Spicy and Tangy Bharwan Baingan (Preparation Time: 40 minutes; Serves:3-4)

Whatever you call it - Eggplant, Aubergine, Brinjal or Baingan -  it is a versatile vegetable that is represented in several cuisines. It is amazing how different this vegetable tastes with a little change in spices and cooking styles.

I love eggplants...whether cooked in Indian style (hot and spicy) or  baked and grilled as an Italian dish or fire roasted in the Mediterranean dip. Always delicious!

If you are an eggplant lover, you will like this recipe for its simple ingredients and tangy and spicy taste. And yes there is a secret ingredient here which elevates this dish to the next level. Even after you've finished eating, you will long for more. And more...

Ingredients

2 tbsp oil
9-10 small eggplants
2 green chillies
2 large or 3 medium sized tomatoes, pureed
1 tsp jeera (cumin)
1/4 tsp lal mirch (red chilli) powder
1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric) powder
1/4 tsp salt or salt to taste
Finely chopped coriander or cilantro leaves 
1/8 tsp or a pinch of sugar

For the stuffing:

3 tsp dhaniya (coriander) powder
1 tsp lal mirch (red chilli) powder
1 tsp haldi (turmeric) powder
1 tsp salt or salt to taste
1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango) powder
A little bit of finely chopped coriander or cilantro 
1/2 tsp sambhar powder (this is our secret ingredient that works wonders in this dish!)

Steps:
  • Wash the eggplants/brinjals
  • Slit them in the centre in a criss-cross to divide each into 4 parts, remaining joined at the stem
  • Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing in a bowl
  • Stuff the slits with the spice mix (stuffing) using a butter knife or small spoon, slit the green chillies in half and stuff them too together with the spice mix; set the remaining spice mix aside
  • Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and allow them to splutter; then add the green chillies
  • Follow up with turmeric and chilli powder
  • Add pureed tomatoes and the remaining spice mix, salt and a pinch of sugar; saute for about two minutes
  • Add the eggplants and cover and cook on low heat until soft enough to be prick with a fork; may take 20-30 minutes (keep turning the eggplants every few minutes)
  • If the eggplants look dry in the process add 2-3 tbsp of warm water
  • Once cooked, garnish with finely chopped cilantro/coriander

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