At the outset, I do not claim that this is an authentic bagara baigan recipe. But sometimes, one must deviate from the norm and suit one’s own palate and that of one’s dearest friends. This recipe has an interesting anecdote attached. I had invited my friend Jen over for some Indian lunch. Actually, we planned to cook and enjoy it together. For some weird reason I decided to make stuffed eggplants as one of the dishes for the day. I had no idea what Jen liked as we were just getting to know one another and wisdom suggested that I stick to a known fare for the American palate … like the mushy saag paneer or samosa or something like that. But I wouldn’t be me and you wouldn’t be hearing this story if I followed time tested wisdom (there is a thought)!
So I get the ingredients ready and made careful measure adjustments of a few things like chilies and addition of onions. It worked wonderfully and we both liked the dish. But I must commend Jen for her love of adventurous eating. I would not have been able to pull this dish off as a first time introduction to traditional Indian food on someone else.
Here is the recipe for you Jen. Keep the love of cooking stoked. I can’t wait to see you back in the states!
- 10 – 12 small eggplants
- ½ cup roasted peanuts
- 1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
- 2 dried red chillies
- 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
- 1 tsp salt ( or to taste)
- ¼ C minced onion
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 4 tbs+ 1 Tsp sesame oil
- 3-4 curry leaves
- 1tsp coriander powder
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 2 cloves
- 1tbs tamarind concentrate
- If you have raw peanuts, you need to dry roast them before you can proceed to the cooking part.
- On medium heat, put the peanuts in a dry non stick pan and roast them until you see brown spots on the skin. Roasting them on medium low heat is important, because you don’t want them burnt yet raw.
- Do the same thing with the sesame seeds.
- Now slightly fry the onions in one tsp of oil. Cook on low heat until browned.
- Take your grinder and put in the peanuts, sesame seeds, dried chilies, chili powder, salt, onions, ginger garlic paste, cumin seeds, coriander powder, cloves, and tamarind and turmeric powder in it.
- Grind to a fine paste, but do not add any water. The moisture from the onions and ginger garlic and tamarind should do the trick.
- Divide this paste into two portions.
- Leaving the stems on the eggplants, Make cross slits from top. It’s like you wanted to slit the eggplant into four, but you will leave it connected at the base.
- Using one half of the stuffing fill in slit eggplants, dividing the stuffing equally. You basically fill the gaps you just made.
here is how :
- Heat the remaining sesame oil in a non stick pan and carefully lower eggplants, one at a time into the pan. Do not over crowd the pan. Cook on medium heat for about 3- 4 minutes and then gently turn the eggplants on to the other side.
- When the eggplants are cooked thoroughly, they would appear slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. There should be some residual oil in the pan , if not.. add a few drops of oil.Now add the curry leaves and second part of the filling into the pan. There should be some residual oil in the pan.
- Saute and add 2 cups of water. Mix it all together and bring it a rolling boil
- Lower the heat, add the egg plants back into the pan, cook for 15 minutes on medium heat or until the gravy thickens and eggplants are done and you see a little oil separating on top.
- I eat it with plain boiled rice.. you may chose any other carbs to go with it.