This was fantastic. And rather like this Hyderabad cauliflower I made a while back, this dish mixes some of the standard elements of Northern Indian cuisine (a masala spice paste that includes cinnamon) with those of Southern Indian cuisine (coconut, tamarind). This recipe especially interested me because it also calls for peanuts, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds! The result: deliciousness, albeit deliciousness that didn't photograph extremely well. The texture of the eggplant was velvety, and the stuffing-paste was really interesting. The dish actually wasn't very spicy at all; you might add more cayenne with impunity. Then again, it's really good without the heat, too.
I omitted the jaggery and the curry leaves because I don't have them.
Stuffed and ready to go
Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan
6-8 small purple Eggplants
1.5 c sliced onion, divided
1/4 c peanuts
1 TB sesame seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch piece cinnamon stick
1 TB grated, dried coconut
1 inch piece ginger, grated
4-5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp tamarind extract
2 TB peanut or vegetable oil, divided
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more)
salt to taste
Instructions1. Slice open the eggplants, leaving one of the end parts intact.
2. Dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, coriander and cumin seeds, grated coconut and cinnamon stick one after the other. Allow to cool.
3. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and brown the sliced onions, about 8-10mins. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over them in the beginning to draw out their moisture.
4. Once all the dry roasted ingredients have cooled down, grind them together to a fine paste along with half the cooked onions, ginger, garlic, tumeric, tamarind extract,
5.Stuff about a teaspoon of the paste into the slits, this will need some patience 6. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a deep saucepan, sauté the curry leaves and carefully add the stuffed brinjals to the pan. They tend to splutter a lot, so I cover the pan and let them cook for about 10 mins, until they soften. Rotate them every few minutes so they cook evenly.
7. Reduce the heat a bit, add the rest of the masala paste, the other half of the cooked onions, cayenne pepper, a cup and a half of water and salt to taste.
8. Cook on medium heat until the eggplants are cooked through and the oil starts to separate from the masala and collect around the edges. Serves 4-6.