Hyderabadi recipes are famous for their unique taste, use of roasted spices, and a spicy flavor, and this traditional Hyderabadi Baghare Baingan (Stuffed Aubergines) is definitely no exception! I'm not an eggplant-lover, but after Baingan Bharta, this one has to be my preferred choice. It's amazing how a simple blend of spices can taste and smell so good; the tiny aubergines (brinjals) are fried and then cooked in a delicious gravy made with freshly roasted spices ground to a fine paste. With coconut, peanuts, cumin, ginger and tamarind lending their unique flavor, the Baghare Baingan will leave you smacking your lips, whether you love eggplants or not!
8 baby brinjals (aubergines/baingan) - round and small
1 medium onion
2 dried red chillies
2 tbsp tamarind extract
1/2 tsp ginger paste
4 tbsp crushed peanut powder
2 tbsp dessicated coconut - grated
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp dhania powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup water
salt - to taste
4 tbsp oil + oil for frying aubergines
Wash the brinjals well, and make 2 perpendicular cuts through its base, upto 3/4 of the length, making a criss-cross, and leaving the head (green stem) intact. Now heat oil in a wok for frying. When its ready, drop 2-3 aubergines at a time and deep fry till they turn purplish-grey, and the skin becomes crispy. Remove and let it drain on a tissue paper.
Tip: Heat two tablespoons of oil in a thick and wide pan and add the brinjals. Sprinkle some salt and leave the brinjals to cook until well done and soft.
In the meantime roast the peanuts and sesame seeds. Switch off the flame and add the grated coconut to this, then pan-fry on low-flame till it turns light golden. Grind in a spice blender and keep aside.
In the same wok, take 2 tbsp oil and add the chopped onions to it. Saute for 3-4 mins till pinkish in color. Add the cumin seeds, coriander powder and red chillies, and roast for another 2 mins.
Now blend all of the roasted ingredients along with the turmeric powder.Add the ginger and tamarind paste, along with 1/4 cup water, and blend to form a smooth and thick paste.
Take a non-stick pan, add 1 tbsp oil, add the roasted spice blend and sufficient water to make a gravy. Add salt and lemon juice according to taste. Cover and let it simmer on low-flame for 5-8 minutes.
Now add the fried brinjals to this gravy. Stir gently to allow gravy to penetrate the slits in the brinjals. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
When its time to serve, garnish with some finely chopped coriander. Serve the traditional Hyderabadi Baghare Baingan with rotis, Parathas or Rice; off this goes to Mona who's hosting RCI-Hyderabad this month!
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