I think of my paternal grandmother/dadi, Mommy often. And while I will write a longer post about her life and influence, I do want to share the recipe for this handy four-ingredient side that I would often enjoy at her home for dinner.
Dahi baingan would would fall under the category of borani, an Iranian yogurt-based appetizer that is found in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey as well as the Caucasus.
It was probably one of the first Pakistani dishes that I learned to cook in the States largely because of how easy it was. While it is ordinarily had as an appetizer or side (a wonderful accompaniment to pulao/pilaf), I often eat is as a main with naan/roti.
While there are many, many variations to dahi baingan (personally very excited to test out this Saveur recipe), this is the version that I grew up with. If it was prepared differently at your home, I would love to learn more and test it out. In the meantime...
Serves 4 (if having as a side)
Total Cooking Time: 15 minutes
1 baby eggplant
2 cups of plain, whole milk yogurt
Pinch of Kashmiri red chili pepper available at all Indian/Pakistani grocery stores (cayenne red pepper will also do)
Salt to taste
Roughly up to 1/4 cup canola/vegetable oil
Note: Eggplants suck up a lot of oil in this recipe. I keep the 1/4 cup of oil on the side, and add it to the pan as needed.
Thinly slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch circles.
Heat a saucepan. Add oil. Once hot, add slices of the eggplant in batches. Make sure you don't overcrowd the pan.
Fry each side till it's golden brown. The exact time will depend on your pan, and how hot the oil is. I was using a non-stick pan, and it each side was taking about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes. Check frequently to make sure it doesn't get black.
Keep placing the fried eggplant on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Meanwhile, get the yogurt ready. Whip the yogurt till it has an even consistency. Add salt to taste.
Note: In the photographs, the yogurt looks pink because I folded in Kashmiri red chili along with the salt for extra heat. Typically, Mommy would just dust the chili on top. Looks prettier that way.
Once the yogurt is ready, gently fold the fried eggplant into the yogurt. I like to place the ugly pieces first, and then top it off with the nicer looking ones.
Dust off with red chili powder.