While I am not a huge cricket fan (I can only remember too well the many fist fights I lost and the many TV programs I had to sacrifice when a match was on), I always crossed my fingers for an Indian victory and I always believed wholeheartedly that Sachin would be the one to lead us to this victory. Even when the score looked bleak, Sachin was the beacon of hope that burnt in our hearts; as long as he stood at the crease, we still stood a chance; we expected him to do his magic and bail us out, or rather, bat the opposition out. It is impossible not to have faith in the man when you live among a billion fans most of whom would readily lay down their lives for him. And what's more, I believe my niece is named after Sachin's daughter. (My brother is definitely one of those people who would take a bullet for Sachin).
And as I watched Sachin walk off the ground for the last time, I couldn't help but feel a heaviness in my heart. It marks the end of an era in cricket. In this lifetime, we may never again witness his kind of magic in cricket, or any other sport for that matter. Sachin, you are going to be sorely missed.
By the way, did you know that Sachin is a foodie? Ofcourse you knew that because you are a die-hard Sachin fan and you know what time he wakes up and what brand of toothpaste he uses. But I somehow can't imagine the gentleman who looks so calm and composed in the face of fast deliveries and bouncers saying, "mmm, it's delicious", as he eats raw fish at a Japanese restaurant, or getting his fingers dirty as he enjoys roti and prawn masala at home, or finding comfort in varan bhaat after a particularly difficult day at work. Picture the man you admire not only for the magic he wielded with his cricket bat over the past 24 years but also for his extreme dedication and professionalism trying out snails, eating street food, cooking for the wife and claiming that his mother's curries are the best in the world (atleast, in that respect he is like other men)!
I made this baingan ka bharta because my brother tells me it is one of Sachin's favourite dishes. I usually avoid eggplant like the plague, but if Sachin likes it, why shouldn't I?
Baingan ka bharta is basically mashed and spiced eggplant. You first roast eggplants, mash the soft flesh, and then add it to a sauteed and spiced onion and tomato mixture. It goes well with flat breads like naan or roti.
1 eggplant (about 750 grams)
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon kasuri methi (optional)
A handful of coriander leaves
To taste, salt
3 tablespoons oil
Rub oil over the surface of the eggplant and prick all over using a fork. Roast the eggplant by holding it over direct flame. Move it every now and then so that the entire surface of the eggplant get exposed to the flame. Do this till the skin is charred and starts peeling off and the eggplant shrinks. It should take around 20 minutes.
While the eggplant cools, prepare the masala.
Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Saute onions till translucent. Fry ginger, garlic and green chilies till aromatic. Over low heat, mix in chili powder and add tomatoes. Fry till tomato is mushy and oil separates.
Meanwhile, remove charred skin of eggplant and mash the flesh. Toss into pan and mix together. Season, add kasuri methi and cook for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle over garam masala and coriander leaves.
On another note, Sachin, please don't straighten your hair again, we love the curls!