Green Eggplant & Habanero Peppers Stir Fry from Sikkim

Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state located in the Himalayan Mountains. The state is bordered by Nepal to the west, China’s Tibet to the north and east, and Bhutan to the east. The Indian state of West Bengal lies to the south. Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa in total area. Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas; the climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine, and Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim’s border with Nepal. Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity. It also has the only open land border between India and China. Sikkim’s capital and largest city is Gangtok. Sikkim is the only state in India with an ethnic Nepali majority. Sikkim has 11official languages: Nepali (which is its lingua franca), Sikkimese, Lepcha,Tamang, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung,Magar, Sunwar and English. English is taught in schools and used in government documents. The predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Sikkim’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, and as of 2012 the state has the third-smallest GDP among Indian states, although it is also among the fastest-growing.

Sikkimese cuisine is one of the popular cuisines coming from North-East India. Sikkimese are traditionally rice eaters. Since Sikkim has Nepali majority, Nepalese cuisine is very popular in Sikkim. Some of the popular dishes from the state are:
Gya thuk or Thukpa – is a noodle based soup with vegetables or meat.
Momo – stuffing minced meat, vegetables or cheese in flour dough and then making them into dumplings.
Phagshapa – is strip of pork fat stewed with radishes and dried chilies.
(Source: Wiki)

Green Brinjal Curry, Sikkim Food, Green Eggplant Stir Fry, Blogging Marathon,

Coming to today’s recipe, I had initially listed Thukpa for this state and momos for Arunachal Pradesh. Since I made Thukpa for Arunachal, and husband did not want momos, I chose to do something else. I picked Sel Roti for this state. “Sel Roti is a Nepal’s traditional home-made sweet, ring-shaped rice bread/doughnut, prepared during Tihar, a widely celebrated Hindu festival in Nepal”. Since majority of the population is Nepalese in Sikkim, Sel Roti is quite common food. Rice is soaked overnight or for few hours, ground together with ghee or butter, sugar and with flavoring of one’s choice. This batter is then poured into hot oil in a ring shape and is deep fried. Flavoring can be banana or cardamom and cloves. I made these but when grinding I added little too much water and batter was not very thick. I added little rice flour but the taste after adding rice flour was not as good as it was initially. With or without rice flour, my sel roti did not look as those are supposed to. I thought of redoing it again but just the thought of using butter and deep frying did not appeal to me. As for the taste, it was pretty good. If the I had nailed the shape of the Sel Roti, I would have used it for this state. I normally do not like banana and do not like the banana flavor either. When growing up, although banana was not my favorite fruit, I did not mind a few pieces of it in desserts or as prasadam (offering to god). As I grew older, I could not even tolerate it. To change that, for a change, I used banana as the flavor for this sel roti. To my surprise, I liked the banana flavor. I followed this recipe and later found this video which shows how thick the batter has to be. After seeing this video, I was tempted to retry the sel roti.

Sikkim Food, Nepal Food, Blogging Marathon

Since I did not want to do sel roti again, I want back to my mega BM folder where I had store some of the links I came across during my initial research on the cuisine. I had saved this link which is a post on Sikkim vegetables. One of the vegetables is beaked bitter gourd, which looks a lot like kantola. I really wanted to try that recipe when I first saw that recipe. It is a very simple recipe and all it needs are onions and Sikkim peppers. I thought I would substitute it with kantola. Another vegetable is Beeh, miniature green brinjal (eggplant) which looks like Thai eggplants. Last week when I went to Queens to get the vegetables, I could not find fresh kantola and picked but green Thai eggplants ~ brinjals. Since I could not find Sikkim peppers, I used habanero peppers. So this Saturday, it was sautéed Thai eggplants with habanero peppers.

Green Brinjal Curry, Sikkim Food, Green Eggplant Stir Fry, Blogging Marathon,

I never cooked with habanero peppers and when I tasted the raw pepper, it was hot but also had a sweet taste to it. I assumed it might not be that spicy. Oh boy was I wrong! The recipe called for one dallae khorsani (round sikkimese chilly). Since habanero was sweet and hot, I used 4 thinking that when cooked the peppers might make the stir fry sweetish. I tell you, it was so hot that my mouth was on fire. The stir fry itself was not that hot but each time I bit the chili, I was blowing air. Husband liked it a lot and said it was pretty good and spicy hot! He wanted me to make it again. In fact next day he wanted me to make it the same way I made the day before, with same amount of spice. I am glad I tried this recipe and this is going to be my recipe for Thai Eggplants. Coming to the habanero peppers, when cooking these peppers, it had this unique smell to it, as if I were cooking it in butter. In fact I kept asking myself, did I by any chance add butter by mistake? Also, the aroma from cooking the peppers was so strong that it irritated my nostrils. I was sneezing in the kitchen and husband who was in the bedroom was also sneezing. This was despite having the kitchen exhaust on and opening the windows in the other rooms. Saying that, this is not going to stop me from not using these peppers again. I totally loved them.

Green Brinjal Curry, Sikkim Food, Green Eggplant Stir Fry, Blogging Marathon,

Source: Health Food Desi Videsi
Total Time: 15 – 20 minutes
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Serves: 1 – 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. Oil
  • 50 grams or 5 Pearl Onions sliced (I used red ones)
  • 1-4 Habanero Peppers chopped (I used 4 and check notes before using it)
  • Pinch of Turmeric (this is my addition)
  • 200 grams or 5 Green Eggplants or Thai Eggplants (I substituted it for Beeh, a miniature eggplant from Sikkim)
  • ½ medium – large Tomato sliced
  • ¾ – 1 tsp. Salt (Adjust to taste)

Preparation:

  • Heat oil in a pan and sauté sliced onion and habanero peppers for 1-2 minutes until onions are translucent.
  • Add turmeric and mix.
  • Add sliced brinjal (eggplants), sauté stirring it until the slices wilt and are caramelized on med-high flame. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes & salt, mix well, cover and cook on low flame for about 5 minutes until tomatoes are cooked.
  • Remove the cover and fry for 2-3 minutes on med high – high flame until the stir fry is dry and the vegetables are cooked.
  • Serve with roti or rice.

Note:

  • Habanero peppers are very hot, spicy hot. Add peppers according to your taste and heat tolerance level. For a mild taste add no more than 1 pepper. For a spicy stir fry, use 2-3 peppers and for very fiery stir fry, use 4 peppers. Please do not add more than 4. You will need a gallon of ice-cream to cool your mouth and probably Prilosec for heart burn. I ate an ice-cream bar to cool my mouth. The stomach did not bother me much but mouth was on fire. In fact both of us ate an ice-cream after lunch.

Recipes I posted this month in 2009, in 2010, in 2011, in 2012 and in 2013.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 39

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