Bharli Vangi: A Spicy Lunch Dish That Will Make You Love Eggplants
Image Credit: Pixabay, Stuffed eggplants is referred to as Bharli Vangi in Marathi.

Do you like eggplants? Well, it would be a no for most quite a few. Brinjal aka eggplants are usually a summer vegetable which require a warm season to grow. However, you’ll find the juicy and chunk brinjals hanging in your vegetable basket all year round. This plant species is commonly used as a vegetable in Indian and other South-East Asian cooking but the interesting fact is that it is actually a fruit. The fruit-bearing plant gives these purple-coloured balls hanging by a stick on top. They are an absorbent fruit which take the flavours of whatever is added to them. In India, eggplants are commonly eaten as baigan ka bharta (mashed eggplants) or baigan aloo (baby eggplant and potatoes). 

While there are huge eggplants that are available, it is the baby eggplants are tossed with spices and eaten as it is. Even in Bengali culture, eggplants are a popular vegetable. They love to have begun bhaja (fried eggplants) alongside fish curry and rice as a side dish. Other Asian cultures like the Chinese also prepare a stir-fried mixture of eggplants with spices and other vegetables. The extensive use of eggplants in so many cultures is due to the benefits that it holds. It is believed that eggplants contain a lot of antioxidants and are also good for diabetes. Consuming eggplants provides the body with the right amount of fibre and helps in smoothening digestion. 

Amidst all these great beneficial properties of eggplants, we found a delectable eggplant recipe for lunch today. Have you heard of Bharli Vangi? A quintessential Maharashtrian dish, Bharli Vangi is a spicy eggplant recipe that is commonly eaten in the region. Maharashtrian cuisine is known for its hot spices and masala. One such classic masala that goes into the making of the eggplant dish is goda masala. This powder mix offers a subtle sweetness to the dish, yet keeping the pungent flavour alive. Made by grinding cumin, black cumin, white sesame, black sesame, dry coconut, coriander seeds, cinnamon and asafoetida, the coarse spice blend is prepared and added to Maharashtrian dishes. 

Bharli Vangi is one of them. For the unversed, Bharli Vangi is derived from the Marathi words, Bharli referring to stuffed and Vangi which means eggplant. The baby eggplants are stuffed with goda masala, onions and jaggery and cooked on a pan. These are a delicious lunch preparation that can be eaten with roti. To make Bharli Vangi at home, start by taking some baby eggplants and slitting them from the centre. Next, soak these slit eggplants in water mixed with salt while you make the stuffing. For the filling, roast peanuts, sesame seeds and desiccated coconut. Grind all this together with some onions, garlic and ginger. 

Once you’ve got a smooth paste, keep it aside and start by frying some onions with oil in a pan. Throw in the paste and combine well. Next, add dry spices and tomatoes and fry for a few minutes. Finally, add your slit eggplants and some salt to taste. Add water to make a semi-thick curry. Let it cook for half an hour on simmer and serve hot with a garnish of coriander leaves.