Archive | November, 2012

Dark Chocolate and Orange Mousse

28 Nov

Photo Credit: Sneha http://www.prettyinpic.com

My Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting post last month was my first blogosphere declaration of my fascination with the harmonious marriage of chocolate and orange in any dessert. This assertion will certainly recur every few months on this blog. Anytime I plan to make a chocolate dessert (specifically a dark chocolate one), I start thinking of the best way to add some orange flavor to it.

That was exactly the first thought I had when I saw a very highly rated Chocolate Mousse Recipe on Epicurious.com. The recipe provided a perfect base for me to experiment and derive a recipe that has a subtle hint of orange in each bite. Bitter-sweet chocolate is the dominant flavor but when you savor this decadent treat, your tastes buds will also be tantalized with a delicate kiss of orange. Let yourself succumb to this temptation, you can always make your confessions on the treadmill the next day!

Dark Chocolate & Orange Mousse Recipe
Recipe Adapted from Epicurious’ Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Serving:  8 servings
Time:  Active 45 min; Inactive 6 hours (refrigeration)

Ingredients:
2 cups chilled heavy cream
Zest of 1 large orange
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
7 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped (see note)
Garnish: Whipped cream and chocolate shavings (optional)

Note:

  • You want to choose a baking chocolate with 50-60% cocoa solids. Anything higher that this may result in a slightly denser mousse. I used Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa baking bar.

Method:
1) Heat 3/4 cup cream along with the orange zest in a 1-2 quart heavy saucepan until hot. Once heated turn-off heat and set aside.
2) In a large glass or metal mixing bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt until combined well. Then add the cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking until combined.
3) Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly. If you have a heat safe instant read thermometer use it to ensure that the mixture registers 160 degrees F. Pour this custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and set aside.
4) Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring frequently. Remove from the stove-top once fully melted.
5) Slowly whisk the custard into the melted chocolate for a smooth mixture; set aside to cool. You want this to be at room temperature or cooled.
6) Beat the remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer or hand mixer until it just holds stiff peaks.
7) Whisk 1/4 of the (stiff peak) cream into chocolate custard to lighten. Slowly fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly (until fully combined). Folding it in carefully ensures that the mousse stays light and does not become too dense.
8) Spoon the mousse into 8 (6oz) stemmed glasses or ramekins and refrigerate, covered, for at least 6 hours. This mousse can be refrigerated up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving.
9) Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings just before serving.

Mulled Wine

26 Nov

I grew up in Mumbai’s moderate (often hot) temperatures and extremely humid climate. Despite having lived for 12 years on the East Coast of America, I fancy going into hibernation each winter. I am a prime example of that over-bundled person you spot on 65-70 degree F day. Considering our winters are a lot colder, I am usually missing in action or devising ludicrous plans to stay warm. On my extensive list of tricks to stay warm, the realistic plan of “consuming copious amounts of hot beverages” ranks right below the unfeasible plan of “staying indoors”. During the day I imbibe abundant cups of hot tea and coffee and in the nights I indulge in my love for red wine.

Last winter, I was at a holiday party where the hostess served Mulled Wine and it took just a sip to conclude that it would become my favorite (alcoholic) winter drink. Mulled wine (also known as Glögg or Gløgg) is a traditional winter drink in Europe. It is usually made with red wine along with various winter spices and served hot or warm. “Mulled” in this context implies heated and spiced. Similar to Sangria in the summer, mulled wine with its combination of spices and honey augments the fruit of the vine.

I found Ina Garten’s recipe online and after a few attempts of adding and subtracting ingredients, this derived recipe is my favorite version. This is also a great way to give new life to a day-old opened bottle of wine. This drink guarantees to warm you and your friends up, while adding to the holiday cheer.

Mulled Wine Recipe
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Mulled Wine
Servings:  14
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 (750-ml) bottles red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
5 cups apple cider (See note)
3 cinnamon sticks
1 large orange, zested and juiced
6-7 whole cloves
3 star anise
5-6 whole allspice berries
2-3 tablespoons of honey
Garnish: Orange peels or cinnamon sticks (optional)

Note:

  • Fresh apple cider can be found in the refrigerated juice section of all major grocery stores during apple season (Fall/Winter). If you are making this at another time of a year, use shelf-stable apple juice or shelf-stable apple cider.

Method:
1) In a large pot combine the wine, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, orange zest, orange juice, cloves, star anise, allspice berries and honey (per taste). Bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
2) Once it reaches a boil reduce the heat to low and heat for 10 minutes. Taste and add more honey if you want to make it sweeter.
3) Strain and pour into mugs or other hot beverage safe glasses. Add an orange peel or cinnamon stick to each mug to garnish. Serve warm.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Hash with Fried Eggs

23 Nov

If you cooked a holiday meal yesterday, it is safe to assume you have leftovers that may include turkey (or chicken or ham), herbs, gravy and chicken stock. We had some herb-roasted turkey breast, fresh herbs and gravy leftover. Here is the recipe of what I did with our leftovers today. I love a good breakfast hash that’s topped with fried eggs. There is something divine about runny yolks on slightly charred and crispy potatoes and onions. Granted this is not a diet recipe, but it’s still Thanksgiving weekend – so go ahead and indulge a little more.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Hash with Fried Eggs Recipe
Serves: 2
Time: 25-30 minutes (start to finish)

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed into small pieces (See note)
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup leftover cooked turkey, ham or chicken, cubed (See note)
2 tablespoons of leftover, gravy or chicken broth (See note)
1 tablespoon grated parmesan or asiago cheese
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of parsley for garnish

Notes:

  • Cut the potatoes into really small cubes. This will reduce the cooking time significantly.
  • Use whatever leftover cooked meat you have – turkey (white or dark meat), chicken (white or dark meat) or cooked ham.
  • If you have gravy or chicken stock leftover, it’s great to use it to warm up the leftover meat without drying out the juices. If you do not have any left, just use some water.
  • The bottoms of the potatoes (touching the skillet) will get dark brown, while you are cooking the eggs. Do not worry – the slightly charred taste is amazing!

Method:
1) In a 10 inch non-stick skillet, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and jalapeno to the oil and cook till the onion is soft.
2) Now add the potatoes and stir them to coat them well with the oil. Add the chopped rosemary and thyme, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally till the potatoes are fork tender. If the potatoes start to stick to the bottom, add a little more oil and stir them more frequently.
3) While the potatoes are cooking in a small saucepan heat the broth, gravy or water and add the turkey to it. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the turkey/chicken/ham is warm and slightly moist.
4) Once the potatoes are cooked, add the turkey/chicken/ham to the potatoes and toss everything together. Add the cheese and stir for 30 seconds.
5) Now make a nice even bed of everything in the skillet and break the eggs (one by one) on the hash. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Now uncover and complete cooking the eggs till the whites are fully formed and the yolks are still slightly runny (or to the doneness that you prefer). Season the eggs with salt and pepper once they are cooked.
6) Garnish with parsley and serve with a salad or leftover dinner rolls for a complete meal.

Mac & Cheese with an Indian Flair

19 Nov

Photo credit: Sneha (www.prettyinpic.com)

While the turkey is the superstar of a Thanksgiving dinner, guests also gather around the holiday table eager to load up on its supporting cast members – the side dishes. So if you are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, remember while these side dishes may seem slightly less import than the Turkey they are still an integral part of a Thanksgiving meal. These are also the dishes that can showcase your creativity and ingenuity as a cook. Take comfort classics and classic Thanksgiving side dishes and brighten them up with some exotic flavors or unexpected textures to add a little extra panache to your holiday table.

Macaroni and Cheese is a comfort classic side dish of cheesy goodness that satiates the appetites of all age groups. While the base is always macaroni (or another pasta), cheese, milk and flour, people all over the world add different ingredients to their Mac and Cheese to personalize it.  A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Reem Rizvi’s (of Simply Reem) “Mac & Cheese – An Indian Touch” guest blog post on Life of Spice. Just reading the recipe I could imagine the flavors and aroma’s that the Indian spices added to this Mac and Cheese. My recipe is an adaptation of Reem’s with a few minor changes (specifically reducing the fat content a bit without reducing the flavor at all).

Photo credit: Sneha

Photo credit: Sneha

The warm and aromatic spices and the cilantro-scallion cheese crust in this Mac and Cheese add a layer of flamboyance to a familiar classic. So why not surprise your friends and family this Thanksgiving by treating their taste buds to a quick trip to the Indian sub-continent?

Mac & Cheese with an Indian flair
Recipe adapted from Reem Rizvi’sIndian style Mac and Cheese” on a Life of Spice
Serves: 6-8 people
Time: Active: 15 -20 minutes; Inactive: 30-35minutes

Ingredients:
3 slices of bread
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped.
2 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped
1 ½  tablespoons of butter, divided
3 cups cheddar cheese (grated)
2 cups dried macaroni
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup, finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 jalapeno seeded and diced (optional).
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne powder (or to taste).
½ teaspoon Garam Masala powder
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric powder
2 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
3 cups 1 % or 2% milk, warmed up
Salt & pepper per taste

Note:
This is a great do-ahead recipe.  Prepare and set aside everything till step 7 (including step 7) a day before. Just before you are ready to serve, top the macaroni and cheese mixture with the bread crumb mixture and bake everything together.

Method:
1) Pre-heat the oven to 350F and grease a 9” by 13” baking dish or 8, 5oz ramekins with little butter or cooking spray.
2) In a food processor, add the bread, cilantro and scallions with 3/4 tablespoon of the butter. Give it a quick pulse, till it starts to look like crumbs. Do not over pulse it as a little texture taste great. Add 1 cup of cheese and mix everything well. Set it aside.
3) Cook the macaroni according to the direction on the packet and set it aside.
4) In a large non-stick saucepan, heat the olive oil with the remaining 3/4 tablespoon of butter on medium heat. Once the oil is heated add the chopped onions, stir and cook until the onions soften and are just beginning to change color. Now add the ginger and garlic paste along with the jalapeno and cook for another minute. Keep stirring.
5) Add the garam masala, cumin, turmeric and chili powder, stir for about a minute.
6) Add the flour, salt and pepper and stir for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the warm milk and continue to stir as the milk mixture starts to thicken about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 2 cups of the cheddar cheese. Stir well till the cheese melts into the sauce. Set the cheese sauce aside.
7) Stir the drained macaroni into the cheese sauce and give it a nice mix.  Taste the salt and pepper at this stage and adjust it accordingly.
8) Pour everything in the greased baking dish or ramekins, top with the bread and cheese mixture that was prepared earlier.  Bake in 350F oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly on the top. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving it.

Thanksgiving Roast Turkey: Tips & Tricks

14 Nov

I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner in 2009, shortly after I got married. I have to admit the first year the thought of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner, specifically the turkey terrified me. I had never cooked a whole turkey before and had also had the misfortune of eating several dry and flavorless turkeys.  I was anxious to say the least. I spent the months leading up to Thanksgiving reading several articles and watching videos on Turkey preparation tips on the internet. I also took Sur La Table’s Bon Appétit Culinary Series – All American Thanksgiving class, to get some hands on experience before cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner.

I was rewarded for my hard work – the first Turkey I cooked, was moist, juicy and bursting with flavor. The day after that Thanksgiving, I sat down and put together a list of notes, tips and tricks that detailed how I accomplished a finger-licking good Turkey. I have used that document every year and so far I have never had a Turkey that hasn’t won the hearts of the crowd at our Thanksgiving table.

Here is an amalgamation of my Turkey tips and tricks:

1) How much turkey per person: 1lb per person if you have a lot of sides and want minimal leftovers. You can increase this to 1 ½ lbs per person if you want more leftovers.

2) To Brine or Not to Brine: The answer is BRINE! Brining infuses flavor and moisture into the turkey, creating a juicy and  flavorful turkey.

3) Amount of time to Brine your Turkey: The rule of thumb I use for brining a turkey is 2 hours for every pound of Turkey.  So for a 14-15 pound Turkey we are looking at 28-30 hours of brining time.

4) Favorite turkey brine: There are several good brine recipes on the internet. Here is the recipe of the brine I used the first year and every year since then.

Neha’s Turkey Brine
Serving Size: 14-15lb turkey

Ingredients:
Water (Enough to cover the entire Turkey)
2 cups apple cider
¾  cup Kosher salt per gallon of water (Please pay careful attention to step 5 of the method)
¼ cup granulated sugar, per gallon of water
5 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1-2 habanero peppers, roughly chopped (You can also use 3-4 Jalapenos)
1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon red chili powder or cayenne
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon all spice berries

Method
1) Place the cleaned Turkey (giblets, neck and heart removed) in a large brining bag or pot large enough to hold the Turkey plus enough water to submerge the Turkey.
2) Use a clean and empty milk gallon or ½ gallon container to start covering the turkey with water. Keep track of how many gallons of water you use as this will determine the amount of salt and sugar you will add to the brine. Add the apple cider to the turkey as well. Make sure you have enough liquid (water + 2 cups of cider), covering the Turkey.
3) Now remove 5-6 cups of the liquid from the Turkey bag/pot and place it in a medium sized pot on the stove top. Bring it to a boil on medium high heat.
4) Keeping in mind how many gallons of water were required to cover the turkey, add ¾ cup of kosher salt + ¼ cup of sugar per gallon to the water on the stovetop.  For example if you used 5 gallons of water to cover the Turkey you will require the brine you are creating on the stovetop to have 5*3/4 cups of salt + 5*1/2 cups of sugar, i.e. 3 3/4cups of salt and 1 1/4 cup of sugar.
6) When the water is at a rolling boil add all the remaining ingredients into the pot (on the stovetop). Turn off the heat and mix everything well till all the sugar and salt has dissolved.
7) Now place this brine you have created in the refrigerator for an hour to cool completely.
8) Once it is completely cooled add the brined liquid over the turkey that has the remaining water and apple cider in it. Make sure the Turkey is well submerged and cover and place in the refrigerator.
9) After the turkey is brined (2hours per pound of turkey) remove the Turkey from the liquid and drain it well and use plenty of kitchen towels to pat it dry

5) Stuffing inside or outside the turkey:  OUTSIDE! You do not want the stuffing you are going to serve your guests to have touched the raw turkey cavity. Unless you are overcooking your turkey the inside skeletal cavity does not reach the temperature that is safe to eat stuffing that’s been exposed to it. Also a bread stuffing inside the turkey can suck moisture out of the turkey, leaving the it dry.

6) Aromatic stuffing:  Before roasting, stuff the Turkey cavity with large sprigs of thyme, rosemary, sage, garlic cloves and onion halves. Remember this is only for aromatics of the turkey and is not to be eaten.

7) To Truss of not to truss: Trussing a turkey refers to using kitchen twine to tie the turkey together before roasting it.  Trussing helps the bird cook more evenly and also ensures that you have a bird that looks better on the table. Keeping the legs and wings closer to the body, also ensures they have lesser chance to burn. I always use Alton Brown’s method to truss my Turkey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auQB7D_xB0I

8) Infusing additional flavor: A flavored butter that goes under the skin is the final step I use to infuse even more flavors into my Turkey. I make sure the flavored butter has been on the Turkey for at least 36 hours before I roast it.  I use this Bacon-Herb Butter recipe every year:

Bacon, Dijon, and Herb Butter:
Recipe Adapted from Bon Appétit Roast Heritage Turkey with Bacon-Herb and Cider Gravy’s Recipe
Serving Size: 14-to-15 pound turkey

Ingredients:
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) of unsalted butter at room temperature
6 ounces applewood-smoked bacon slices, coarsely chopped
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup fresh thyme, chopped
¼ cup sage chopped,
2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
¾ tablespoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
¾ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ tablespoon lemon zest

Method:
1) Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor, until the bacon is finely chopped.
2) Remove this butter to a sheet of plastic wrap. Using the wrap as an aid, roll the butter mixture into a 2 inch thick diameter log. This butter can be made 3 days ahead and kept chilled in the refrigerator.
3) 36 hours before you are going to roast your turkey, cut thin circles of butter from the log. Carefully slide butter slices under the skin, between the leg, thigh and breast to cover everything generously.

Use these tips and tricks along with the ones you’ve learnt over the years to create a roast turkey that is simply succulent and full of flavor. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have on these tips and tricks. Happy turkey cooking!

Eggless Saffron Cookies (Nan Khatai)

8 Nov

In the introduction to my last recipe post (Eggplant Raita) you learnt about my love for Diwali and my zeal for recreating the Diwali spirit in the US by cooking up a storm. This recipe is a new addition to my repertoire of Diwali worthy dishes this year.

As a child, my favorite food memory of Diwali was the assortment of Indian sweets and cookies that could be found in every household. I fondly remember, the Nan Khatais(Eggless Saffron Cookies) that my mother bought form a local bakery to serve our guest during Diwali time. Since they were always store-bought I assumed that it would be too complicated to make them at home. Then I found this easy Nan Khatai recipe on the Moonsoon Spice website, and with a few minor modifications I was able to recreate a childhood favorite in less than thirty minutes.

I urge you to make and serve these sweet, crispy and flaky cookies to your guests with a warm cup or tea or coffee and you will automatically earn the title of “host/hostess with the mostess”.

Eggless Saffron Cookies (Nan Khatai)

Recipe: Adapted from Mosoon Spice’ Saffron Nan Khatai Recipe
Yield: 18-20
Time: Active: 12 minutes Inactive: 14-16 minutes

Ingredients:
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted (See note)
1 tablespoon ghee/Indian clarified butter, melted
½ cup + 2 tablespoons of fine granulated or caster sugar
¼-½ teaspoon of saffron mixed in 1 tablespoon of warm milk
1 ½ cups All-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
6 green cardamoms, crushed, peeled and powdered
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, powdered
Small pinch of salt (See note)
Few cashews or de-shelled pistachios for topping (Optional)

Note:

  • These cookies are traditionally made in ghee. If you want to make them the traditional way, substitute the 1 stick of butter with ½ cup of ghee.
  • Ghee can be found at any Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi store or ordered online.
  • If you are making these cookies with butter and only have access to salted butter, then do not add the pinch of salt. You may also need to increase the sugar content by 1-2 tablespoons per your taste if you are using salted butter.
  • These cookies can be stored in an air-tight container, in a cool, dry place for upto a week.

Method:
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degree F (180 degree C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set aside. If using foil, then lightly spray the baking sheet with cooking/baking spray.
2) In a large mixing bowl, add the butter, ghee, sugar and milk with the dissolved saffron and mix well, till the sugar and ghee are incorporated well.
3) Now add the flour, baking soda, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and the pinch of salt to the above mixture. Mix everything well until it forms one large dough ball. If the dough is too dry or crumbly add a teaspoon of milk at a time to help the dough bind together.
4) Make small rounds from the dough – just a little smaller than a golf ball. Line each of these on the baking tray, leaving enough space between each of them. Press a cashew or pistachio onto of each ball.
5) Place the baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 13-16 minutes until the cookies are a light golden color. The cookies that come out are soft, but they harden once they cool. Don’t overbake these cookies as they will then become too hard after they cool.
6) Serve these cookies with a cup of tea of coffee or a cold glass of milk.

Eggplant Raita

5 Nov

Diwali, the festival of lights, is my favorite Indian festival. The week leading up to Diwali and the week of, the spirit of this festival reverberates throughout India. People dress in vibrant, ornate outfits; visit their friends and family, exchange gifts and sweets and feast on several traditional delicacies. The sounds, sights and smells of fireworks are omnipresent in every city, town and village. Families adorn their homes with earthen lamps, floral garlands and colorful rangoli (decorative designs made on the floors with colored powders). It is truly the brightest, most jovial and exhilarating time of the year in India.

Sadly, this is also the time of the year I truly yearn to be in India. Despite all efforts, I am unable to recreate in the US the Diwali spirit I experienced growing up in India. The closest I get to it is through the annual Diwali dinner that we host. Our friends dress-up in festive Indian outfits, and join us for a fun night that includes plenty of eating and drinking. I work diligently each Diwali to cook and share my favorite celebratory Indian recipes with my friends and family.

The very first year, I was hosting one of these Diwali dinners, I fell sick right before the event and my mother-in-law helped me out by preparing a few dishes. She made this eggplant raita that was the star of the night and a few years later my friends still remember it fondly. A raita is an Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi side dish that is made with yogurt and is a common accompaniment to a rice dish. The fruit, vegetable, crunch or flavor that can be added to a raita is only limited by your imagination.

This raita highlights lightly fried eggplant slices in a flavorful and slightly spicy yogurt mixture that’s tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves. This is a radiant side dish or a wonderful mini-meal anytime of the day.

Eggplant Raita Recipe:
Minal Moraji (My mother-in-law’s) recipe
Yields: 6-8 servings (Based on eggplant size)
Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
1-1½ cups of vegetable or canola oil
1 American or Italian eggplant, cut into ½ inch rounds (Leave the skin on)
3 cups plain non-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon table salt (Use less or more per your taste)
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
A pinch of asafoetida (See note)
8-10 curry leaves
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro for garnish

Notes:

  • Asafoetida (known as Hing in India), has a very pungent aroma, so be careful not to add more than a pinch as it will over-power the rest of the flavors.
  • The eggplant can be fried and set aside in an airtight container a day before this dish is to be served. The yogurt can also be prepared a day before and stored in the refrigerator. Only add the yogurt mixture to the eggplant 5-10 minutes before you are going to serve it.
  • This raita is great by itself or as a complement to a spicy biryani or pulao.

Method
1) In a 10 or 12 inch skillet heat 1 cup of oil on medium to high heat.
2) When the oil is ready add the eggplant in batches and pan fry them on each side till they are a light brown in color and fully cooked through. Do not overcrowd the pan and ensure that the eggplant slices do not overlap. Overcrowding the pan brings down the oil temperature and increases cooking time. If you have a large eggplant and run out of oil, heat the remaining half cup of oil and then resume frying the remaining slices of eggplant.
3) Place the cooked eggplant slices on a plate lined with a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.
4) Beat the yogurt with the water and salt, until it is smooth and lump free.
5) In a small skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the asafoetida. Turn off the stove and remove the skillet from it. Add the curry leaves right away and then after another minute add the red chili powder. Add this tempering to the yogurt and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt if you need to.
6) When ready to serve, layout the eggplant slices on a serving platter and cover them with the yogurt. Garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.

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