Whilst I was away in Durban at my parents home my sister and I did a lot of cooking together. It was a great time to bond and share special moments. I miss her already. She is also a great cook and I enjoyed someone else cooking for me. That’s rare when I’m up in Johannesburg. Nobody ever cooks for me. Most of my friends hate cooking and I have tried to convince my hubby to learn to cook. He won’t even hear of it. My sister cooked a Gram Dal and Brinjal curry which was absolutely delicious. I had to share the recipe. It’s something I have eaten many times but never attempted to cook it myself.
This recipe is definitely a keeper and I am sure it will be a regular in our home from now on. Its not a difficult dish to cook and with a few fragrant spices you can have a mouthwatering dish on your table.
It is best to soak the Gram Dal the night before, it just cooks better if soaked. Be careful when boiling your dal, do not overcook it. You want the dal soft but still has to maintain it’s shape. Or your curry will be a mushy mess. I usually press the dal between my fingers and if it squishes easily then you know it’s ready.
I am not a fan of the large brinjals but it worked well with this curry. Some know it as eggplant or aubergines. My sister cut them into little cubes and once cooked it just melts in your mouth. I usually cut up my brinjals and soak them in some salt water to get rid of the bitterness. I learnt this from my mum and trust me it works. Like with any veg curry it shouldn’t be overly spiced.
You can serve this curry with roti, puri or Basmati rice. Tastes delicious either way. It’s amazing how the simplest food can taste so good and so comforting too. This curry is one of those comforting dishes that you will want to eat again and again.
Gram Dal with Brinjal
- 1 cup/250ml gram/chana dal soaked overnight or for a few hours
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 sprig curry leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tspn mustard seeds
- 1/4 tspn cumin seeds
- 2 dry chillies
- 2 green chillies
- 1/2 tspn ginger/garlic paste
- 1/2 tspn turmeric
- 2 tspn masala
- 1/2 tspn garam masala
- 1 tomato blanched and pureed
- 1/2 of one large brinjal cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp light olive oil or vegetable oil
- Rinse the gram dal well. Place in a pot and cover it with water. Boil on medium heat until the gram dal is soft and tender but still retaining it's shape. Cut brinjal into cubes and soak in some salted water and set aside.
- Heat oil on low heat and add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once the seeds burst add the, chillies, onion and curry leaf
- Once onion turns slightly brown add the ginger/garlic paste and fry for a minute. Add the turmeric and masala and cook for a few seconds
- Add the brinjal and allow it to cook until its a little tender.
- Add the pureed or grated tomato and simmer on a low heat until brinjal is cooked
- Add the gram dal, season with salt, cover and simmer on a low heat. Once it starts drying up add 1/2 cup of water (or less) and allow it to cook until the gravy thickens. Mix in the garam masala and turn off the heat.
- Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve with Indian bread or Basmati Rice