Baghare Baingan: The Perfect Accompaniment

bagarebainganBrinjal / baingan / aubergine is a versatile fruit much loved in many countries. It happens to be native to India which hosts over 100 indigenous varieties, though only a few of these are cultivated for the market. In India, it is among the most commonly cultivated vegetable crops. Being a member of the nightshade family, it is related to tomato, potato, capsicum and chilli. However this is a separated family, since the brinjal is one member of the nightshade family that is not native to South America, thought it has come to be co-opted by the continent’s cuisine ever since its introduction. Two members of the separated family (brinjals and chillies) unite forces along with tamarind (another ingredient native to India), in this exquisite Indian dish that serves as a perfect special-occasion accompaniment to pulaos and biryani.

Ingredients Quantity
Small brinjals 6-8
Onions (medium-sized) 2
Ginger-garlic paste 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Garam masala To taste
Oil variable
Salt To taste
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Nigella seeds 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves 5-6
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Bayleaf 1
Dried red chillies (bydagi) 4 tbsp
Red chilli powder To taste
Water For consistency
Coriander leaves To garnish
Tamarind 3 knobs
For paste
Fenugreek seeds 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Coriander leaves To garnish
Coriander seeds 1/2 tbsp
Peanuts (raw) 3 tbsp
White sesame seeds 2 tbsp
Poppy seeds 1 tbsp
Dessicated coconut 2 tbsp
Oil Enough for baghare
Preparation of tamarind pulp
• Soak 3 knobs of tamarind (without seeds) in 8 tbsp of hot water for 15 minutes. Mix the pulp in a grinder, adding a dash of water till it forms a paste. Remove any fibre/rough parts that may remain
Preparation of paste
• Heat oil in pan
• Add fenugreek seeds, then cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and dessicated coconut
• Fry these on a low flame for 5 minutes, stirring regularly throughout
• When lightly browned, set aside, allow it to cool, then transfer to a mixie
• Add a little water and let it grind for a minute till it becomes a smooth paste
• Set aside in a bowl
Preparation of brinjals
• Wash the brinjals with water
• Dry them then remove their stalks
• Slit them half way from both ends (ensure they remain whole)
• Steep them in water for a minute, then dry them with a cloth
• Heat oil in a pan. When it begins to smoke, deep fry the brinjals on high flame.
• After a few minutes of frying, remove the brinjals from oil and set aside
Preparation of baghare baingan
• Heat oil in pan
• Add mustard seeds (allow them to pop)
• Add nigella seeds, curry leaves, bay leaves, red chilli fragments
• Fry them, then add the onions and ginger garlic paste and stir them around
• Add the previously ground paste
• Keep stirring till the oil begins to separate from the paste
• Add the chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, and salt to taste
• Stir this for a while, then add a dash of water and stir for an even gravy consistency
• When this boils, add in the fried brinjals and stir them around
• Allow it to cook on a low flame for about 10 minutes
• Stir occasionally and towards the end, add the tamarind paste and stir
• Cook for another 2 minutes
• Garnish with coriander and serve