Kashmiri cuisine is full of non-vegetarian delicacies but this eggplant curry is a masterpiece in the vegetarian world.
Think Kashmir, think beautiful landscapes. The views are what we live for. A trip to Kashmir is mostly about Dal Lake, the shikharas and scenic valley views. Only when you get some time off these mesmerizing sights can you direct your attention towards the kahwa that might have gotten cold by now. Kashmiri cuisine is a robust affair with a highly-meat intensive preparation. From vegetables to lentils, you would find that most dishes are either cooked in meat broth or simply, chunks of meat are added to the bowl.
You can be smothered by the luscious red curries and the creamy white ones dunked with succulent chicken and lamb but their haak is something you cannot dismiss at all. Spinach-like leaves are meshed and cooked to make a heavenly treat. Similarly, there is another vegetarian delicacy from the Kashmiri cuisine that is hopeful of making you fall in love with it. Firstly, tell us if you like eggplants/brinjals/aubergines or not? If you do, then this recipe already has your heart and in case you don’t, we bet it will after the first bite.
The Chokh Vagun is rustic eggplant curry that hails from the Kashmiri cuisine. The term Chokh Vagun translates into Khatte Baigan. Well, the name is rightly given since the first bite of the dish till the last, tanginess is hundred percent guaranteed. Now, let’s not confuse this dish with our regular baigan ka bharta or baigan aloo because it is nowhere close to that. The tangy brinjals are cooked in a tamarind sauce which lends it the khatta flavour.
What enhances the flavour of the dish is the use of mustard oil which has a certain strong aroma and essence along with fennel seeds. The good part is that baby eggplants are used for the purpose of this dish and they cook very quickly. The tartness of tamarind brings a delicious change of flavour to the otherwise sweet baigan.
To make chokh vagun at home, sprinkle some mustard seeds in mustard oil. The crackling sound indicates that it is time to add some elaichi to the mix. Next, you need to add all your spices, right from Kashmiri red chillies to salt, coriander powder and hing. Turmeric is added for the tinge of yellow colour. This is followed by preparation of the gravy, wherein tomatoes are tossed in and mashed till it becomes a thick paste. This is the time to add baby eggplants. Mix it all well and coat the eggplants in the gravy so that they are completely covered.
Once the eggplants turn soft and mushy, turn off the flame because they are ready to be devoured. It is a semi-gravy dish so you may not want to have it with rice directly. Chokh Vagun works perfectly well with a bowl of dal, some chapattis and salad.
If you are planning to try Chokh Vagun for lunch today, then here is a step-by-step method of this Kashmiri delicacy.