Let me introduce you to the most iconic bengali flavour I grew up with – Kasundi. Kasundi is this sharp mustard paste typical to Bengal. I haven’t yet nailed how to make it, but I will get there.
There is normal mustard paste from a jar that you use for sandwiches, european dishes etc and then there is Kasundi. There is nothing quite like the taste – it is sharp, aromatic, pungent and altogether quite delicious. It takes the food to the next level! It is used as a dipping sauce with cutlets or as in this recipe, as the main ingredient in the dish itself. There will be quite a few kasundi led recipes on this blog, this is the first one 🙂
Growing up, we used to Kasundi from Patna or Calcutta. It used to come in these glass bottles and I used to just open it to keep sniffing the aroma. We didn’t cook too many things with this growing up, but now as I am doing my own cooking I find myself drawn to its flavour a lot more and try it more liberally.
First in the line of kasundi gravies is this eggplant dish. It is super simple yet so luscious and decadent. As any good bengali would tell you, the begun (eggplant) must first be shallow fried in mustard oil. Till it is cooked through and soft. Yummmmm. Then you move on to the magic of the kasundi sauce.
So go ahead, try this. Welcome to a version of my bengali heritage 🙂
One large eggplant
4 tbsp Kasundi paste
6 tbsp yoghurt
1 tsp ginger paste
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 green chilli – slit lengthwise
1 tsp nigella seeds
4-5 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp cumin (jeera) powder
1/3 cup water
Fresh coriander for garnish
- Cut the eggplant lengthwise and cover with turmeric and 1/2 tsp salt. Let it marinate for 15 minutes
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in a frying pan, till it is smoking. Add the marinated pieces (do not crowd them, do this in two batches if needed). Shallow fry for 3-4 minutes per side, till cooked. Drain them on a kitchen towel.
- Mix yoghurt, kasundi, salt, ginger paste in a bowl.
- In a pan, heat 1 tbsp mustard oil, add nigella seeds. Once they splutter, add the green chilli. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the yoghurt mixture to the pan and cook till oil separates. Add a little more turmeric if you want it a deeper yellow.
- Add cumin powder, salt, sugar and water. Cook on low till the sauce forms. If you like a lighter sauce, add more water.
- Add the eggplant to the sauce, mix well. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes. Check seasoning and adjust salt if required.
- Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with steamed rice.