Bagara Baingan (Whole baby eggplant curry)

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I’ve been in a bit of a cooking funk lately and have been feeling a little uninspired in the kitchen. I figured the best way to shake it off is to cook up recipes I would normally never be interested in. One of those recipes is Bagara Baingan. It just seemed like too much work for 6 little eggplants. 

Well, I’m happy to report that I did try it and it was fantastic. I can’t wait to make it again actually. The curry tastes even better the next day, so this is a good one for a dinner party.

You’ll need (whole garam masala):

  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 mace
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise

You’ll need (to make into a paste):

  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • Oil for frying
  • Water

You’ll also need:

  • 6 or 7 baby eggplants (score an ‘x’ into the bottom of each eggplant)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 red teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (remove stalk)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 green chilli (slit lengthwise)
  • 8 small onions or 1 medium onion (peeled and sliced finely)
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Heat a little oil in a pan and fry peanuts and sesame seeds until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from oil and blend with a little water into a smooth paste.

Heat more oil in a pot and fry whole eggplants until brown on all sides and 3/4 cooked.

Pour out all the oil until you have only about 2 tablespoons left. Add whole garam masala and fry until fragrant. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Add curry leaves, green chilli and onions and a pinch of salt. Fry until onions are soft. Add ginger garlic paste.

Add coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coconut milk powder and peanut and sesame paste. Stir well. Add tamarind paste and sugar. Add eggplants and enough water to cover eggplants.

Do not cover, allow curry to simmer at a very low flame until gravy thickens, eggplants are soft and oil rises to the surface. Salt to taste. Serve hot with rice. Enjoy!

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