A specialty of Hyderabadi Cuisine – Baghare baingan. Baghar means tadka/tempering and baigan is referred to as eggplants meaning “Eggplants cooked with a tadka”. Baby eggplants/baingan are cooked in cashew – coconut gravy and flavored with tangy spices. This dish is pretty close to the traditional Hyderabadi baghare baingan but not exactly like one. Original dish requires peanuts, poppy seeds and kalonji to form a rich and thick gravy base and I have substituted the above spices with tomato paste and kept it pretty simple. Above all its a no-onion-no garlic recipe.
I first tasted this dish in a wedding menu and loved it’s distinctive taste. All the warm flavors of spices complemented this dish pretty well. Coconut itself adds a rich and creamy texture and takes it to a whole new different level – rich and royal. Originally introduced by Mughals and later adapted by Nawabs of Hyderabad this dish is now a staple in every Hyderabadi gatherings.
On a healthy note I have skipped frying eggplants rather choose to cook them in the gravy itself. As shown in the recipe, whole eggplant are used but as per one’s liking you can remove the stem, slit them in halves and cook them as pieces. Tamarind paste can be substituted with lemon juice or amchur powder (mango powder). At times you will feel the urge to add more oil to the gravy but don’t go overboard with oil as sesame seeds, cashews and coconut will release its own oil during the cooking process.
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- 7-8 pieces of Small eggplant/baingan
- 2/3 cup Homemade tomato puree
- 1/2 cup Coconut paste
- 2 tablespoon Yogurt/ curd
- 1.5 tablespoon Cashew Paste
- 2 tablespoon Crushed Peanuts (optional)
- 2 tablespoon Grounded sesame seeds
- 1 big Green chili, chopped
- 2 tablespoon Tamarind paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Degi Mirch or Red chili Powder
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Coarsely pounded coriander powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Haldi (Turmeric powder)
- 1.5 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- 1.5 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon Chopped cilantro leaves
- 1.5 tablespoon Oil/Ghee
- Clean and wash baigan/eggplant.
- Assemble all the ingredients.
- And all the spices..
- Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds...
- When they start to sputter add in tomato puree..
- Add coconut , curd, cashew paste, sesame seeds powder, red chili powder, salt and haldi.
- Give it a good mix and cook till all the liquid evaporated and...
- The masala looks like this - all cooked and oil starts to separate. My cooking time on medium flame was 7 minutes.
- Mix in green chilies, garam masala powder and coriander leaves..
- Mix all the ingredients well; until blended..
- Cut baigan cross wise..
- And toss them in the cooked masala..
- Add 1/4 cup water..
- Cover and cook.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes on medium low flame or until baigan is tender and soft.
- Once baigan is cooked pour in tamarind paste and adjust seasonings.
- Before serving - take some masala and stuff it inside the baigan. This way baigan will not taste bland.
- Baigan is all cooked and ready to serve.
- Enjoy it hot with warm rotis.