my favourite Parsi vegetarian preparations. It's easy to put together and is perfect for a light summer meal with rotis.

The simplicity makes this ideal for the hot months. There is no ginger- garlic paste and there are no whole spices either. In fact, it is a lot like the Bengali vegetarian everyday preparations where the vegetables get to do the talking without being smothered under spices and heavy flavours.

1 medium sized brinjal, cubed
2 large green capsicums, cubed
1 onion, sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
cumin powder
coriander powder
garam masala powder
oil to cook

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and fry the brinjal pieces. When they are nearly done add the capsicums and let it fry for another 3 or 4 minutes. Don't let the capsicums get soft. Remove into a bowl or a plate.

In the same kadai heat a little more oil and fry the onions. Once they turn pink dunk in the chopped tomato. Cook this till the tomatoes and onions are completely soft.

Add the spice powders and a couple of teaspoons of water.

Traditionally spices were ground to a paste but in modern kitchens we use powdered spices. These often get burned in a hot wok so adding a bit of water saves them from burning and also helps the flavours meld. Cook covered for about 5 minutes.

Add the fried brinjal and capsicum pieces and stir the whole lot nicely. Another 2 or 3 minutes of cooking covered and you're done. Serve with hot rotis, parathas or bread. I enjoy this with rice and daal too, though traditionally it is paired with breads.

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