This post is also available in: Hindi
Baigan isn’t the most popular vegetable. Brinjal is religiously shunned by children and several of them who never try it also dislike it as adults. But on the other end of the spectrum are Baigan lovers. From bharva baigan to baigan fry to baigan masala to baigan bharta, the dishes that this vegetable has to offer is relished as a delicacy.
The eggplant, which is also referred as Brinjal in India is said to have got its name from the saying ‘Bay gunn’ which literally means one without any positive traits. In earlier times, people may have identified that the vegetable did not have much calories and hence did not provide energy to the body. Contrary to this, Brinjal is rich in protein, iron, calcium, minerals and dietary fibre. Because it is low in calories, it is great for people who re dieting and want to lose weight in a healthy way without compromising on taste. In fact, even if you sauté eggplants with olive / mustard oil and a little salt, it makes a great nutrition addition to your food. Which is why brinjal is also a popular addition to lasagna which brings down the calorie value of the dish and gives it a healthy twist.
With baigan masala, we make the spicy Indian version of the brinjal curry. It can be a great accompaniment to roti, naan or daal chawaal. As with all Indian dishes, Baigan masala too can be tweaked to the regional taste’s liking like most Indian dishes. It will have a mustard overload in the eastern cities of India, a coconut mix gravy in south India, a generous addition of green chillies in western regions and a great flavour of red chillies in the north. You can even have the ‘Jain’ variety of the dish by choosing to omit garlic and onions.
- 5 small Brinjal or Baingan
- 3 Onions
- 2 Tomatoes
- 4 Garlic Pods
- 1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 2 Green Chillies
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 pinches Hing
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 2 tbsp White Sesame Seeds
- 2 tbsp Coconut Powder
- 2 tbsp Peanuts
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups Water
- 4-5 tbsp Oil
Dry roast the peanuts on a non-stick pan on low flame for a couple of minutes. Cool a bit and remove the skin.
Heat the same pan on low and dry roast for about 3 minutes, the peanuts, white sesame seeds and Coconut powder. Stir continuously so that they do not burn.
Remove in a mixer jar and cool it completely. Add ½ teaspoon red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt as per taste and hing. Grind it to a medium coarse powder and keep till further use.
Now, Wash the brinjals well. Using a sharp knife, put in two cross slits starting from the bottom towards the stalk without cutting all the way through.
Stuff each brinjal with the masala mixture as much as possible.
Heat up 2 tablespoons oil in a non-stick pan on low flame. Keep the brinjals for shallow frying.
Keep on changing the sides so that they get cooked all over. Remove onto the paper towels and keep aside to add to gravy later.
To make the gravy, slice up 2 onions and finely chop the third one.
Again, in a thick bottom pan or the same pan in which the brinjals were fried, add 2 tablespoons oil.
Heat on low flame. Add only the sliced onion and fry till light golden brown in color.
Take this fried onion in a mixer jar. Chop the tomatoes roughly and add to the jar. Put in the Ginger-Garlic paste and green chillies too. Blend to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
Take a pan and heat one teaspoon oil on low flame. Put the third chopped onion in the pan and saute for a minute. Add the ground paste and cook till it changes color.
Season with little salt, ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder, and garam masala powder.
Put in the brinjals. Add about 2 cups of water and cover with a lid.
Simmer till the brinjals take in the gravy flavors.
The gravy consistency can be adjusted at this stage as per preference. Check and adjust seasonings.
Shut off the flame when the brinjals look soft and well cooked. Garnish with chopped green coriander leaves.
Serve hot with any rice preparation or rotis.
Peanuts and sesame seeds give a crunch and strong flavour to the masala.
Stuff the brinjals properly and ensure to pack these completely with the masala.
If you don’t want gravy in this recipe, just cook the masala stuffed brinjals in a heavy bottom pan with 2 tablespoon oil and skip the remaining steps of the recipe.
Gravy is specially required if you intend to eat the brinjals with the rice. In north indian recipes, brinjal is generally cooked without the gravy.
Don’t move brinjals too much after adding the water, else masala will come out and mix with the gravy.
You can use this recipe with all type of brinjals, but only requirement is to take small ones as with big ones you won’t get the flavor or the masala properly.
It is best to use medium-sized fully purple brinjals for this dish. Brinjals come in many varieties including the really small ones that are light purple in colour and the really big and fat one (bharta baigan) which is almost the size of your palm and thick. It also has other varieties like the green ones and the thin, long, purple one. The brijal used for curries are generally the medium-to-small sized ones.
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