Ganesh bainganya namaaha…


Shrine to an eggplant! Makeshift temple in Leicester – of all places!! An eggplant which clearly resembles Lord Ganesha! 

No, am NOT making this up nor am i kidding – this is an article in The Mail Online dated Oct 17th – today!! Apparently a caterer’s assistant found a weirdly shaped baingan in a box sent by a supplier and the caterer’s wife “recognised” it as an image of Lord Ganesha and now they’re praying to it till it rots when it will be given a fitting Hindu burial! Hindu burial??? (No disrespect intended – it’s just a funny thing!)

Well, stranger things have happened – like kids learning to love baingan!! When my children were small, it was one of the goals of my life – to make things easier for myself – i guess, to get them to NOT dislike any vegetable. Having had a to train a picky eater of a husband into eating things like capsicum and ginger and jaggery AND to NOT expect appadams with every meal, i came to this with some experience! Am still trying to train hubby to eat garlic – with very limited success 😉 

So – to come back to the kids – each was allowed to choose the dishes for the next day – provided – they ate what the other one had chosen for the family! If they didn’t, choosing privileges were revoked for the next day! Tiger mother?? Yep – BUT – they are not fussy eaters and therefore easy guests! I remember a family of relations who’d visited us once – lovely people – but – one didn’t eat eggplant, one didn’t like potatoes and the third hated sambar! The day’s menu happened to have all three!! My poor mom had to rush off to make something else which suited ALL three while i grumbled about how certain people were not allowed to be picky around the house! 

But that day I decided that i would NOT allow my kids to become fusspots! 

Back to our baingan – i love them as much as the next person (barring fussy family of relations!) but i think i’d draw the line at Om bainganyeya namaha…om kathrikaayaana namaha….om vankaayaaya namaaha…om badnekaaya namaaha ….om tat sat!!! On second thoughts, why not??? I worship ’em!!

I do think though, that the caterer who set up a shrine could have done the baingan better justice by making the best ever bharta out of it! After all, a divinely blessed eggplant has to taste divine!

Baingan bharta

One medium eggplant. smear oil and roast directly on the flame, turning over every 3-4 minutes so that it cooks on all sides and through to the centre

1 large onion – chopped

3 medium tomatoes – chopped

2 green chilies – chopped

Garlic – 2 pods – chopped

Ginger – 1/2 ” piece – finely chopped

Curry leaves – 2 sprigs

Sugar – 1/2 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Jeera (cumin) powder – 1 tsp

Dhania (coriander pwd) – 1 tsp

Chili pwd – 1/2 tsp

Turmeric – a large pinch

Asafoetida –  a large pinch


Oil – 2 tsp

Green peas – optional – 1/2 cup – boiled

Let the eggplant cool – by the time you’ve collected the rest of the ingredients, it should have! Peel and discard peel. Mash the flesh into a pulp using a knife or fork. 

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the curry leaves and the green chilies along with the sugar. Add the onions and garlic and fry till golden brown. Add the chili powder, dhaniya powder, cumin powder and turmeric and stir. Add the tomatoes and ginger. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the mashed eggplant pulp and salt and 1/2 cup or more water till you get a thick dropping consistency curry. Add the peas and bring to the boil. Switch off. Serve with rice or rotis or pooris as you chat your prayers!