Growing up, I didn’t care much for aubergine. It was one of those vegetables that just so happened to be part of the week’s repertoire. Also, I didn’t quite appreciate how its seedy gut oozed out once Mum was done roasting it on an open flame.
But as a food journalist you get bored ordering things that you know — for a fact — are good, and experiment with the unknown instead. At times you also want to test restaurants by trying out items that aren’t popular with the public.
This instinct (and instruction) led me to ordering Berenjaras Rellenas, baked aubergine with goat cheese, at Poco Loco in Bandra. Needless to say, aubergines soon became an obsession. I was ordering auberjine pakodas and sabji at Indian restaurants, and picked the most fragrant basil for the pesto sauce on the aubergine carpaccio I was cooking as a staple. I even wrote a feature about it for The Indian Express, much to the amusement of my editor who claims to have foreseen the headline: Purple Fever. Ah well. She knows me. She truly does.
Photo taken in a friend’s kitchen, Mumbai