Baghara Baigan – Hyderabadi-style eggplant in a spicy gravy

For anyone who loves eggplant, spicy curries or Indian food in general, and most importantly, likes to cook, here is a great recipe for Baghara Baigan.
  1. 6-8 small, oval-shaped eggplant/baigan/brinjal
  2. 1/2 cup peanuts
  3. 1 table spoon sesame seeds
  4. 1/2 to 1 table spoon shredded coconut
  5. 2 dried red chilies
  6. 1 tea spoon coriander seeds
  7. 1/2 tea spoon cumin seeds
  8. 1 medium size onion, cut into large pieces
  9. 1 table spoon tamarind juice (use fresh tamarind)
  10. 1/2 tea spoon jaggery
  11. Just a pinch of turmeric
  12. 1 tea spoon Ginger-garlic paste (optional)
  13. 1 – 2 tea spoon red chili powder
  14. About 3/4 tea spoon salt
1. Make a 1 -2 inch (depending on the size of the eggplant) cross-cut from the top of the eggplant  keeping the stem intact. This will open up the eggplant enough to soak in the spices.
2. Steam or microwave the eggplant in 1/2 cup of water for 3 minutes or so, until just about cooked. Make sure they don’t get overcooked. Remember, we are going to cook them again with the sauce.
3. In a pan, take 1 table spoon of oil and fry peanuts for about 5 minutes on medium-low flame.
4. Add sesame seeds red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and continue to fry for 3-4 minutes.
5. Lower the heat, add coconut, stir, and empty the mixture in a bowl.
6. In the same pan, fry onion for about 3-4 minutes.
7. Grind the spice mixture by addint a little water until it is well blended but still quite coarse.
8. Add the onion and grind until the mixture is well blended and slightly coarse.  You will have to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. (Do not make it into a paste. Blend it well, but keep it slightly coarse)
9.  In a pan, take 3-4 table spoon oil and add 2-3 red chilies, 2-3 cloves, and fry the ground mixture for about 3 minutes.
10. Add red chili powder, turmeric, and mix well.
11. Add tamarind juice, salt and jaggery. Cook for 4-5 minutes and taste the mixutre to adjust the spices/salt.
12. Add the eggplant, About 1 cup of water and cook for about 15 minutes. The gravy when done, should not be too watery so add water accordingly.
This dish goes very well with both biryani and roti.

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