Sadia Hussain

Eggplant Curry/ Baghare Baigan Recipe

This exotic dish is a culinary delicacy from Hyderabad, India. It is not eaten as a main dish but more as a chutney or side dish

Baghar means tempered or lightly fried. Baigan means eggplant. Eggplant, also known as brinjal or aubergine, is one of my favorite vegetables. I can understand why some people don't care for this firm-on-the-outside, spongy-on-the-inside vegetable, because eggplant on its own doesn't really have a very distinctive taste. The magic of Baghare Baigan lies in the deep flavors of roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut and the tang of tamarind. I guarantee, you will be smitten once you taste this lip smacking eggplant curry!


This exotic dish is a culinary delicacy from Hyderabad, India. It is not eaten as a main dish but more as a chutney or side dish. I think that's just because it is laborious and time consuming to make.


Baghare  Baigan is traditionally served with Hyderabadi Biryani but I like it with steamed rice or a paratha. Please don't be scared of the long list of ingredients and the never ending method and tips and bits! It takes time but I promise you,  it is so worth the effort!


Please do let me know if you make this dish. I'd love your feedback.

Eggplant Curry/ Baghare Baigan Recipe

Sadia Hussain

SERVES

20

TOTAL TIME

1 Hour 30 Minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg/2lbs small round, purple eggplants

  • 1 cup cooking oil


For the Gravy

  •  3 large onions, very finely sliced and fried golden brown

  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened, dry coconut, roasted and ground separately

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted, raw peanuts, roasted and ground separately

  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds, roasted and ground separately

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground separately

  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste

  • 1 block of seedless tamarind, soaked in warm water, sqeezed and strained (save the remaining water and tamarind, you may need it)


For the Tempering/Frying

  • 1/4 cup oil

  • 5-6 whole, dried chilies

  • 5-6 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin

  • 8-10 fresh curry leaves

METHOD

  1. Wash and dry the eggplants, leaving the stems intact. With a sharp knife cut an X on the round end cutting through the skin but not slicing through.

  2. In a big pot, heat oil on medium heat and fry the eggplant. This will splatter so cover the pot and shake it every minute or so.

  3. After 5 minutes, carefully lift the lid and check that the eggplants are slightly softened. Take the eggplants out on a plate and set aside.

  4. Reserve oil in the pot.

  5. Put fried onions, ground coconut, ground peanuts, ground sesame seeds, ground coriander seeds, salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, sugar and tamarind pulp in a blender.

  6. Grind to a paste then taste mixture to see if you want to add more salt, sugar or red chili powder.

  7. In the same pot add 1/4 cup more oil .

  8. Heat oil on medium heat.

  9. Add  dry red chilies, garlic cloves and whole cumin.

  10. Mix continuously until red chilies and garlic turn light brown.

  11. Add curry leaves and paste from the blender.

  12. Cook paste for a few minutes on low heat.

  13. Add reserved tamarind water a little at a time until you have a smooth, thick gravy.

  14. Cook gravy for 15 minutes, covered on low heat, until oil rises to the top.

  15. Add fried eggplants to the gravy and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.

Tips and Bits

Try to get eggplants that are similar sizes so they cook evenly.


Do not let onions turn dark brown or they will make the curry bitter. They should be golden brown.


Take care not to over roast the coconut, peanuts, sesame seeds and coriander seeds or the curry will taste bitter.


I often use a few tablespoons of peanut butter instead of the traditional raw, roasted, ground peanuts.

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