Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan & Giveaway Winner

Dear Foodies,

Hyderabadi Bagara BainganA few who have read about my eggplant/brinjal love in the past will be surprised to see this recipe here. The truth is I belong to the 'eggplant haters' club, if such a thing does exist. I've never liked its texture and my mom always made an extra vegetable dish for me when she cooked brinjal at home. When I came here for my masters, my roomies did the same for me, or better yet, we never cooked with it, simple.

But there is never escaping the King, the eggplant's versatility lends itself to many many dishes. Almost every cuisine in the world uses eggplants and you can apply any cooking technique to them - roasted, deep-fried, sautéed, grilled, baked, mashed, stuffed, pickled - anything at all will work. V happens to love them too, so I couldn't get too far avoiding it the way I used too. His favorite way of enjoying the eggplant is in the quintessential Andhra guthi vankaya kura, apart from kalchina vankaya pachadi and vankaya pulusu pachadi, all of which are coming up really soon here :( :). But as for the hyderabadi in me, it has to be Bagara Baingan. The main component in the gravy are the peanuts, and if you've read the previous post, you know I love them :) My mother makes a variation of this dish by adding tomatoes or capsicum instead/along with the brinjals for us me. The ingredient list might seem long, but most of them are just roasted and ground up into a thick paste.
Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan

Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan

Ingredients:
  • 6-8 nos - small & tender purple Eggplants/brinjals
  • 1½ cups - Onions, sliced (used for the masala paste & final gravy)
  • 1/4 cup - Peanuts
  • 1 Tbsp - Sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp - Poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp - Coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp - Cumin seeds
  • 1 inch piece - Cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp - grated, dried Coconut (I substitute with fresh)
  • 1 inch piece - Ginger,
  • 4-5 nos - Garlic cloves (2-3 if the cloves are plump)
  • 1/4 tsp - Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp - Red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp - Jaggery, grated
  • 1 tsp - Tamarind extract/ pulp from a key lime sized tamarind ball
  • 2 Tbsp - Peanut oil/Vegetable oil
  • 6-7 nos - Curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
Method:
  1. Wash the eggplants and pat them dry. You can chop off the thick stem on top, but leave the crown intact. It helps hold the eggplant together during the cooking process.
  2. In a sauté pan dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, coriander and cumin seeds, grated coconut and cinnamon stick one after the other. Use a medium flame and stir the ingredients frequently to achieve even browning. If you are familiar with their cooking times you can do this in one go by timing them accordingly. Allow them to cool for a few minutes
  3. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and brown the sliced onions, about 8-10mins. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over them in the beginning to draw out their moisture.
  4. Once all the dry roasted ingredients have cooled down, grind them together to a fine paste along with half the cooked onions, ginger, garlic, tamarind extract, turmeric powder and a little water to help the blending process. You still need a thick'ish paste that can be stuffed into the eggplants.
  5. Using a paring knife, carefully make crosswise slits through the eggplant stopping an inch before you get to the stem end. Stuff about a teaspoon of the paste into the slits, this will need some patience :)
  6. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a deep saucepan, sauté the curry leaves and carefully add the stuffed brinjals to the pan. They tend to splutter a lot, so I cover the pan and let them cook for about 10 mins, until they soften. Rotate them every few minutes so they cook evenly.
  7. Reduce the heat a bit, add the rest of the masala paste, the other half of the cooked onions, red chilli powder, a cup and a half of water and salt to taste.
  8. Cook on medium heat until the eggplants are cooked through and the oil starts to separate from the masala and collect around the edges.
  9. Serve warm with mild jeera rice, pulao or phulka's.
Hyderabadi Bagara BainganI made a mildly flavored rice and onion-cilantro raita to go along with the bagara baingan. For the rice, I sauteed shahjeera, a few cloves, a bay leaf and pinch of turmeric in some butter. Toasted the washed and drained rice in the butter and spices and then cooked the rice in the electric cooker. I could eat all the gravy in the this dish by myself. It has all the yummy flavors that make your palate tingle - nutty, tart, sweet and sour. Mirchi ka Salan, another Hyderabadi treasure, uses a very similar base with fiery green chillies taking center stage. Eggplants though, are like a sponge, drinking up all the flavors added to them while still being robust enough to hold up their own. Bagara Baingan is a decadent dish that will warm you up from within and make you feel pampered. So one of these cold nights ahead, treat yourself like royalty and indulge yourself.
And now for the winner of the 'Anjum's New Indian' cookbook giveaway. I used random . org to pick a number thrice and averaged the numbers to get to the winner, (had to make it a little more complicated than just picking a number). Drumroll please ....... the winner is Usha of 'My Spicy Kitchen'. Congratulations Usha! I'll email you with further details. Thank you all for the lovely comments and sharing your favorite meals with me. Reading each comment made me crave those dishes :D I loved the whole process and will surely have more such fun giveaways in the future.

19 thoughts:

Sharmilee! :) said...

I luv thick gravies....this one sure tempts me more...boookmarked to try!

harini-jaya said...

I too belong to the 'eggplant haters club'cos of allergies..but the pic of the curry is too tempting!!

myspicykitchen said...

Wow!! I am the winner! thank you... and the bagara baingan is mouthwatering!

Saee Koranne-Khandekar said...

One of my favorite ways of cooking baingan. :) Lovely clicks!

Srimathi said...

Never seen such a good looking bagara baingan. Makes me want to get a bag of baingan.

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

That is the best picture of baghara baigan i have seen till date. Wonderful click.

Congrats usha on winning the book :)

Priya said...


Sharmilee, you have to try this dish if you like thick, rich gravies. Here is another one I make, switching up the beans based on what I have.

Harini, try it with tomatoes or capsicum like I used too, the gravy is too good to miss :)

Usha, Congratulations again! You are going to have a lot of cooking ahead :D Can you send me an email ?

Saee, I think eggplants are one of the few veggies that can handle such rich gravies, right ?

Srimathi, get them brinjals quick! :) Thank you!

Priya, thank you so much. I found it really tough to get a good shot of these. It was hard to make the mushy eggplants look good :D

Pavani said...

I'm from the Eggplant lovers club and Bagara baingan is my fav. Looks yumm..

Kalyani said...

wow looks so tempting will try this version .......... lovely pictures .............

Jisha said...

looks yummy and creamy..yum yum

Sathya Sankar said...

Mouthwatering dish, looks very tempting !

Chilli Loves Malli said...

Priya,
This is my first visit to this site you have a great blog--the Bagara Baingan looks delicious-Yum!

If you are interested please
stop by my new little blog @
www.chillilovesmalli.blogspot.com
Cheers

AdukalaVishesham said...

slurp! wow tempting... good click

Reshmi said...

it looks like a rich one...never tried this..love to try it soon..

Hema said...

It looks lovely.. such a drool worthy click..

Charitha said...

Bagara baingan tempting me..i like this with roti n rice..

beautiful pics ..

Charitha
Ongoing event in my blog ,hope you guys will b a part of my event

http://womensera2008.blogspot.com/2011/02/my-first-event-announcement-lets-start.html

SUHANI said...

hello..i made this dish today and it turned out to be awesome..a very rich gravy gave brinjals newness to them..thanks for sharing the recipe..

mytastyadventures said...

it looks beautiful. I made it couple of times and it tastes great however I never get this beautiful redish color as seen in your pictures. did you add any food coloring to it?

Nivedita Mathanagopalan said...

I tried it today but the eggplant took forever to cook through, almost an hour and a half after I added the final spices. Not sure why, but other than that, the flavor was good!

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