Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bagara Baingan (Seasoned Brinjal)

With the advent of summer, cooking, especially in the afternoon is torture. Hence I have taken to either cooking earlier in the mornings or at nights. Today was an exception -I cooked in the late afternoon since I wanted to have a "proper" dinner with phulkas, a side dish and a salad.

Of course, five minutes after lighting the gas-stove and looking like I had just come out from standing under a waterfall, I started having second thoughts. However, I cooled myself with frequent stops under the dining room fan as my bagara baingan cooked.

The recipe is heavily adapted from here.

Bagara Baingan
Brinjals floating in bagara sauce
 Ingredients (makes enough for 3):
6 small brinjals
1 medium onion
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp peanuts (skin on is ok)
1.5 tsp red chilli powder
1.5 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 cumin powder
1 gooseberry sized tamarind
Salt to taste

Method (optimized to minimize both time and vessels required):
1. Soak tamarind in 1 cup of warm water.
2. In a wide pan, dry roast peanuts and sesame seeds separately and keep aside.
3. In the same pan, add oil to coat and place on medium heat. Make plus shaped cuts on the brinjals (keeping the stem side intact so that the brinjals are still whole). Add them to the pan, toss around so the brinjals are lightly coated with oil. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook on low heat.
4. In the meantime, grind the peanuts and sesame seeds into a smooth paste with a little water.
5. Chop onions into small sized pieces. Extract the tamarind juice.
6. Check on the brinjals. They should be mostly done (meaning, when pressed the back of a spoon, the spoon should sink in fairly easily. If not, add a tablespoon of water and continue to cover and cook till done. When done, take brinjals out and keep aside.
7. In the same pan, increase heat to medium and add some more oil if insufficient (note, if you had used water in the previous step, wait for it to completely evaporate before you add in any more oil). Toss in the ginger garlic paste and stir-fry for a few seconds.
8. Toss in the onions and salt and cook till onions turn golden brown.
9. Add in the peanut-sesame paste and fry till raw smell disappears.
10. Toss in the masala powders and stir fry for a few seconds.
11. Add in the extracted tamarind juice and 1 cup of water. Mix well.
12. Add in the brinjals gently (so they don't break).
13. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes.
14. Adjust for salt and garnish with coriander leaves.
15. Let rest for atleast 10 minutes and serve hot with rotis or rice.

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