Baghare Baingan- Biryani feels lonely without this delicacy on its side
Hyderabadi Baghare Baingan has its own unique taste and is the perfect accompaniment to the Hyderabadi Biryani. It has its roots in the cuisine imported from Tashkhant during the Mughal era, but it became the rage in Hyderabad over generations and is now synonymous with Hyderabadi cuisine.
Although a majority of people usually run as fast as they can when they hear the word brinjal, but I assure you this brinjal side dish preparation will win over even the most die-hard skeptics. No ‘daawat’, big or small is considered complete without Baghare Baingan on its menu.
The method to prepare Mirchi Ka Salan and Tamate ka Salan is also roughly the same. The same gravy base is used, but in Mirchi ka Salan, green chillies are used and in tamate ka salan, tomatoes are used. Following is a recipe of this awesome dish which will leave you licking your fingers.
Brinjal/Baingan 6-8 small, deep purple in color
Peanuts (Moog Phalli) 1/2 cup
White Poppy seeds (Khus Khus) 1 tablespoon
Dry Desiccated Coconut (Khopra) 3/4 cup
Sesame Seeds (Till) 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds (Zeera) 1 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander seeds (Dhania) 1 teaspoon
Yellow Onions – large, sliced slightly thick 4
Salt 1 tablespoon
Turmeric (Haldi) 1/4 teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder (Lal Mirchi) 2 teaspoons
Ginger garlic paste (Adrak-Laisan) 2 teaspoons
Cilantro/ Kothmir finely chopped 2 tablespoons
Thick tamarind pulp (Imli) 4 tablespoon
Curry leaves (Kariyapaak, Karripatta) A few leaves with stem
Mustard seeds (Rai) 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds (Zeera) 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds/ Methi dana 1/8 teaspoon
Nigella seeds/ Kalaunji 1/3 teaspoon
Pick out the smallest brinjals available (without seeds) for this recipe. Wash them thoroughly and keeping the stem intact cut it in four parts from the base. Apply salt on each brinjal and leave them to marinate for 10-12 minutes in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from losing color. In a deep pan (kadai), heat oil for deep frying. Drain the brinjals and deep fry them for about 10-15 minutes until they are well done and tender. Gently remove them from the pan and keep aside.
Next, heat a small frying pan at medium high heat and one by one dry roast the desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, khus khus, peanuts, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Keep in mind, they should be just a few shades darker and should not get burnt. Take them out into separate bowls. Once cool, grind them all separately in a spice grinder to a fine powder. Do not add any water while grinding. Keep aside. Dry roast the onion slices until they just start turning brown. Grind the dry roasted onions into a smooth puree. Then, heat 1/4 cup oil in a heavy bottomed pan at medium heat and put in the Baghaar (tempering) ingredients – mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin, fenugreek and nigella seeds. Let them splutter for a minute before adding the pureed onion paste and cover the pan at once with a lid for a minute. Lower the flame to medium low and shake the pan to nicely mix all the flavours from the baghaar.
Remove lid, lower the flame and add ginger garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add all the grinded dry masalas (Khopra, Khus-Khus, Til, Phalli) and stir fry it for 2-5 minutes or until the mixture starts leaving oil. Add salt, red chilli, and turmeric. Mix well and keep stirring it for a further 2 minutes. Once the raw odor of the masalas and ginger-garlic paste is gone, add the dry roasted Zeera and Dhaniya powder and chopped Kotmeer. Mix well. Pour in 3 1/2 cups warm water and the pulp of tamarind. Add the fried brinjals and stir. Cover and let it simmer for around 20-25 minutes. Keep stirring frequently so that the masala does not stick to the pan. When the oil has separated and the brinjals are tender and become a part of the masala gravy, remove from heat. Serve as an accompaniment to Biryani or Pulao. Baghare Baingan tastes equally awesome with plain rice, naan or roti.