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.