AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Methi, Eggplant and Potato Masala DATE: 10/20/2008 11:21:00 AM ----- BODY:

Russo’s Market in Watertown has an extraordinary produce selection – appealing to just about every ethnic group from South East Asian to Armenia to Europe and the Americas. I can often find unusual herbs and vegetables that I’ve seen in my travels or in ethnic cookbooks. It makes for more adventurous culinary experimentation. There are several things I see on a regular basis that I have no idea how to use. One such thing is methi leaves.

When I signed up to participate in “Taste & Create,” I didn’t expect to encounter such exotic ingredients. Taste & Create is a monthly food blog event, in which participants are randomly paired with other food bloggers and asked to choose and prepare a recipe from their partner's blog. I was paired with “Tasty Curry Leaf.” The recipes on this blog have a decided Indian, vegetarian bent. As I browsed through the recipes looking for something fun to try, and I was beside myself to find a recipe that used an ingredient I had seen in the markets, but had never cooked.

I’m not as familiar with Indian cooking so I was intrigued by some of the techniques. Most notably, the raw potatoes are salted before cooking. The excess water is squeezed out. And unlike typical French fried potatoes, the salty seasoning penetrates and satiates.

The methi leaves are considered a vegetable and not an herb. As they are sold with the roots attached, like cilantro or basil, this was not overtly obvious. When cooked, they retain more substance than spinach but have a similar texture: a cross between crunchy and creamy. If you can't find methi leaves, watercress would make a fine substitution.

Though the spice combination is straightforward, the flavors are quintessential Indian: a wonderful and simple recipe. The one modification I made was the addition of a few drops of lemon juice. The next day, we made omelets with the leftovers.


Potato:1 cubed
Eggplant:1 cubed
(long purple Chinese eggplant/long green eggplant)
Methi leaves: 1 bunch
Onion: 1 medium
Tomato:1 medium
Chilli powder:1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder:1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder:1/4 tsp
Salt:as per taste


Cube the potato and eggplant.Apply salt to them and deep fry in hot oil after squeezing them.For potato cubes,you soak them in salted water inorder to season them and also prevent them from turning brown.For eggplant you simply apply salt and keep aside.You squeeze the salted eggplant to remove the bitterness if any.Make sure you squeeze the potatoes and eggplants as well before deep frying.

Now you can avoid deep frying by roasting them in the oven.This is my enhancement to the masala.You squeeze the salted potatoes and eggplant cubes and roast them in a 475F oven for 20 minutes (potatoes) and 10-15 minutes for eggplants in a greased dish.

Chop onions into long thin pieces.Cube tomatoes as well.You can also use tomato puree or tamarind paste/concentrate instead of tomatoes.Chop the methi leaves.Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan.Add chopped onions,saute till brown.Then add tomatoes cubed/pureed/tamarind concentrate,fried /roasted cubes and salt and powders.Saute till oil separates,add methi leaves and saute for a second then add water and cook till done.

Serve with rotis or rice.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Gita's Kitchen DATE:10/20/2008 08:50:00 PM Hi Julia,
Thanks for the comment. You have a wonderful blog. Nice to read all your posts :) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:10/21/2008 08:41:00 AM Such a fun event, and how nice that you looked for a recipe that would bring you into unfamiliar territory! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Curry Leaf DATE:10/21/2008 01:03:00 PM Nice Surprise you gave me today when I came to your blog.Hope you enjoyed the dish.It can be a bit spicy.THANKS & THANKS for trying this -clearly unfamiliar territory ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:10/21/2008 08:34:00 PM Gita, Thanks for visiting! I'm looking forward to trying some of your recipes.

Lydia, it is fun! Especially since I could try and learn something new

Curry Leaf, I thought the recipe was great, and not too spicy at all! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Curry Leaf DATE:10/22/2008 03:43:00 PM Julia,I posted my savoury scallion scones today-you can find it here- twisted it avoiding bacon and eggs as I am a vegetarian.Hope its okay.They turned out great.Thanks ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Curry Leaf DATE:10/22/2008 04:35:00 PM Thanks for the comment Julia.As for your doubts,Cheese is a dairy product,where as eggs are actually having a life inside them.So it is bad ethically to consume them.I used to take eggs when I were younger,though basically and traditionally I have been brought up vegetarian.Now its a personal choice.Well,vegan and vegetarian are bit different.Thanks for the question as well. :) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger anudivya DATE:10/22/2008 05:57:00 PM Nice event, never heard of it. This looks like a lovely entry to it. ----- --------