TGIF!! Seriously, it’s been that kind of week! I am so glad to see the back of it! Such weeks shouldn’t be allowed in the beginning of the year…
Now that it is done and over with, I can turn to more important things… like Friday Fiesta 😀 Angie’s wonderful weekly soiree has now entered its second year.
While we are still recovering from the merriment of the two-week long anniversary celebrations, another Friday Fiesta is already upon us and I am so happy for the distraction and the excitement 😀
For this week’s party, I have brought something fabulous from the land of Nizams, Hyderabad. The Nizams were the Muslim rulers of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad. While Hyderabad today is a pulsing IT hub, it has, since the early 18th century been a centre of culture, attracting artists from all over the world.
Hyderabad today is the capital of 2 adjoining south-Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. This south-Indian location coupled with the centuries-old influence of the Nizams who were an off-shoot of the Mughals means that the Hyderabadi cuisine is a beautiful amalgamation of Mughlai flavors and traditional south-Indian ingredients like coconut and tamarind. Very unique and very delicious!
The divine Hyderabadi Biryani and Haleem are part of this unique legacy of the Nizams. Along with a variety of luscious kebabs. And they were pretty good at desserts too… qubani ka meetha, a gorgeous dessert made with dried apricots or double ka meetha, a decadent bread pudding like no other.
I had some lovely baby eggplants on hand and with Hyderabad on my mind, I made this gorgeous vegetarian curry that Hyderabad is famous for… Bagara Baingan!
Imagine this… baby eggplants stuffed with a delectable peanut and sesame paste, roasted and simmered in an exquisite, creamy coconut, spices and tamarind sauce. Believe me, it is a curry that tastes as good as it looks, and it does look good, doesn’t it 😀
I hope the lovely bloggers at this week’s Friday Fiesta enjoy this curry as much as we did! This week’s party is co-hosted by two amazing and prolific bloggers Sonal @simplyvegetarian777 and Josette @thebrookcook. If you haven’t been to Friday Fiesta yet, you need to join us today!! Come right over 😀
Here’s the recipe.
Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan
12 baby Eggplants
1 cup Peanuts
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
2 tablespoons desiccated Coconut
3 Green Cardamom
1 inch piece Cinnamon
1 tablespoons Coriander powder
1 teaspoon Cumin powder
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
1 inch piece Ginger, roughly chopped
3 large cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1 sprig Curry leaves
1 large Onion, chopped
1 tablespoon thick Tamarind pulp or 3 tablespoons Tamarind juice
1 lime-sized ball of Jaggery
1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons Oil
Salt to taste
A few sprigs Cilantro, to garnish
Pomegranate seeds, to garnish (optional)
Dry roast the peanuts till crisp and toasted. Keep aside.
Toast the sesame seeds till slightly brown. Keep aside.
In a pan, dry roast the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves till they release aroma.
Add the chopped ginger and garlic and roast for a couple of minutes
Add the desiccated coconut and toast till slightly browned.Set aside to cool.
Grind together the peanuts, sesame seeds and the coconut and spices mixture, along with a little water and 1/2 teaspoon salt, in a food processor, to a medium-fine paste.
Clean the eggplant. With a sharp knife, make 2 length-wise slits in each eggplant such that you split it into 4 quarters, but they are still joint together at the stem.
Stuff the eggplants with some of the prepared paste. Keep the rest of the paste aside to be used in the sauce.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan.
Add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the curry leaves and then the stuffed eggplants.
On a medium flame, cook the eggplants till they are well browned and cooked 3/4th of the way.
Turn-over a few times in between, so they cook on all sides. Take the eggplants out of the pan, onto a plate and keep aside.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same pan and add the cumin seeds.
When they sizzle, add the chopped onion and fry till golden.
Add the fenugreek seeds, turmeric powder, chilli powder and pepper.
Saute till the spices are aromatic and then add the remaining ground paste.
Cook with regular stirring for a couple of minutes.
Add the tamarind pulp or juice and the jaggery. Mix well and allow the jaggery to completely dissolve.
Check seasoning and add more salt if needed.
Add 1/2 cup water and mix well.
Then add the roasted eggplants to the gravy. Mix well, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Cook till the eggplants are soft and completely cooked.
Serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro and pomegranate seeds (if using), with rotis, chapatis or biryani.