An archival research for a paper that I am currently working on at my university library yielded me, to my pleasant surprise, with five volumes of the Punya (1897-1906), a periodical, women’s magazine, that began as an in-house publication of the Tagore family of Jorasanko. Besides publishing works on fiction, poetry, essays, advertisements etc., it also contained numerous articles on domestic science and presented hundreds of cooking recipes, most of them authored by Prajnasundari Debi, the magazine’s first editor.
Naturally, I had to forfeit my research and divert all attention to this treasure. The list of recipes is unique in that they are not only traditional Bengali recipes, but transnational and, as the magazine calls it, “hindusthani” recipes. The recipes were quite difficult to decode, because they use an archaic metric system in tolas and shikis that I could decipher only after hours of international calls to the elderly women in my family.
I have tried several recipes from this magazine (there’s at least a hundred!), and I will keep posting about them, but this egg and eggplant recipe is my absolute favorite! It takes minutes to put together, and is quite fancy a dish if you ask me.
Tagore family’s egg and eggplant recipe
Level: Easy Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 45 mins Total time: 1 hr Serves: 4-5
5 extra large eggs
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp ghee/oil
2 tbsp oil
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp red chili powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
4 cups chicken, veegtable or beef broth
1 tbsp all purpose flour
½ cup green peas
1 cup eggplant, diced
Salt to taste
First boil the eggs in a large pot of water for 15 minutes and let cool.
Heat the ghee and oil in a deep pan and add the chopped onions. Let cook on medium to low heat until golden brown.
Strain the onions and set aside.
Add ginger paste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chili powder to the same oil and stir for about 30 seconds.
Now add the yogurt and let simmer on low hear for a few minutes.
In a bowl add one cup of chicken/beef/vegetable broth and stir the flour in. When thoroughly mixed add the rest of the broth to the bowl, and then add the entire liquid to the pan.
Bring it to a boil and add the rest of the vegetables with the fried onions and boiled and peeled eggs.
Cook on medium heat while continuously stirring util the water reduces to half. Serve with rice or roti.