Baghara Baingan

I have never been able to make a typical south indian Baghara baingan using peanuts... The curry is so different than what we north indians are used to. I always wanted to learn this curry base. And one of our friends makes this soooo well and we eat frequently at their place. So I had to learn it. It came close, though not exact... which can never happen. Even if you use the same ingredients and the same method, the cooking hand makes slight differences... But it was yummy...

Preparation Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 30-45 min
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

Baby eggplant – 8-10
Onion – 1 large chopped
Peanuts – ½ cup
White sesame seeds – ¼ cup
Ginger- garlic paste – 1½ tsp
Coriander pwd – 1½ tsp
Coconut flakes – 2 tblsp
Cumin pwd – 1 tsp
Cinnamon – 1” stick
Tamarind concentrate – 2 tsp
Haldi – ½ tsp
Jaggery – small 1" piece, powdered
Oil
Red chilli pwd - to taste
Garam masala – ½ tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Salt - to taste
Water - 2-3 cups


Method:

  1. Wash eggplants and slit them both ways without removing stems. Put in a microwave plate and sprinkle 1-2 tsp oil on them and cook for 4-5 min or until they get almost 3/4th cooked and set aside. OR you can cook them in a pan with little oil till tender.
  2. In a non-stick pan, dry roast peanuts and set aside. Add sesame and roast till light golden and set aside. Add in coconut flakes and roast and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add 2 tblsp oil and stir fry onions. Add haldi, salt, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, ginger-garlic paste and cook for 3-4 min. Add roasted peanuts, sesame, coconut. Mix and take off the flame. Add tamarind and about 1 cup water and blend to a smooth paste.
  4. In the same pan, take a little oil and splutter mustard. Add the ground paste, red chilli pwd and garam masala. Cook for a min. Add jaggery and about 1 cup water.
  5. Add eggplants and mix gently. Cover and let cook for 10-15 min on low-medium heat. Stir gently inbetween.
  6. Serve with roti/parantha. Goes very well with Biryani.

Tips

  • I just add jaggery as a piece. By the time everything boils, its melted. You need to make sure to mix it well though.
  • Once you know how to make the curry any vegetables can be added. Mirchi ka salan is the same gravy with mirchi instead of eggplant.
  • I use pre-roasted peanuts you get in the grocery store. I am sure there are cooks who swear the taste is better if you roast peanuts yourself. but for me these small steps are time-savers.
  • I pre-roast sesame and keep. So I don't have to roast when I use it.

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