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Baghare Baingan (Indian Eggplant Curry)
By Anita Shah   

Baghare BainganBaghare Baingan is a traditional Hyderabadi (South-Central Indian) side dish that is sure to placate your spicy-tangy cravings. This dish is usually cooked with whole small-sized, round Indian eggplants but if you are using local eggplants that are larger in size you may want to cut them in quarters. Baghare Baingan adds an exotic flavor to the menu. The leftovers keep for a while and can be enjoyed as a kind of a chutney with your regular, everyday food.

Ingredients

  • Eggplants – 1 lb (Indian style 3-4 medium eggplants)
  • Sesame seeds – 2 tbsp
  • Peanuts – 3 tbsp
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Chopped onion – 1 cup
  • Dried whole red chilies (cayenne peppers) – 2
  • Tamarind – 1 oz
  • Green chilies (jalapeño peppers) – 4
  • Bay leaves – 10 pieces
  • Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Unsweetened desiccated coconut – 3 tbsp
  • Oil – ½ cup (use more or less as needed)
  • Salt – 1½ tsp (or to taste)

Preparation

Wash, towel dry and vertically slit the eggplants from the top without removing the stem.

Baghare BainganLightly roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, dried red chili peppers, desiccated coconut and salt. Grind the roasted mix to a smooth powder/paste. Fill the eggplants with half or part of the paste. Heat half of the oil and sauté the eggplant until light golden brown.

Slit green chilies and cut into one inch long pieces. Boil tamarind in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes and strain to get tamarind pulp.

Heat remaining oil in a thick-bottomed pan (ideally cast iron pan). Add mustard and fenugreek seeds, when mustard seeds start to crackle, add bay leaves and chopped onions. Cook until golden brown, then add the remaining roasted mix paste and stir constantly.

Add turmeric powder, green chilies and cumin powder. Season with salt. Add 2 cups of water, bring it to boil and add tamarind pulp. Add sautéed eggplants, cook on high heat for 2 minutes, decrease the temperature and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with hot buttered naan (pita).

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

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