Baby Brinjals, Baingan, Curry, Exotic Indian, Indian, Main Course, Rich gravy, South Indian

Fit for Royalty - Hyderabadi Baghara Baingan

Posted on 7:39 PM by

One of the strongest images of my mother, is of her in kitchen. Chopping, stirring and creating some fabulous meals. Raising three fussy kids and fulfilling their unique demands was no mean feat. Yet she did it with a panache and a smile. It was clearly written that she took pride and joy in her kitchen. 

Yet whenever the kids and the husband would have their own plans of eating elsewhere, all her passion for cooking would change gears and would just not bother. The ever standard reply to our query of 'what she would eat' would be met with the 'Oh, something of the lunch/dinner is still there, I would manage". Aah!! Moms and their 'Mother India' ways....But then as I grew and saw around, I saw this as a common trait in Indian mothers. My friend's moms, my mom-in-laws, they all are in the same mould!!

Now a fraction of that goodness might have seeped inside me too, when I feel guilty in making anything special 'just for me'. So whenever I'm alone, which is increasingly frequent, lunch negates to a maggi or tehri. I would call this more of laziness than anything else, knowing the sacrificing overtones of my mom has not left such a strong imprint on me. And this is proved, when on some other occasion, I just take a 360' degree turn and treat myself to something special.

I guess such quirks and un-predicabilities are the essence of being a woman. And this is what I tried capturing in my scribble "She's like me". Yes I added a new page for my writings in the blog and you can read that here.

Coming back to the special dinner. Well it's a delicacy from Hyderabad, India called 'Baghara Baingan", where baby brinjals are cooked in a rich and thick gravy of coconut, peanuts, cashews & sesame and tempered with spices. That's why the name "baghara baingan"; 'baghar' meaning tempering. It's a very robust gravy, full of flavours; from coconut to jaggery, from peanuts to tamarind and from sesame to five spices.

Hyderabadi Baghara Baingan Recipe

8-10 baby brinjals
2 tbsp oil

For gravy:
2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup peanuts
2 tbsp white sesame seeds
2 tbsp cashews / 2 tbsp poppy seeds (Optional)
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp tamarind paste/ amchoor powder
1/2 tbsp jaggery/brown sugar

For baghar/tempering:
1-2 tbsp ghee/oil
2 tsp paanch phoren (See note) 
Pinch of hing
2-3 dry red chillies
5-5 curry leaves
1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste


To make the gravy:
  • Heat 1-2 tbsp of oil & fry thinly sliced onions on medium-high heat, till it turns golden brown. Transfer to a tissue to absorb excess oil
  • In same oil, roast/fry coriander seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds (if using) and till lightly browned. Transfer to the grinder jar along with fried onions.
  • Now roast coconut till light in color, about 2-3 mins and transfer to the grinder. Similary roast peanuts and cashews too.
  • Mix with other ingredients of the gravy. Let them cool and then grind to a smooth paste, adding very little water 
Preparing the brinjals:
  • Wash and pat dry the baby brinjals. Make a cross at the bottom, but keeping the top intact. Can remove the stem, if desired.
  • Heat oil in pan. And shallow fry the properly dried brinjals on medium high heat for about 8-10 mins, till skin is charred and is soft from inside. Check with a fork.
  • Transfer to tissue, to remove excess oil. Set it aside.
Preparing baghar:
  • Heat  oil and add hing and paanch phoran. Let it splutter, then add dry red chillies and curry leaves. Saute for a min.
  • Then add the ginger-garlic paste till it dries up
  • Now add the peanut, coconut paste and cover the lid for 1-2 mins, so that the flavours are absorbed well
  • Open the lid and add 1/2 -1 cup water and salt and mix well. Bring the gravy to a boil. Then add the fried brinjals and cook on low heat for 5-6 mins, till all spices are well blended.
  • Serve hot with roti, paratha or rice

  • Don't get boggled by the long list of ingredients or steps. If you have the key ingredients like coconut, peanuts & sesame, its not that compliacted. Shallow fry the brinjals. Roast and grind few ingredients. Cook the paste for a while and add the brinjals. And you have a delicacy in hand. 
  • If preparing for a party or special dinner, you can make the paste a night before. And simply shallow fry the brinjals and add to the paste before serving
  • Paanch phoren is a common Indian spice mix, which works great with brinjals. You can make it at home by taking an equal mix of cumin, mustard, onion seeds, fennel and fenugreek seeds. For this recipe I sometimes avoid using fennel & that works great too. So if you just have mustard and cumin, go ahead and use that only. But do add dry red chillies and curry leaves for the right flavours.

19 comments: Leave Your Comments

  1. DDJuly 11, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    great pics and lovely curry!!this is ma fav!!i'm hayderabadi too!!!!!
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  2. KatsukhanJuly 11, 2011 at 3:39 AM

    Is there actually a difference between brinjal and eggplant or is it only a language thing? Forgive my ignorance. I am just trying to learn.

  3. SarahJuly 11, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    i love ur bowl! its just so elegant and beautiful! this dish is definitely fit for a queen :) love it!

  4. VardhiniJuly 11, 2011 at 8:18 AM

    Looks yummy .. nice presentation Anamika.

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  5. RevaJuly 11, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    Wow... dish truly fir for royalty:) Very nicely done and presented. I can c that your pics are taking a new look... Great job Dear:) Moulds are hard to break and sometimes I feel so irritated with my mom's reply which is just the same as yours... I guess their love shone through the fact that they put us in front of them... I can so relate to the "Maggi Bit"... beautifully written:)

  6. Taste JunctionJuly 11, 2011 at 8:33 AM

    @Katsukhan Great that you asked, since many people might have that confusion, due to language thing. It's the same, just called differently in different places! I guess I should mention that!!

  7. Taste JunctionJuly 11, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    @DD So nice to know that it's your fav, but I'm nr frm Hyderabad. I'm from the other city of nawabs - Lucknow!!

  8. foodiecornerJuly 11, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Hey Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving your comment.. Love your blog, lovely recipes and nice snaps..

  9. LaxmiJuly 11, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Lovely Recipe.. Bookmarked..

  10. Taste JunctionJuly 11, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    @RevaThanks dear, I guess all mommies are the same!! ANd we love them for that :)

  11. RamyaJuly 11, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Awesome clicks and flavorful curry:-)
    U r sooo right all moms r the same :-)
    I am also in same boat as u..i always rely on maggi or bread for my home alone lunches:-)

  12. sliceofmylyfeJuly 11, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Yum Yum Yum. Brinjalis my favourite vegetable. Will try it at home for sure. Better still would drop by to yours to have it sometime.

  13. Taste JunctionJuly 11, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    @Ramya I'm sure maggi will bind us forever. Glad that you liked it!!

  14. Taste JunctionJuly 11, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    @sliceofmylyfe Ha Ha 2nd option is better. Drop in!!

  15. A Spoonful of YUMM !July 11, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    hey anamika...thanks for stopping by my blog. glad to have found yours too ! happy cooking..usually i dont eat brinjal..but this recipe might do the trick ;-)

  16. Lavanya SelvarajJuly 11, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Lovely clicks... and looks yumm!

  17. kankanaJuly 13, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    Let me tell you this .. clicking baigan bhatha is really tough .. i tried .. failed .. and so I have heard from a lot of my fellow blogger .. YOu made it look appetizing! Keep rocking girl.

  18. Taste JunctionJuly 13, 2011 at 8:21 AM

    @kankana Only those who sail in the same boat know the troubles of the waves!! I always tell my husband I would rather click a cake or cookie than a curry. So tough to make the "tastes good -look sucks" type look appetizing.

  19. Priya (Yallapantula) MitharwalJuly 13, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Absolutely loving the picture and gravy :)

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