Wedenesday, December 21, 2005
Her latkes are infused
with flavors of
Sena Desai Gopal,
Tara Deshpande Tennebaum was raised in
Cochin Jews have
Now living in
Tara Tennebaum owns Azalea Catering in Jamaica Plain, where she also teaches Indian cooking. She makes seven kinds of vegetarian latkes -- one with smoked eggplant and another with spinach and chickpeas -- that combine an age-old Jewish dish with East Indian ingredients.
The cuisine that
evolved from Jews living in
The eggplant latkes are a combination of the traditional Eastern European potato pancake and an Indian smoked eggplant side dish called baingan bharta. Tennebaum uses challah breadcrumbs instead of flour and has added a yogurt sauce to cool the smoky spiciness.
Tara Deshpande Tennebaum will teach a class on Indian cooking on Jan. 9 at Nuestra Culinary Ventures in Jamaica Plain (call 617-522-7900). O n March 11 and April 8, she will teach at her catering facility (call 617-254-1185 ).
2 medium Italian eggplants
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 large eggs
salt, to taste
1/2 loaf challah (about 1/2 pound), made into breadcrumbs
extra olive oil (for frying)
1. Holding the eggplants with tongs, turn them over a gas flame for 8 to 12 minutes or until the skin burns and the eggplants are tender. Or, cook eggplants on a hot grill, turning often, for 8 minutes or until charred and tender.
2. Let the eggplants cool completely. Discard the stems, peel off the skin, and mash the flesh with a fork.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the oil, and when it is hot, cook the bay leaf, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to lift out the spices.
4. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring, for half a minute. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger. Cook 1 minute more.
5. Stir in the turmeric, cayenne, coriander, ground cumin, and eggplant. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool.
6. Set the oven at 200 degrees. Line a plate with paper towels. Have a baking sheet on hand.
7. In a food processor, work the eggplant mixture, eggs, and salt. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs with a fork. Blend well.
8. Heat 2 tablespoons of the extra oil in a large nonstick skillet until hot. Ladle the batter in mounds in the pan, leaving room between the pancakes. With a spatula, press down on the latkes so they brown evenly. Cook until the undersides are golden. Turn the latkes and brown the other sides. Set on the paper towels, then transfer to the baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven. Continue with more oil until all the batter is used.
-- Adapted from Tara Deshpande Tennebaum