Baghara Baigan (Hyderabadi Eggplant Curry)
This dish is usually served with Biryani.
- 1 lb. Indian eggplant (8 to 10)
- ½ lb. green chilies, spicy or mild or mix of both (8 to 10)
- ½ cup raw peanuts
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup fresh shredded coconut
- 15 to 20 Curry leaves
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno or serrano chili, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 1 cup flavorless oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
- Wash eggplants and pat dry. Make an X cut on ⅓ of eggplant on stemless side, keeping the stem. Repeat the same with rest of eggplants. Wash chilies and pat dry. Keep them whole with steams, cut them in half if long.
- Heat a skillet or a cast iron pan. Add peanuts and roast then until very light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add sesame seeds and roast then for 30 seconds or until they start to pop. Immediately add coconut and roast until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Once it’s cooled, combined roasted peanut mixture, shallot, jalapeno or serrano, ginger and garlic in food processor bowl and make thick paste. Add couple of tablespoons or more water to move the contents in food processor. Set it aside.
- Dissolve tamarind paste into ¼ cup of water in a small bowl and set it aside.
- In a frying pan, heat oil on a medium high heat. Add eggplants and sauté them for 3 to 4 minutes until skin is light brown. Remove from oil and let excess oil drain on a wire rack or paper towels. Lower the heat and remove extra oil from pan, leaving about ¼ cup of oil. Reserve extra oil. Sauté green chilies in oil until they start to blister, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove chilies from oil and let excess oil drain on a wire rack or paper towels.
- Add more oil to frying pan to make about ¼ cup from reserved oil. Increase heat to medium high again. Once oil simmers add cumin and mustard seeds and let them sizzle, 30 seconds. Add curry leaves, let them crisp for 40 to 50 seconds. Be careful as they will splatter oil. Add peanut mixture paste, turmeric, garam masala and chili powder. Sauté the paste with spices for 3 to 4 minutes or until you see oil separating. Add tamarind water and stir. If gravy is too thick add some water. Season the gravy with salt. Add eggplants and submerge them in gravy. Cover the pan and let eggplants cook until soft but not mushy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover and add blistered chilies. Stir the contents and let everything cook in gravy for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Before serving garnish with cilantro. Serve with Nan and/or Biryani.