Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan – Eggplants in spicy gravy
This recipe is very close to my heart and its been due on my blog for a long time. Seriously, a long time, I know my friend who requested this recipe years ago will be very happy! I learnt to make this dish when I was very young, maybe 13 or 14 years old. I learnt it because I loved it so much! This recipe is a speciality of the state of Andhra Pradesh, especially Hyderabad. Every household in Hyderabad has its own secret recipe for this. We had a lot of neighbors who made this delicious curry and my aunts were very generous and always brought me a bowl And yes, you guessed it right, that small bowl was never enough for me, leave alone for our family of four! So, I took this upon myself and learnt the recipe from my aunts (each one a different recipe). After I made it a couple of times, I took the things I liked from each one and came up with my own and this is that version. This is like a combination of the ‘Gutti Vankayi’ and ‘Bagara Baingan’ recipe. Not the most authentic, but I promise, the most delicious version you can ever eat. This was a sunday staple in our house and now its V’s favorite too
The secret to this recipe lies in the perfect roasting of the masala. It is definitely a time consuming process, but well worth all the effort. Another tip is, you can grind the masala in step 2 and freeze it for up to a month or two! So all you brinjal/eggplant lovers out there, here it comes. You just have to try this recipe. Trust me.
Small Indian eggplants – 12-15 no.
Onion – 1 medium
Tomato – 2-3 medium
Green Chilies – 3-4 no.
Jeera/Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Red Chili powder – 1 tsp(optional)
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Oil – 4 Tbsp plus 2-3 Tbsp (for cooking the eggplant)
For the ground masala paste:
Group 1 – Dry Roast
Peanuts – 3/4 cup
Sesame seeds(white) – 1/4 cup
Khus Khus (poppy seeds) – 1 Tbsp
Dry Red Chillies – 3-4
Dry Coconut powder/Khopra/Fresh grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Dhania/Coriander seeds – 2 Tbsp
Channa Dal/Bengal gram – 2 Tbsp
Jeera/Cumin seeds – 1 Tbsp
Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
Cloves – 3-4 no.
Group 2 – Roughly chop
Onion – 2 medium
Garlic – 4-5 large cloves
Ginger – 1 inch piece (peeled)
Mint leaves – a handful (Use 2 tsp of store bought mint chutney if you do not have fresh mint leaves)
Cilantro/Coriander leaves – 2 handfuls(you can use the stems)
Tamarind paste – 2 tsp (I use the Tamicon dark brown tamarind paste, double the quantity if you use light brown colored tamarind paste, like JOY or Laxmi brand)
OR a small lemon size ball of tamarind(deseeded)
Salt – to taste
- For the Masala, dry roast all the group 1 ingredients separately on medium heat, until:
Peanuts – don’t smell raw anymore
Sesame seeds(white) – slightly golden brown in color
Khus Khus (poppy seeds) – for 30-45 seconds
Dry Red Chillies – just for 30-45 seconds
Coconut powder/Khopra/Fresh grated coconut – slightly golden brown in color
Dhania/Coriander seeds – you get a nice aroma
Channa Dal/Bengal gram – slightly golden brown in color
Jeera/Cumin seeds – you get a nice aroma
Cinnamon stick – you get a nice aroma
Cloves – you get a nice aroma
TIP: For a slightly different taste, saute the onions in 1 tsp of oil until translucent. Cool and grind with the rest of the ingredients in step 2. Also, adjust the heat(red chili powder) according to your taste. This is a medium spice version.
- Grind together the roasted group 1 ingredients, group 2 ingredients, and salt, adding water as required.
- Slit the eggplant in the center and then across, keeping the stem intact. Heat 2-3 Tbsp of oil in a pan and saute the eggplants until almost (75%) cooked. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
- In the same pan, add another 2 Tbsp of oil and add cumin seeds. Let the seeds fry for 30 seconds and then add chopped onions. Saute until translucent. Add the, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, green chillies and cook until the raw smell goes away.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until mushy. Add the ground paste from step 2 and mix well. Add red chili powder and salt to taste. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, without closing the lid, until oil starts separating from the gravy. (It might splutter a lot, lightly cover the pan with a lid, with a spatula inside).
- Adjust the consistency of the gravy to your liking, adding less water if you like it thick and more if you like it a little runny.
- Add the eggplants and garam masala and cook covered on low for 20-25 minutes, until the eggplant is tender and the raw smell of the gravy goes away. Finish with some chopped coriander leaves.