Bagara Baingan is delicious dish from Hyderabad. Let me translate for those guys who is not familiar with this language – bagar = tempering the oil with spices; baingan = eggplant or aubergine or brinjal.
Traditionally baingan is deep fried. Baingan is kept whole by making a ‘+’ cut at the bottom just like we make cuts while making stuffed eggplants. And then the whole baingan is deep fried in the oil. But I just cut them in four pieces and cooked them with a tablespoon of oil to cut down the calories. I also mentioned other option to cook in a microwave.
This one is dear husband’s favorite dish. He always took leftover for lunch next day. I pack parathas in aluminum foil separately with some sliced onions. So he can enjoy his meal.
The gravy is made from onion, peanuts, coconut, sesame and tamarind with some spices which gives very flavorful and nutty taste to it. You can always adjust the green chilies as per your liking.
I have adapted the recipe from a cookbook. In the cookbook, recipe mentioned that grind all the nuts, sesame, coconut raw without roasting. I was a bit worried about without roasting it, so I dry roasted the all the ingredients except onion, ginger, green chilies and cilantro before grinding for the first time. And it came out delicious. Then I thought I should give it a try without roasting it and followed the recipe exactly for second time. And yes it came very delicious. So either way it tastes good, so choice is yours. And finally I was making it for step by step photos, and I thought it tasted good without roasting it and then why should I go for another step of roasting. Thus I kept them raw and ground into paste.
Adapted from – Simply South: Traditional Vegetarian Cooking
- Onion – 1 medium or 1 ½ cups roughly chopped
- Garlic cloves -2
- Ginger – ½ inch piece
- Green chilies – 3 small
- Cilantro – 10-12 sprigs
- Peanuts – 2 tablespoons
- Desiccated coconut – 2 tablespoons
- Sesame seeds – 1 tablespoon
- Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Tamarind paste – 1 tablespoon or ½ small lemon sized seedless tamarind
- Water – ¼ cup
- Oil – 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon
- Small eggplants (baby baingan) – 6
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
- Water – 1 cup
- Cilantro – 2-3 tablespoons, finely chopped for garnishing
- Wash baby eggplant well. Remove the stems and cut into 4 pieces. And keep in a cold water to avoid discoloration. if you want you can cut the eggplants in smaller pieces.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add eggplant pieces. Sprinkle some salt on it and let it cook and do flip the eggplants in between for even cooking.
- While eggplant it cooking let’s make the paste. Take all the ingredients listed under ‘for paste’ in a grinder. First add water and then other ingredients for easy grinding.
- And make smooth paste. Keep aside till needed.
- And now eggplants are cooked. Check by inserting a knife in eggplant, if it cuts easily without any effort then it is cooked.
- Remove it to another plate and keep it aside. another option to cook eggplant – coat the eggplant pieces well with 1 tablespoon of oil in microwave safe bowl sprinkle salt on it. And microwave it on high power for 5-6 minutes.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the same pan on medium heat. Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
- Then add ground paste and salt. Mix well.
- Cook it till all the moisture evaporates and it starts to leave the sides of the pan. Keep stirring in between so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add red chili powder and coriander powder.
- Mix and cook for a minute.
- Add water to make it gravy consistency and let it come to a boil.
- Add cooked eggplant.
- Mix gently and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Finally garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.
Shelf life – once cools completely, it can be refrigerated up to 3 days in air tight container.
Serving suggestions – serve with rice or paratha or roti.
I have served this delicious bagara baingan with plain paratha and it was our last weekend lunch.