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Salt As Per Taste

In food macrocasm the divide between knowers and pretenders is large. How much is ‘large’? Well, to know the largeness of the ‘large’ one should know the meaning of knowers and pretenders…

Hearing this on a radio show one would be eager to see the abyss of the ‘large’ about which the presenter was talking about. Shukla ji, retiree of ‘Bharat Sarkar’ while trying to look into that probable ‘large’ felt hungry. The evening was slowly dyeing the otherwise pale sky. He was thinking what should be the meal. He was in his racing thoughts going through every nook and corner of his gastronomic desires, but was interrupted by the door buzzer. He opened the door and a cute little girl was standing at the door.

Dadaji, mummy is asking recipe for ‘Baigan ka Chokha‘.

Is she?

Hu, Bhaiya is coming for the weekend from hostel and mumma is preparing ‘Litti-chokha’ for him.

Let’s go then.

Mr Shukla rose from the chair, grab the little hand of Pinku and went to second floor of the building.

This is the family he knew since they came to Delhi. Mr Shukla who was in the final year of servitude then, got the home-posting. Mr Sinha, Pinku’s father was in GAIL and Umma was homemaker.

Mr Anant Shukla on reaching to second floor went inside and was greeted by Mrs Sinha.

Mr Shukla “Aarti why did you bothered my little princess, you could have just called?” Aarti “Uncle I was so confused between Baigan Bharta and Baigan chokha. Which is which?”

Mr Shukla said ‘Baigan Bharta has to be cooked but chokha is assembly of pre-cooked veggies’. The ingredients are more-or-less same. Write it down.

For a family of four

Brinjal/Eggplant/Baigan Aubejine the round one, atleast 500Grams

Potato 250 grams,

Tomato-250 Grams Red round one which has more acidity

Garlic- Minced 6 cloves

Ginger- Minced 20 Grams

Chilly – Depends on the spice level

Oil- Mustard for the sharp pungent taste

Salt

Boil the potato and let it cool down on its own. Never rush them. Now put small slits on the eggplant and rub some oil over it. Put it over bonfire or gas stove or Oven (250°C for 30 minutes). Poke to check the tenderness. The round eggplant can bear good heat because its skin is thick. Once cooked take it off the heat, put it in a bowl and cover the bowl. This will help the skin to loosen up and peel the skin once cooled. Same goes with tomato except the flame provided to tomato should be very slow. Also never put a complete tomato in oven. Fine chop the chillies, ginger. Mince the garlic.

The assembly part is rather easy.

Peel the skin of every vegetable.

Take a bowl and put a table spoon oil. Now add salt. Put everything in mash them. Most important part is to check the salt.

Mr Shukla was acting like the professor of a subject in which he had won the Nobel. Taking the sip of tea he further started.

In bharta u cook things.

In a pan, take oil. Add onions(2 medium), garlic and saute them. Add raw tomato, salt, coriander powder, one teaspoon of garam masala. Cook them thoroughly. One more thing is you don’t add potato in bharta, therefore you have to increase the eggplant and tomato proportionately. Add pre-cooked eggplant and thinly chopped ginger and chillies. Check salt and taste and if needed add dry mango powder as per taste.

Mr Anant took a deep breath and said “there are variations about how the chokha should be made. Some people boil everything and then add oil, others fry everything in oil and then mash them to make chokha.”

“Thankyou uncle” said Aarti.

Mr Anant-“Make some sweet chana daal as well. I still remember the taste of cinnamon going well with spicy sattu of the litti.”

“Sweet chana daal”!?

To be continued..

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