As far as my memory goes, I was the most non fussy kid amongst siblings,where eating vegetables was concerned.I adored Bitter gourds and bottle gourds as much as Paneer and Potatoes.My father who is a real foodie, encouraged us to eat everything from vegetables to fruits, nuts to berries. Every Sunday, he used to purchase a whole lot of vegetables from Veggie Market and while other kids in family made faces at sight of Ridge gourds and eggplants, I used to be the one who would wait for their turn in next meals
Life was all about simple pleasures then, when fresh cucumbers were peeled,cut and chilled in freezer and then relished with some dash of salt and red chilly powder, or those gorgeous looking, absolutely refreshing ,watermelons, cut into bite sized pieces and chilled to enjoy on a lazy Sunday summer afternoon.Sometimes a Mawa kulfi from the street vendors,or Laachi (a pepper-minty sugary candy like, but chewy) was all that it would take to enjoy a Sunday.
Some Black Jamuns (berries ) soaked in salted waters ,were nibbled over chats with neighboring friends, or some boiled whole peanuts,cracked and the nuts thrown in air and mouths kept wide open to catch those, were some of favorite past times.Not to forget those Karvandas (Indian mountain berries), Imli (fresh tamarind), kairi (Raw mango) that added the perfect tangy-ness to the sweet nothing talks with friends while on the way back from school.
Some hot Bhutta ( corn cobs) roasted on coals, right in front of us, were enjoyed after SCRIBBLING with a slice of lemon dipped in salt and red chilly powder, on the perfect monsoon evening. Ahh and bless that Paani puri waale uncle ,who used to announce his arrival daily with a typical sound of rubbing 2 china clay plates against each other (it sounded so uniquely wonderful) and who use to make the most awesome paani puris, resulting which, I am still unable to curb my craving for this amazing street food.
One such craving that dates back to my pre-marriage days is Bartho or eggplant chutney,which my mother made often !
Baingan bartha …I know each one of you will assume it to be the semi dry veggie dish, made with onions and tomatoes…..right? Wrong ….in my case at least.Because at my home (Not sure what other Sindhis called this) baingan bartha is a wonderful chutney, simple to make but very flavorful. A freshly made bartho with koki and Saibhaji (An ultimate Sindhi Food Trilogy) is Halfway to Heaven 🙂
But still after marriage I hardly make this at home, since no one else is interested in this boiled and grind-ed purple beauty.
So now whenever my mother makes this,she makes sure to keep aside my share and send me in 🙂
- Eggplant 1 medium,Dark purple variety (An un-confirmed tip is to choose a Female Eggplant,which have loads of seeds, is less meaty and tad bitter than its male counterpart, for a perfect texture of this chutney)
- Onion 1 small
- Green chillies 1-2
- Ginger just a bit
- Tamarind pulp 1-2 tsp
- Salt as per taste
- Wash and peel eggplant
- Cut into large chunks and soak in water for about 5 minutes to get rid of bitterness (of eggplants ...you silly).
- Boil these in little water for about 2-3 minutes till these becomes soft. You can blanch it just as well!
- Remove from water and let it cool completely (One more flavorful way is to roast the whole eggplant on direct flame or in Microwave and later peel and pulse it for few seconds)
- Meanwhile blend/grind together ginger, onion, chillies and salt to make a paste
- Add cooled brinjals and pulse it for 2-3 seconds only.
- Now add some tamarind pulp (1-2 tsp), mix it and adjust the seasoning (if less tangy, add more tamarind pulp, if less spicy, add some red chilly powder etc.)
- Enjoy it fresh.Do not store it for more than a day.
- It tastes great with Koki or parathas
This pic is of Bartho which my mother made and so it goes to our Just for You event,which in this case could be renamed as Just For Me 😉