Bagara Baigan is a Hyderabadi style dish made of Eggplants/Aubergine/Baigan. The creamy sauce consists of peanuts, sesame seeds, tamarind grinded into a paste along with a whole bunch of aromatic spices and is one of those special vegetarian dishes that makes me drool anytime I think about it. Through the past few years that I spent in Hyderabad, I have fortunately been exposed to a lot of such unique and delectable andhra-style preparations like Pessarattu, Hyderabadi Biryani and so on that I sometimes crave for those dishes from some of my old fave eating spots in the city.
Health Benefits of Eggplant
- Brain Food - Nasunin, an anthocyanin phytonutrient found in skin of the eggplant, is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage.
- Rich in Phenolic Antioxidant Compounds
- Promotes cardiovascular health and free radical protection
How to Select and Store
- Choose eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size. Their skin should be smooth and shiny, and their color, whether it be purple, white or green, should be vivid. They should be free of discoloration, scars, and bruises, which usually indicate that the flesh beneath has become damaged and possibly decayed.
- The stem and cap, on either end of the eggplant, should be bright green in color. As you would with other fruits and vegetables, avoid purchasing eggplant that has been waxed.
- Although they look hardy, eggplants are actually very perishable and care should be taken in their storage. Eggplants are sensitive to both heat and cold and should ideally be stored at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Do not cut eggplant before you store it as it perishes quickly once its skin has been punctured or its inner flesh exposed.
- Place uncut and unwashed eggplant in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator crisper where it will keep for a few days. If it is too large for the crisper, do not try to force it in; this will damage the skin and cause the eggplant to spoil and decay. Instead, place it on a shelf within the refrigerator.
- If you purchase eggplant that is wrapped in plastic film, remove it as soon as possible since it will inhibit the eggplant from breathing and degrade its freshness.
Text adapted from whfood.org
500 gms - Small Eggplant (baingan / brinjal)
3 Tbsp - Sesame seeds (til), roasted (Refer Note and Tips)
3 Tbsp – Peanuts, roasted
2 Tbsp – Coconut, grated
1 small ball - Tamarind
2 Tsp - Ginger-garlic paste
2 cup – Onions, chopped
3/4 Tsp - Turmeric
1 Tsp - Coriander powder
1/2 Tsp - Cumin seeds (Jeera) powder
1/2 Tsp - Garam masala
1 Tsp – Red Chilly powder
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish
- Make 2 slits on the baby eggplants, leaving 1cm at the top. Leave the stem on. Season with salt and fry them in oil and keep them aside.
- Dry roast the Sesame seeds and Peanuts separately and keep them aside.
- Add hot water to the Tamarind, soak it for a few minutes and then take the pulp. Keep it aside
- In a blender, grind the dry roasted Peanuts and Sesame seeds along with Coconut.
- In a heavy bottomed pan, heat some oil and sauté the Onions until golden brown.
- Add the Ginger-Garlic paste and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Mix in turmeric powder, chilly powder, jeera, coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Saute well.
- Add the ground coconut, peanut and sesame seed paste. If the gravy is very thick add some water.
- Add the tamarind paste, Eggplants and cook closed for 5-10 mins.
- Garnish with Cilantro and serve with Jeera Rice / Naan / Roti
Notes and Tips
- When you make slits on the eggplant make sure that you leave at least 1cm on the top uncut so that the eggplant holds together after it has been cooked
- It is advisable that you choose eggplants of the same size so that the cooking time is uniform
- You can use black or white sesame seeds. Depending on what type of sesame seed you use the color of the curry will change.