Bharta To Ennegayi: 8 Indian Brinjal Dishes To Savour

The significance of baingan, or aubergine, in Indian cuisine stems from its adaptability and capacity to absorb flavours. This is a common vegetable in many Indian recipes. One of the popular favourites is the smokey roasted baingan bharta. This dish includes mashed roasted aubergine cooked with spices like chilly powder, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder.

Another well-liked recipe that involves cooking eggplant in a tasty gravy made of tomatoes is baingan masala. Dishes like stuffed baingan, aloo baingan and baingan bhaja (fried eggplant slices) are popularly eaten daily too. Baigan is a popular ingredient that gives depth and richness to many traditional Indian cuisines because of its distinct taste and texture.

Here are some baingan dishes that are popular in Indian cuisine:

1. Baingan Bharta:

A common Indian meal called baingan bharta is created with roasted and mashed eggplant, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and spices. It tastes earthy and smoky, with a hint of spiciness from red chilli powder, cumin, and coriander. To make this, roast the aubergine until blackened, then peel the skin and mash it before mixing it with the other ingredients. For a well-balanced and savoury meal, Baingan Bharta is usually served with rice, biryani, naan, or roti with a side of yoghurt and pickles.

Video credit: YouTube/ Kunal Kapur

2. Bagara Baingan:

Tender eggplants are cooked in a rich sauce prepared with peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut, tamarind, and spices including red chilli powder, cumin, and coriander in Hyderabadi cuisine's classic dish called bagara baigan. The meal has a flavour profile that is acidic, slightly spicy, and creamy and nutty. To make, sauté eggplants until they are soft, stuffing them with a mixture made of ground spices. Indian breads like roti or naan, or steamed rice, are the usual accompaniments to bagara baingan.

3. Bharwa Baingan:

Indian cuisine's Bharwa Baingan is a fragrant meal made with small eggplants filled with a hot concoction of herbs, spices, and occasionally nuts. After that, the stuffed eggplants are cooked until soft and fragrant. The filling and the aubergine itself combine to create a deliciously savoury, spicy, and somewhat sour taste that is known as Bharwa Baingan. In Indian dishes, it's typically served as a side dish with rice, roti, or paratha.

4. Beguni:

A spiced batter made of chickpea flour and deep-fried eggplant slices is called Beguni, a favourite snack in Bengal. Crispy, savoury and subtly spicy, with a touch of sweetness from the eggplant, this dish tastes great. To make, eggplant slices are deep-fried till golden and crispy after being dipped in a batter consisting of chickpea flour, turmeric, chilli powder, and other spices. In Bengali dinners, beguni is typically served as a side dish with rice and dal or with tart tamarind chutney.

5. Neem Begun:

Neem Begun is a classic Bengali dish that combines the bitter taste of neem leaves with crispy fried eggplant slices. Slices of eggplant are marinated in spices and then cooked. The fried aubergine is served with sautéed neem leaves mixed with spices. For a filling supper, neem begun is usually served with steamed rice and a side dish of dal (lentil soup).

6. Kashmiri Khatte Baingan:

A sour and spicy Brinjal dish from Kashmiri cuisine is called Khatte Baingan. The combination of tamarind, jaggery and Kashmiri spices when cooked with aubergine gives it a sour and sweet taste. It is made by sautéing aubergine until it becomes tender, along with onions, tomatoes and the spice mixture. It is usually served with naan bread or steamed rice, which allows the dish's rich flavours to accentuate the texture and subtle flavours of the rice.

7. Gutti Vankaya:

A spicy masala paste is filled inside little eggplants to make the delectable South Indian dish known as gutti vankaya. The texture of the eggplants is soft and succulent, and the taste is rich, tangy, and somewhat spicy. Cut the eggplants in half, load them with a blend of roasted spices, tamarind, coconut, and additional seasonings, and then simmer them in a rich sauce. Indian flatbreads, like roti, chapathi, poori, or naan, are commonly served with gutti vankaya.

8. Ennegayi: 

Ennegayi, also known as badanekai yennegai, is a stuffed brinjal dish popular in North Karnataka. To make ennegayi, select small, tender eggplants with purple and white patches. The magic lies in the roasted and ground spices: peanuts, sesame seeds, chillies, coriander, and cumin.

This fragrant mixture is then simmered with tamarind and water to create a tangy sauce. The small and tender eggplants are prepped with slits or slices and then filled with the masala paste. The dish simmers until the eggplants are soft, absorbing the delicious flavours. Ennegayi is typically served as a side dish for jowar rotti or bhakri but can also complement chapati and wheat-based rotis or steamed rice.