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Baghare Baingan

Cookbook

How to Cook Indian

Published by Stewart, Tabori and Chang

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This famous Hyderabadi dish features a delicate interplay of different nuts and seeds. I like to serve it at parties because even though it takes some effort to prepare, it is always well appreciated. The sweet and sour notes added at the end tickle the palate. Serve with any Indian bread.

NotesKalonji (nigella) is available in Indian grocery stores and is sometimes called onion seeds.

Serves4

Cooking Methodfrying, sauteeing

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseside dish, vegetable

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, soy free, vegan, vegetarian

Equipmentfood processor

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecreamy, spiced

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces (250 grams) small purple eggplants
  • ¼ cup (50 ml) plus 1 quart (800 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced
  • 1½ tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts
  • ¾ teaspoon white poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried grated coconut
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon kalonji (nigella, see Notes)
  • Pinch of fenugreek seeds
  • 10 to 12 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh green chile paste
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground roasted cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red chile powder
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • ½ teaspoon grated cane jaggery

Instructions

  1. Wash the eggplants and make deep slits (all the way through) along the length, taking care that the stem ends remain intact.

  2. Place a nonstick wok over high heat and add 1 quart (800 ml) oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the wok, slide in the eggplants and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

  3. Add the onions to the hot oil and cook until golden. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

  4. Place a medium nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Let it heat for 2 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and dry-roast until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool. Dry-roast the peanuts, poppy seeds, and coconut separately and set aside to cool.

  5. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a mini food processor with ½ cup (100 ml) water and process to a fine paste.

  6. Place a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add ¼ cup (50 ml) oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel, kalonji, and fenugreek, and sauté until lightly browned. Add the curry leaves, ginger paste, garlic paste, and green chile paste. Cook until the oil comes to the top. Add the fried onions, turmeric, coriander, ground cumin, chile powder, and salt, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

  7. Add the tamarind and jaggery, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the coconut paste and cook until the oil comes to the top. Lower the heat to low, add 1 cup (200 ml) water, and bring to a boil. Add the fried eggplants and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

  8. Serve hot.

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