Baghare Baingan

(Tempered Baby Eggplants in rich & creamy sauce of roasted Peanuts & Coconut)

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Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30-40 mins
Serves: 5-6
Recipe Inspiration: 660 Curries


Ingredients:
10-12 Baby Purple Brinjals/Eggplants
2-4 tbsp Oil (I used 2 tbsp Oil)
Salt to taste

For Peanut-Coconut Gravy:
2 medium Onions, thinly sliced
½ cup Peanuts
¼ cup Desiccated Coconut/Kobbari (Dry Coconut)
1½ tbsp White Sesame Seeds
½ tbsp White Poppy Seeds
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
2 tsp Red Chilli Powder (Preferably Kashmiri/Dhegi Chilli Powder. Substitute it with 1 tsp chilli powder+1 tsp Paprika, adjust acc to taste)
¾ tsp Haldi/turmeric Powder
1 tsp Amchur/Dry Mango Powder or 1 tsp Tamarind Paste (Optional, adjust acc to taste)
½ -1 tbsp Jaggery/Brown Sugar (Adjust acc to taste)

For Baghar/Tadka/Tempering:
1-2 tbsp Ghee/Oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
½ tsp Kalonji/Nigella Seeds (Optional)
1 tsp Methi/Fenugreek Seeds (Optional)
2 Dry Red Chillies (halved)
A Spring of Curry Leaves
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste

Method:
Preparing Peanut-Coconut Paste:
Heat 1-2 tbsp of oil in a pan and add thinly sliced onions. Fry these onions till they are caramelised and turn golden brown, about 5-8 mins, on medium-high heat. Transfer them into a food processor or mixer jar.
In a same oil roast coriander seeds, sesame seeds and poppy seeds till they turn light golden and release their aroma. Add them to caramelised onions.
In a same wok, stir in desiccated coconut and sauté till they turn light golden shade. Add them to caramelised onion and roasted spices.
Next roast peanuts in a same pan till they are lightly roasted, about 3 minutes, on medium-high flame. Mix them with other fried/roasted ingredients.
Let all these roasted/fried ingredients cool slightly.
Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, jaggery and dry mango powder/tamarind paste with other roasted ingredients.
Grind these ingredients to smooth paste adding enough water (about ¼-½ cup) as and when needed. Keep it aside until needed.

Preparing Baby Brinjal:
You can keep the stems or simply remove it as I have done here. Wash the eggplants and pat them dry.
Make ‘+’ incisions carefully from the base of each eggplant, making sure that the stem end is intact.
Heat oil in a wok and arrange all the eggplants in single layer. The water in eggplant will make the oil to splutter. So cover the wok with lid and reduce the heat to medium-high.
Cook these eggplants, stirring in between, till their skin is charred and they fork tender, about 10-15 mins.
Transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen towel to absorb excess oil.

Preparing Baghar/Tempering:
Heat 2 tbsp of ghee/oil in a pan and add mustard seeds to it. When mustard starts to pop and splutter, add cumin seeds, kalonji, methi, hing, dry red chillies and curry leaves. Sauté till cumin seeds turn golden red in colour, about 1 min.
Next add ginger-garlic paste and keep stirring till the paste turns golden red and becomes dry mass, about 2-3 minutes, on medium heat.
Mix in Peanut-Coconut paste that you had prepared earlier and close the lid for a minute or two. This way the base gravy gets smoky flavour of bhagar or tempering of spices.
Open the lid and let the paste cook for another 8-10 minutes, stirring in between, on medium flame.
Add about ½ -1 cup of water to the gravy and salt to taste and bring the whole mixture to gentle boil, about 5 mins.
Drop shallow fried baby eggplants into the gravy and cook uncovered for another 10-15 minutes till eggplants are cooked through and all the flavours blend well.
Serve this delicious Bhagare Baingan with any Indian flat bread or bowl of steamed or flavoured rice and enjoy!

Notes:
Use small Indian eggplants that are fresh, round and have shiny purple body and green stems. If they have black seeds then it is better to discard them as they tend to be bitter in taste.
If you don’t get baby eggplants then simply use the common purple aubergines you get in your nearby supermarket. Slit this big eggplant lengthwise and then slice them in to ½ inch moons and proceed with the recipe.
While grinding all the roasted spices, peanuts, onion and coconut, you can also add few cashews nuts or almonds which lend rich taste to the gravy.  

Labels: Baby Eggplants, Coconut, Currys, Hyderabadi dishes, Peanut, Poppy Seeds, Sesame