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Vanie Padayachee’s mirch baingan ka salan

Restaurant chef Vanie Padayachee shares her delicious mirch baingan ka salan recipe, a typical dish of the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. It’s the perfect vegetarian main, or a wonderful side to breyani.

SERVES 6 // COOKING TIME 1 hour 30 min

For the vegetables
Vegetable oil, to deep-fry
10 baby brinjals
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
For the Kashmiri masala
30 green cardamom pods (seeds only)
15 cloves
5 black cardamom pods (seeds only)
4 cinnamon sticks
½ nutmeg
5 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
For the sauce
300 g cashews
150 g coconut flour
100 g sesame seeds
200 ml vegetable oil
2 tbsp black mustard seeds
4 sprigs curry leaves
2 tbsp fenugreek seeds
5 green chillies, halved
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
½ tsp Kashmiri masala
700 ml plain yoghurt
250 g tamarind paste, mixed with a little water

For the vegetables
1. Preheat oil in a wok or pan.
2. Butterfly the vegetables (cut them open so they are spread out flat) and deep-fry until just cooked. Drain in a colander and set aside.
For the Kashmiri masala
1. Toast all the ingredients and then grind into a powder.
For the sauce
1. Dry-fry cashews, coconut flour and sesame seeds separately. Then combine them, add a little water and purée.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan. Fry the mustard seeds until they start popping.
3. Add the curry leaves and the fenugreek seeds and cook until the seeds start popping.
4. Add the chillies, turmeric, salt and Kashmiri masala, and fry for 5 minutes.
5. Add the cashew paste and cook gently for 5 minutes.
6. Add the yoghurt and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
7. Add the tamarind paste and cook the sauce until it splits.
8. Bring the sauce to the boil. Add the fried vegetables and simmer for a few minutes, until they have absorbed the sauce.
9. Serve your mirch baingan as is or with a side of breyani.

Recipe: Vanie Padayachee
Styling: Amerae Vercueil
Photography: Andreas Eiselen //

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