Stuffed Eggplant( Brinjal or Aubergine) or Bharwan Baingan

Even the hardcore non-vegetarians will plead for more of this vegetarian delicacy, it's Yummalicious!

This vegetable ooops I just found that eggplant is actually a fruit but treated as a vegetable. Yay, I learned something new today. This fruit is known in different names: Eggplant in Europe and the US, Brinjal in India, Aubergine or Melangene. It's also found in different shape, size and color: light purple, dark purple or white. I haven't tasted the white eggplants yet, but the light purple and the dark purple varieties taste almost the same. In India small light purple varieties are common, but in the US dark purple large eggplants are common and I have even seen long skinny purple varieties in some Asian markets.

I love the soft and mushy constituency of the cooked eggplants. I often grill eggplants, make eggplant rice, often make Kerala style eggplant in coconut curry sauce. Besides these, I haven't tried anything fancy with them. I was aware that I could make stuffed eggplants, but somehow I kept delaying it. Last weekend, I saw small baby eggplants in an Indian store and couldn't resist buying them. Making stuffed eggplants had been in my mind ever since I bought them and I finally made it for dinner tonight.

While searching for stuffed eggplant recipes, I bumped into many websites and food blog which has the step-by-step recipe for cooking stuffed eggplant. Among them, I loved the recipe and the beautiful demonstration given in choosy-beggars.com, the incredible food blog by Tina and Mike. I made a few changes in the amount of the ingredients used and also added an extra seasoning at the end.

One thing I can say without a second thought is that even the die hard meat eaters would fall for this vegetarian delicacy. It was aromatic, the thick gravy tasted delicious along with the eggplants.

This is an authentic Maharashtrian dish.

Stuffed Eggplants or Bharwan Baingan( Authentic Maharashtrian dish)

Ingredients:

  • Baby eggplants or brinjal, whole- 10-12

For making the Paste:

  • Oil- 2tbsp for sauteing onion+2tbsp while cooking eggplants
  • Cumin seeds- 1tsp
  • Fennel seeds- 1tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds- 1tsp
  • Onion, diced small- 1
  • Garlic, minced- 1tsp
  • Ginger, minced-1 tsp
  • Crushed red pepper flakes- 1 tsp
  • Dried Fenugreek leaves or kasuri Methi- 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind paste- 2tbsp
  • Coconut grated, fresh or frozen- 3/4 cup
  • Brown sugar or Jaggery- 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder- 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Chili powder- 2 tsp or depending upon your spice.
  • Garam masala- 1tsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Water- 2 cups + 3 tbsp
  • Cilantro, chopped- 1 handful

Instruction:

Tamarind Paste:


  • If using fresh tamarind, soak golf ball size tamarind in 4 tbsp warm water and squeeze it using your fingers till all the juice comes out of the tamarind, strain the juice and keep  aside.

How to make slits on the eggplants:

  • Wash the eggplants under running water and pat dry it.

  • Gently trim the green leaves near the stem, keeping the stalk of the stem in place.

  • Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the eggplant vertically from the side opposite to the stem until you are about 1/4 inch from the stem.

  • Make a cut on the other side too, so that there are 4 slits on the eggplant.
  • Be careful not to cut the stem, so that the eggplant will stay in place without falling apart.

Preparation of the stuffing:

  • Heat a pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp oil.
  • Add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds and saute till it starts to turn golden brown (don't burn them).
  • Add onion, and little salt and saute till onion turns tender.

  • To the onion, add ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, dried fenugreek leaves and saute till everything turns light golden brown.

  • Remove from the flame and let cool down.

Making the paste:

  • In a food processor, grind together grated coconut, brown sugar or jaggery, coriander powder, turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala, tamarind paste and the sauteed onion along with 3 to 4 tbsp of water to a thick smooth paste.

How to stuff the eggplants:

  • Gently, stuff the paste into the slit made on the eggplants.

  • While, stuffing open the slits gently with fingers so that the stuffing goes inside and remains intact.
  • Don't open it too wide as it might break apart.
  • After stuffing the eggplants, there will be still paste remaining.
  • Combine the remaining paste with 2 cups of water and stir well.

Preparation of stuffed eggplant:

  • Heat a wide non-stick pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp oil.
  • Place the stuffed eggplants on the oil without crowding them.

  • Let the eggplants sizzle for 30 seconds, flip to the other side and let that side sizzle.
  • When the skin of the eggplants turn light brown, pour the paste mixed with water and little salt over the eggplants.

  • Cook the eggplants after covering the pan with its lid for about 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and combine everything gently and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.

  • At this point, you could pour the thick gravy over the eggplants periodically as it cooks.
  • Cook till the eggplants turn tender and soft.
  • Garnish with cilantro and combine it.

  • Let the gravy thicken and turn slightly browned.

  • Remove from the flame and keep aside covered.

Seasoning the stuffed eggplants( Optional)

  • At the end I added a seasoning to the cooked stuffed eggplants. You could avoid this step if you want. This seasoning will give nice aroma and extra flavor to this dish.

Ingredients:

  • Mustard seeds- 1tsp
  • Whole dry red chili- 2
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Oil- 1tbsp

Instruction:

  • Heat a small pan, add oil.
  • Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add whole dry red chilies and curry leaves and saute for less than a second.

  • Immediately, pour this on to the cooked stuffed eggplant.

  • Cover the dish and let stand for 10 minutes so that the flavor gets into the eggplants.
  • Serve this with plain rice, naan or chapathis.

Note: I used light brown sugar that might be the reason why my gravy has a light color. If you use jagerry or brown sugar your gravy would have a dark brown color.

 

Stuffed Eggplant( Brinjal or Aubergine) or Bharvaan Baingan
 
Ingredients
  • Baby eggplants or brinjal, whole- 10-12
For making the Paste
  • Oil- 2tbsp for sauteing onion+2tbsp while cooking eggplants
  • Cumin seeds- 1tsp
  • Fennel seeds- 1tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds- 1tsp
  • Onion, diced small- 1
  • Garlic, minced- 1tsp
  • Ginger, minced-1 tsp
  • Crushed red pepper flakes- 1 tsp
  • Dried Fenugreek leaves or kasuri Methi- 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind paste- 2tbsp
  • Coconut grated, fresh or frozen- ¾ cup
  • Brown sugar or jaggery- 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder- 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  • Chili powder- 2 tsp or depending upon your spice.
  • Garam masala- 1tsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Water- 2 cups + 3 tbsp
  • Cilantro, chopped- 1 handful
For Seasoning
  • Mustard seeds- 1tsp
  • Whole dry red chili- 2
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Oil- 1tbsp
Instructions
Tamarind Paste
  1. If using fresh tamarind, soak golf size tamarind in 3-4 tbsp warm water and squeeze it using your fingers till all the juice comes out of the tamarind, strain the juice and keep aside.
How to make slits on the eggplants
  1. Wash the eggplants under running water and pat dry it.
  2. Gently trim the green leaves near the stem, keeping the stalk of the stem in place.
  3. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the eggplant vertically from the side opposite to the stem until you are about ¼ inch from the stem.
  4. Make a cut on the other side too, so that there are 4 slits on the eggplant.
  5. Be careful not to cut the stem, so that the eggplant will stay in place without falling apart.
Preparation of the stuffing
  1. Heat a pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp oil.
  2. Add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds and saute till it starts to turn golden brown (don't burn them).
  3. Add onion, and little salt and saute till onion turns tender.
  4. To the onion, add ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, dried fenugreek leaves and saute till everything turns light golden brown.
  5. Remove from the flame and let cool down.
Making the paste
  1. In a food processor, grind together grated coconut, brown sugar or jaggery, coriander powder, turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala, tamarind paste and the sautéed onion along with 3 to 4 tbsp of water to a thick smooth paste.
How to stuff the eggplants
  1. Gently, stuff the paste into the slit made on the eggplants.
  2. While, stuffing open the slits gently with fingers so that the stuffing goes inside and remains intact.
  3. Don't open it too wide as it might break apart.
  4. After stuffing the eggplants, there will be still paste remaining.
  5. Combine the remaining paste with 2 cups of water and stir well.
Preparation of stuffed eggplant
  1. Heat a wide non-stick pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp oil.
  2. Place the stuffed eggplants on the oil without crowding them.
  3. Let the eggplants sizzle for 30 seconds, flip to the other side and let that side sizzle.
  4. When the skin of the eggplants turn light brown, pour the paste mixed with water and little salt over the eggplants.
  5. Cook the eggplants after covering the pan with its lid for about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and combine everything gently and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  7. At this point, you could pour the thick gravy over the eggplants periodically as it cooks.
  8. Cook till the eggplants turn tender and soft.
  9. Garnish with cilantro and combine it.
  10. Let the gravy thicken and turn slightly browned.
  11. Remove from the flame and keep aside covered.
Seasoning the stuffed eggplants( Optional)
  1. At the end I added a seasoning to the cooked stuffed eggplants. You could avoid this step if you want. This seasoning will give nice aroma and extra flavor to this dish.
  2. Heat a small pan, add oil.
  3. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  4. Add whole dry red chilies and curry leaves and saute for less than a second.
  5. Immediately, pour this on to the cooked stuffed eggplant.
  6. Cover the dish and let stand for 10 minutes so that the flavor gets into the eggplants.
  7. Serve this with plain rice, naan or chapathis.
Notes
I used light brown sugar that might be the reason why my gravy has a light color. If you use jagerry or brown sugar your gravy would have a dark brown color.