Also known as Baghaar-e Baingan, Baghare Baingan is a rare culinary gem from Hyderabadi cuisine that can turn any dinner into a royal affair. Prepared with small eggplants cooked in a rich, spiced gravy, this dish is a beautiful addition to any meal, even when served on the side of biryanis!
Baghaar—the word may sound unfamiliar but every Indian cook is intimately familiar with what it means and its value. In case you didn’t know, Baghaar means tempering, the technique we Indians use to cook everything from dhokla and poha to vegetable curries and mutton biryanis! Despite being such a common cooking technique, there is perhaps only one dish in the entire Indian subcontinent that proudly carries the name of its royal tempering. Baghare Baingan, also known as Baghaar-e Baingan, is a rare culinary gem from Hyderabadi cuisine that can turn any dinner into a royal affair.
While the exact origin of Baghare Baingan is not known, many experts believe that the dish originated in Mughal kitchens. Later, the dish became even more popular in the kitchens of the Nizam of Hyderabad, and soon enough, people across the region fell in love with it because of its royal appeal. The gravy, after all, has heavy Mughal influences and will remind anybody of rich Kormas—except for the fact that meat has been substituted with eggplants, making it a vegetarian dish which holds an iconic position. In fact, Baghare Baingan is so influential and popular as a dish that Hyderabadis even enjoy it on the side of their amazing biryanis!
Whether you are vegetarian or not, Baghare Baingan is therefore a must have dish. If you are looking for a dish to alleviate your mood while keeping the mid-week blues away, then this is the dish to go for. Here’s the recipe. Give it a try and be prepared to fall in love.
250 g small brinjals
4 tbsp oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
1.5 cups water
Salt, to taste
Coriander leaves, to garnish
For the curry paste:-
3-4 garlic cloves
1 small ginger
2 tbsp coconut
2 tbsp raw peanuts
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
½ tsp black peppercorns
½ tsp caraway seeds
1 black cardamom
2-3 green chillies
½ tsp tamarind paste
Water, as required
1. To make the Baghare Baingan curry paste, dry roast the cumin, coriander, caraway, sesame and poppy seeds along with the peanuts, black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf and coconut pieces.
2. Once the spices release their aroma, switch off the flame and let them cool down.
3. Transfer the spices into a blender jar, add onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies and tamarind paste.
4. Add a bit of water and grind everything into a fine paste.
5. Now, take the small eggplants and make two crossed slits on each. You can also cut the eggplants in half to shorten the cooking time.
6. Heat oil in a pan, then add the eggplants. Fry them until they are golden brown, then remove and set aside.
7. Add some more oil if needed, then add the tempering of cumin seeds.
8. Once these stop spluttering, add the curry paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt.
9. Mix well and continue to stir until the paste is cooked and releases its oils.
10. Add the eggplants and give everything a good mix.
11. Now, add the water and cover to cook the Baghare Baingan until done.
12. Sprinkle coriander leaves and serve the Baghare Baingan hot.