Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kashmiri Eggplant- Marzwangan Kurma, from the story, "Mazzoo Mazzoo"

Have you ever cooked up a delicious dish taking inspiration from a children's story book? I have!

A few years ago, my kids' grandmother gave them a little story book- a Kashmiri folk tale titled, "Mazzoo Mazzoo," by Sandhya Rao. The entire story is about 10 pages long. Perfect read for a little kid and even for little kids' mommies! The story revolves around a very famous Kashmiri dish called Marzwangan Kurma and in fact, has this lovely little poem, that I assume is written by the author or perhaps translated from Kashmiri into English by the author. Funnily, this little poem is actually the recipe for this beautiful dish! Here, take a look at the poem below:

Recipe for Marzwangan Kurma
And so, the other day I suddenly remembered the story and the dish in particular (of course) and I just had to make it. I went to the store specifically to buy eggplant (brinjal) and meanwhile, the previous night, I soaked a handful of almonds so that it would be easy for me to peel them the next day. I had ginger and cardamom and of course, turmeric powder, tamarind paste and salt. I did not have Kashmiri red chillies (famous for their deep color and mild flavor) and therefore swapped those for some normal red chillies that I had bought at the Indian store. I did not have cinnamon either and so decided to just make-do without it.

I literally followed the poem. Here are the pictures which are pretty self-explanatory:

Almonds, cardamom, ginger, eggplant, tamarind paste
& red chillies too. Eggplant sliced and ginger chopped.
Red chillies & Cardamom ground together in my nifty little grinder
Almond & Ginger Paste (using my food processor)

Note about the almond and ginger paste: I added just a tad bit of water to allow for a paste. When the paste was ready and I opened the lid, I was hit by this astoundingly divine aroma and upon tasting it, I thought to myself that this itself is super delicious and maybe if I add some sugar to this, it will turn into a beautiful dessert! I mean, it was just that yummy!! (Of course, one has got to love ginger to love this almond-ginger paste).

Eggplant tossed with turmeric and salt, being fried in some oil.
In goes the almond ginger paste & the red chillies+cardamom powder
& tamarind plus some water, just enough to barely cover the eggplant
Simmering away for 15 minutes-- divine aroma, BTW!
Marzwangan Kurma ready (the gravy is thickened).

In less than 20 minutes, I had made Marzwangan Kurma, from a Kashmiri folk tale! I sure felt mighty pleased with myself and the dish- it tasted beautiful. The eggplant was nice and juicy and tasted delicious in the gravy that was tangy from the tamarind, and had this flowery aroma from the cardamom, while the red chillies added some heat. I did not miss the cinnamon, but I bet that would add to the overall flavor of the dish. And you can never go wrong with almonds! I served the kurma with rotis.

Funny how I followed that book to make a dish, huh? Well, hey, one can derive inspiration from anywhere, anything- even a simple little children's story!


adibud34 said...

Is the cautionary advice based on the kids and hubby's refusal to imbibe the eggplanty goodness? I thought they all liked eggplant!

Dreamer said...

Yep- based on my kids' hatred for the King of Veggies! As for the hubby- he is not too fond of it either, except if it is in the form of baingan ka bhartha! However, he eats it if he has no other choice! haha! ;)