A big dill

October 7, 2013

Seven years since this blog was born. Since then, I’ve created two children, a book and enough grey hairs to make a toddler’s Halloween wig. Readers have come, gone and then come back again. Comments have dried up, but the drivel I write shows no sign of abating. Let’s hope the visitor numbers aren’t being generated on a click farm in Dhaka.

I was gearing up to write a sentimental post. You know, the sort that would give away my ripe old age. About how times have changed, it’s all about short, sharp and snappy. Blogging is just not how it used to be… yada yada yada.

Just then, a vegan walked through my door. This, is a rare occurrence. (I liked to joke that I do not feed vegetarians, vegans and teetotalers. Until I used said joke on one, and it crash landed like a heavy bottomed tawa on my small toe.)

This vegan just happened to be staying the night at our friend’s place, who was coming over for dinner with his wife to learn to make dal. As if the combination of a vegan and dal virgin home cook could not get worse, I also had Boobie over: strict meatarian, white wine and fag fiend and general giver of much opinion.

It didn’t take long for the interrogation to start. So, why don’t you eat meat.

Unfazed by the two meat loving, Indian fishwives, he explained his fine stance against cruelty to animals.

So how about cruelty to mankind?

Again, a fairly robust defence. He was a University lecturer after all.

What about leather shoes/coats?

He doesn’t wear leather.

Conceding defeat, I topped up his Vegan wine while Boobie threw him a fag. Then we both declared Indian food would be our cuisine of choice if we ever decided to go vegan or vegetarian. So much variety, who would miss meat?

Like this recipe: Dill Baingan Bhaji. Nothing more than aubergines/brinjal sauteed with spices and dill leaves (sowa/soya/suva saag). I adore dill recipes, but something about its pungent grassy taste alongside the silky aubergines makes this recipe sublime.

Here’s to learning something new every day. Dodging the seven year itch and blogging my way through life’s every lesson. Wishing Sia, Sra, Jayashree and Mandira happy big seven. No mean feat ladies. And to Ganga, a proud vegetarian, for celebrating 17 years of blogging! Something to aspire to.

Baingan dill bhaji 550


Feeds 2:

  • 2 bunches dill (about 100g each)
  • 6 baby aubergines
  • Half tsp cumin seeds
  • Half tsp mustard seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder/paprika
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste



Wash and slice lengthways two times through each aubergine leaving the tops on. Roughly chop the garlic pieces. In a medium non stick pan, bring the oil to heat on medium high. When it’s hot, sprinkle in the asafoetida, toss in the seeds and garlic. As they sizzle up, mix in the aubergines with the turmeric and chilli powder and saute until soft for five minutes. If you cover the pan with a lid from time to time, it will speed things up.

When the aubergines are soft, mix in the dill, add salt to taste and cook until you can see wrinkles on the aubergine and oil leaving the edges of the pan. This dish is almost steam cooked in the aubergines own juices. But if your masalas start getting stuck to the bottom of the pan, you can add a teaspoon of water to scrape it off.

This is delicious tucked into a warm roti.



32 Responses to “A big dill”

  1. Laurie MacBride Says:

    October 8th, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Congratulations on seven great years! I can’t recall when I discovered your blog, but it was quite awhile back and I’ve loved it ever since. This recipe looks divine – I absolutely love anything with aubergine (although here, we call them eggplant). And it looks easy, which is always appreciated!

  2. Chinmayie @ love food eat Says:

    October 8th, 2013 at 3:45 am

    I think I have been following your blog for at least 5-6 years and come back for more even now :) Your Butter Chicken recipe is a hit amongst my family/friends and yours is the first blog I refer to when I am looking for a quick indian recipe!
    Congrats on completing seven years Mallika. Looking forward to several more years of blogging from you.

  3. Andrea Says:

    October 8th, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Mallika, so glad to see a vegan recipe – I am a vegetarian and have made a number of your recipes which always receive rave reviews from my whole family, especially my kids who often tell me I have to make dal for them!

  4. indosungod Says:

    October 8th, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Hello Mallika,

    It is always fun to read and then yearn over the delicacies you create. Of late no time to comment that is all but read most of them.

    Here’s is to Happy Seven and to many more!

  5. BongMom Says:

    October 8th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Happy happy Seven to your lovely blog Mallika. Mine is next month sometime I think. Amazing no, that with kayanaat and all that, we all started talking food some seven years ago.
    Want many many more years of your wonderful food and writing. And I am not even being difficult or vegan

  6. alex lockwood Says:

    October 8th, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    So many great vegan recipes on your website ;-) I’ll be trying this dill recipe this weekend, I hope.

  7. Sia | Monsoon Spice Says:

    October 8th, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Happy blog birthday. I am so pleased to share my blog birthday with yours (like some proud mommy club;)). I thought about you when I wrote my blog anniversary post. I thought I sent you the message but looks like I missed it all together!
    Wishing you many many years of blogging honey! You do know that I love your writeups, don’t you?!

    P.S: vegan recipe or not, I will always visit your blog for witty writing :)

  8. Cindy Says:

    October 9th, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Happy blogiversary! Yep, Indian cuisine is always a safe and consistently tasty fallback for us vegos.

  9. Revati Says:

    October 9th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Mallika, I have read and loved your blog for the entire time that you have been writing it. And I still subscribe to it, read every post and have tried out several of your quick fix recipes. Yours was the first blog I discovered, back in the day when cook blogs and weren’t yet all the rage. You are amongst those who set standards and inspired so many of us to give it a go too. Happy 7th! And here’s too many many more!

  10. Mallika Says:

    October 9th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Laurie, thank you! I remember your very first comment because I swung by to see your blog straightaway.

    Chinmayie, that’s so cool that they enjoy it! Thanks a ton for the years of support.

    Andrea, great to hear that. Love that your kids enjoy dal. Actually I cooked dal with no ghee for him, just an oil tarka and it came out really well. Vegan dal, anyone?

    Indosungod, I have the same problem. Sometimes I try and the comment doesn’t even go through. Really frustrating! So nice of you to stop by.

    BongMom, there was something in the water. I’m going to look out for your 7th birthday post. What a fantastic achievement just in time for the big birthday too – the book!!

    Sia, proud mommy club indeed! This is another baby, right? I’ve bookmarked to try your chana dal bari recipe from the 7th birthday post. And thanks for calling the drivel “witty” :-P

    Cindy, thank you. I’m going to nick vegos. LOVE it

    Revati – that is so sweet and thanks so much. It’s really hard to feel motivated all the time but comments like yours make it all the more worthwhile hon.

  11. Mallika Says:

    October 9th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Alex – welcome to the madness.

    (This is HIM everyone. The lecturer has found me. Public flogging next…)

  12. Hanging around, making luck, becoming journalists | The MA Journalism at Sunderland 2013-14 Says:

    October 11th, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    […] It’s important to think of journalism, and journalists, in this light – as experts. Sometimes they are called onto morning TV and show themselves up as merely opinionated, which is, of course, not the same. Sometimes they get to do this on more serious programmes, such as Today on Radio 4, to millions, and are, again, often, merely opinionated rather than expert. But often they are both. Many of them (us) really know their onions (or dill, said the food blogger who cooked for me last Friday, whose seven years blogging is in itsel…). […]

  13. IshitaUnblogged Says:

    October 11th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Congratulations! So now the 7 years itch is gone, and you are happily stuck with your blog forever! 7 years back I didn’t know what a blog was Mallika – I have been a late bloomer!

    Loads of good wishes, and keep blogging. I have told you before, and let me tell you again – I adore your book. It’s so funky and a great read. Do stop by Dubai – I’ll cook you some Kolkata Biryani while you can teach me some quick Indian cooking. Love:)

  14. Mike Says:

    October 14th, 2013 at 2:38 am


    This is the first time I’ve posted to one of your recipes but certainly not the first time I’ve made one! “A Big Dill” caught my interest as I a long time vegetarian (loved your story) and enjoy a good aubergine recipe. My attempt at this dish went quite well despite the fact I forgot to add the dill in the end (sort of like a dry Bhindi Masala – without the tomatoes). Thanks for sharing your creativity!

  15. Sra Says:

    October 14th, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Yay for a wickedly funny blog and its creator! May you blog and book for years more! As you can see, I went back into hibernation after that anniversary post last month, otherwise I would have seen this post faster!

  16. Mallika Says:

    October 15th, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Ishita, hope I survive the 7 year itch. Thrilled that you like my book. We need an across pond recipe swap!

  17. Mallika Says:

    October 15th, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Hi Mike, so pleased the recipe came out well. With or erm, without, the dill! Thanks a ton for leaving a comment, you make it all worthwhile.

  18. Mallika Says:

    October 15th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Hi Sra, no more hibernating! Thanks so much for all your support over the years x

  19. arundati Says:

    November 1st, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Congratulations on the blog anniversary Mallika! wishing you many more to come!This is one of those blogs that I come to, even after losing all my lists after a popular reader died… i come here because I enjoy your stories and the recipes are always fuss free and super quick….

  20. Michelle Says:

    November 24th, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Thank you for this! This was my first attempt at making Indian food and it came out amazing.

    I’m not a vegetarian but I’m crazy about eggplant, and I stumbled on your blog while searching the internet. You have a delightful style of writing that really transports me away from here- I live in a smallish city in Tennessee, USA.

    I substituted ground cumin instead of whole, a tablespoon or so of a really flavorful mustard instead of the seeds, used a whole head of garlic in place of asafoetida, and I used Chinese eggplants (aubergines). Tonight I’m looking forward to trying it again with a new variety of eggplant, and I expect more adventures as I slowly build up my spice collection. :)

  21. kalpana Says:

    November 28th, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Hi mallika,
    was a nice surprise for me to see you featured in our local paper today :)
    keep blogging. love to read your new recipes and escapades

  22. swati kumar Says:

    November 28th, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Hi mallika,
    First, congratulations:)I happened to find your site a few days ago and its become my favourite time pass to cook now. I am a newly married woman who left work to move places with husband… it was highly frustrating to do nothing and brood over things for not having a job! but now, I look forward to being in the kitchen! Thank you :) Looking forward to many more from you..

  23. Mallika Says:

    November 28th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Arundati, thanks so much! I am also struggling after Google reader. So much more of a struggle now… x

  24. Mallika Says:

    November 28th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Michelle, that’s amazing that it came out well! You now, I have come across eggplant haters and I just don’t understand how it’s even possible to hate them. There are several more recipes on here for eggplant. Hope you enjoy! x

  25. Mallika Says:

    November 28th, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Kalpana, that’s hilarious! Did you spit out your tea ;-) . Thanks a ton for the link, shared it on Twitter…

  26. Mallika Says:

    November 28th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Swati, this is the perfect adventure for you then – Indian cooking galore! Thrilled you found the blog… wishing you and hubby a happy married life

  27. Ganga108 Says:

    December 10th, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Thank you so much for the mention. And for the yummy recipe. xx

  28. Payal Says:

    December 17th, 2013 at 2:02 am

    HI Mallika,
    I just discovered your blog and fell in love with it immediately! Absolutely love your style of writing and the quick recipes. Like you I also started cooking when I came to the US to study and back then there were hardly any resources for newbie cooks and none with simple recipes like yours. This eggplant recipe seems interesting, will try it soon. I had chicken with dill and cilantro but never thought dill and eggplant would go together.

  29. Srivalli Says:

    January 2nd, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Congrats Mallika, I know I am so late..came here to greet you on new years and saw this post..:)..Happy New year to you and your family!

  30. Mallika Says:

    January 13th, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Hi Payal, welcome to the site and thanks so much for your lovely comments! Your chicken, dill and coriander recipe sounds delish. Really hope you enjoy some of the recipes here. M x

  31. Mallika Says:

    January 13th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Happy New Year Srivalli! Always lovely to hear from you :-)

  32. Content Sharing Says:

    February 7th, 2014 at 9:13 pm

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