Bagara Baingan / Vankaya Masala / Brinjal (eggplant) cooked in Spicy Gravy | TummyKhush


The best things in life happen in the least unplanned manner. That is how this recipe was born. The very fact that this blogpost doesn’t have many pictures proves the point. The husband bought very cute,tiny,round brinjals from the farmer’s market and wanted me to make bagara baingan. (It is one of his top favourites curries by the way). So after putting off making the recipe for almost a week, I decided enough is enough let me make it. I referred online for the recipe (my constant source of information of all types) and decided almost all the recipes were too complicated. So I just washed the brinjals and started frying them and decided to go with the flow and followed my instincts.And it was a hit. That’s when I decided to share it with you guys. This dish is a labour of love. So without further talking, let me go to the recipe.

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Here are the ingredients I used to make this recipe.

Brinjals – 1/2 kg
Peanuts – 1/2 cup
White sesame seeds (thella nuvvulu) – 3 to 4 tsp


Bengal gram dal/senaga pappu/chana dal – 2tsp
Urad dal/minappa pappu – 2 tsp
Jeera/cumin seeds/jeelakarra – 1 tsp
Red chillies – few as per taste
Coriander seeds/dhaniyalu – 3 to 4 tsp
Onions – 2 medium finely chopped
Green chillies- 3 to 4 finely chopped
Tomatoes- 2 finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Turmeric – a small pinch
Red chilli powder – optional to taste
Kitchen king masala/garam masala – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Dry masalas like cinnamon, cardamom pod, black pepper, cloves – as per availability and personal preference. I added just a couple of each since we are low on spice.
Oil- for shallow frying the brinjals and for frying the spices
Tamarind juice – 1 tbsp or adjust according to taste and consistency of your juice

Prepare the brinjals by making criss cross slits in the brinjal on the lower part while making sure that the top doesn’t get seperated. This will retain the integrity of the brinjal while making sure it is properly cooked.
Heat 1/2 a cup of vegetable oil in a deep bottomed non stick pan. After the oil in sufficiently warm, add the prepared brinjals one by one into the oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, as we need all the brinjals to fry evenly. I fried the brinjals in two batches. Keep the heat on medium and keep turning the brinjals with a fork or tongs. All the sides need to brown evenly. This ensures proper cooking. Don’t brown the brinjals completely. We just need them to be half cooked as we will continue cooking them in the gravy later.

While the brinjals are frying up, heat another pan for dry roasting the peanuts and the sesame seeds. Fry the peanuts and once they are almost done, add the sesame seeds too. Sesame seeds fry very quickly. So you need to be careful once you have added the sesame seeds. Once they are done, place them in a mixie/blender jar and allow them to cool down.
Also dry roast the dry masalas. Place the the mixie/blender jar to cool them down.
In the same pan, warm the oil and add the channa dal and udad dal. Allow them to brown slightly. Add the coriander seeds,cumin seeds and fry for a minute. When the coriander seeds change colour and start giving out the aroma, add the dry red chillies and fry for a minute. Remove from the stove and allow to cool down. Add this to the mixie/blender and once everything cools down make it into a powder. This will form a part of the gravy.

Heat up oil in the non stick pan. You can use the oil left over after frying the brinjals. To this, add chopped onions. Once they brown slightly, add the green chillies and ginger garlic paste. Once the raw flavour disappears, add the finely chopped tomatoes and allow them to soften.

Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, kitchen king masala/garam masala, salt and other powdered masala that you would like to add. Mix well
To this add the powder that has been made in the blender. Allow everything to cook. The oil should leave the sides of the pan which is a sign that it has cooked well.
Add the tamarind juice and some curd (optional) and continue cooking. You could also add some cream if you are feeling indulgent.

Add a cup of water to the cooked gravy and mix well. Now carefully add the fried egg plants one by one. Mix carefully to maintain the integrity of the eggplants. Bring to a rolling boil, lower the flame and continue to cook till you are ready to serve. The more time you slow cook this, the better it tastes. This curry enhances it flavour overtime. So if there are leftovers, don’t fret. Tough I am sure there won’t be any leftovers!!

You cans serve this rice with masala rice, chapatis, puris, jeera rice or plain rice.

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