Authentic Dahi Baigana From Odisha: Simple Steps To Perfection
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Odisha, located on India's eastern coast, has a rich cultural past and a diverse cuisine rooted in tradition. Odisha, known for its vibrant festivals, rich art forms such as Pattachitra, and historic temples such as the famed Jagannath Temple in Puri, offers a tapestry of flavours influenced by both the coast and agriculture. Odia cuisine emphasizes simplicity and freshness, with a mix of spices like cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, and red chilli powder.

This Odishan  meal, Dahi Baigana where "dahi" refers to curd and "baigana" to eggplant. This dish features crispy fried eggplant slices coated in a curd sauce seasoned with mustard seeds, dried red chilies, and curry leaves. The curd provides creamy contrast to the eggplant's crunchy texture, resulting in a tasty combination of flavours. It tastes great with steamed rice or roti. To master this dish follow these simple steps to make this dish from Odia cuisine.

Preparation of Eggplant (Baigana)

To prepare this dish, start by selecting medium size firm eggplants. Slice them into rounds that are about half an inch thick. Soak eggplants in a bowl to reduce the bitterness. After 15-20 minutes, rinse the slices under running water and pat them dry gently. In a pan heat oil, shallow fry the slices, and flip to cook until they turn golden brown and crispy on both sides. Once fried, place them on paper napkins to absorb excess oil.

Prepare The Curd Mixture

Take a bowl, add curd whisk it until smooth and creamy. Now add roasted and ground cumin powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt to taste. Mix these spices thoroughly. If the curd mixture is too thick, you can add water to adjust the consistency accordingly. Adjust the spices as per your taste preferences.

Mix Dahi And Baigana

Take a wide plate and arrange the fried eggplant slices in a single layer. Make sure to leave a little space between each slice. When arranged, pour the prepared curd mixture generously over the eggplant slices. Use a spoon to spread the curd mixture evenly, ensuring that each slice is coated well.

Prepare The Chhauka

In a small tadka pan, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds (rai). Allow the mustard seeds to crackle and splutter, which releases their aroma and enhances their flavour. Add dried red chillies to the tempering oil. Stir them briefly in the hot oil. Finally, add fresh curry leaves (kadi patta) to the tempering oil. Make sure you don’t burn the tempering.

Combine The Dish

Now, carefully pour the hot tempering mixture over the curd-covered eggplant slices in the serving dish. The chhauka which is prepared with mustard seeds, dried red chillies, and curry leaves, adds a flavourful and aromatic touch to the dish. Spread the tempering evenly. Garnish the Dahi Baigana with freshly chopped coriander leaves (dhaniya) to add a burst of freshness and colour to the dish.

Source- Wikimedia Commons 


Serve And Enjoy

Once assembled and garnished, refrigerate the Dahi Baigana for at least 1-2 hours before serving. Chilling allows the flavours to meld together, enhancing the taste of the dish. Serve the chilled Dahi Baigana as a refreshing side dish or accompaniment to a main meal. It pairs beautifully with steamed rice or roti (Indian flatbread), allowing you to enjoy the creamy curd and crispy eggplant in every bite. Adjust the seasoning and garnishes according to your taste preferences.

Dahi Baigana is creamy and delicious. This Odia dish is simple to make and infused with authentic flavours. Make this tasty dish at your home, serve it with meals and enjoy this season with Odia cuisine.