January 19, 2011

Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan, demystified

My mouth is watering at the very mention of this dish. Juicy, tender baby eggplants stuffed & dunked in a rich nutty-onion-ey gravy. What not to love in this very-popular-hyderabadi-dish. The only down-side is - its preparation and cooking time. But, for that too I have a trick for you. This recipe is a bit different than others. It makes use of a masala powder which can be ground ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Whenever you want to have some of this rich, decadent dish - pop out the masala powder, add some fried onions, turmeric & salt. Stuff the mixture into the eggplants and once they are cooked, sprinkle the rest (with some water) over them. 


Yes, it is as simple as that. Feel free to adjust the ingredients used for the masala powder - but the ones that are a must are - peanuts, sesame seeds & coconut.

It was late in the night and I was too tired to even click any pictures. Hence there are no step-by-step pictures this time. and You know what, I have a feeling there is no need of them. Have a look at the recipe & you will know why. - Just gather all the ingredients and jump right in.

If you are a hyderabadi like me, hope this dish will bring you back some of your memories from - back home. :-)

Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan

Save this recipe for those special parties where you are determined to get some Umph's and Wow's from your friends. (or) even better - treat yourself and/or your family with this decadent dish, especially when you want to buy something expensive. I am sure, after tasting this, anybody would say 'Yes' to anything you ask for. ;-)

Simplified & Adapted from my mommy's recipe. Mom, you are THE best.

Step 1 - Dry roast each of the following ingredients separately and cool them on a shallow plate. Then grind them into a fine powder (in a coffee grinder, if you have one like I did). 

1/4 cup peanuts***
2 tbsp sesame seeds***
2 tsp poppy seeds**
1 tsp coriander seeds**
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp dried coconut*** (if using frozen shredded coconut, plan to use the whole thing in one-go. It not good for refrigeration.)
1 inch cinnamon stick**
5-6 black cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns

The ones which have 3 stars (***) are a must-haves & with 2 stars (**) are good-to-have ingredients.

Store this powder in an air tight container & refrigerate. It will stay good for several weeks. Remember to use dried coconut if you want to use it later.

Now that we have our masala powder ready to go, the process is much more simple than you think.

Step 2. Wash and pat dry about 10 tender baby eggplants. Don't make slits as of now.

Step 3. Heat a tsp of oil and add 2 cups of finely chopped onions & little salt. Saute for about 8 mins on medium-low flame until golden brown. Add 1 tsp of ginger-garlic paste. Cook for 2 more mins. Remove from heat and cool down a bit.

Step 4. In a mixing bowl, add the fried onions, about 6-7 tbsp of the above masala powder, little salt, 2 tsp of tamarind pulp, 1/2 tsp of turmeric. Mix well.

Step 5. Slit the eggplants into fours. keep the stem in tact. Stuff half of the above onion-masala mixture.

Step 6. Heat a tsp of oil in a wide, shallow pan and add these stuffed eggplants. Make sure the pan is wide-enough to fit all of the eggplants in one single layer. Rotate and shake the pan occasionally so that the eggplants cook evenly, until tender - on medium flame. Cover. Let it take as long as it takes for the eggplants to cook completely. It took me about 15-20 mins. 

Step 7. Turn the flame to LOW and add the rest of the masala paste with 1.5 cups of water. Check for salt one last time. Donot use any spatula, just shake so that the eggplants are coated well. Cook on low heat until the oil start to separate at the edges. 

Ready to serve for anything - from biryani to rotis. :-)

Patience is virtue for this recipe to come out well and trust me, the end result is worth waiting for. I am sure my friends at work who got to taste it can vouch for that ;-).

Off this goes to Healing Foods: Eggplant, originally started by me & this month graciously guest hosted by dear Kavita. Hurry in your entries by Jan 31st and have a chance to win one of the two giveaways. :-)

As I said before, there are many variations of the same recipe. and the difference is mainly in the ingredients for the masala powder, in Step 1. See how Nags has prepared the same recipe, in her own ishtyle. :-)

take care and until next time,


  1. am going to try this for sure...i have been looking for hydrabadi version ...of this dish :) thxs for posting

  2. Honey, I'll take the stuffing, leave the baingan out...
    I love the nutty - spicy filing.

  3. Turmericnspice - My pleasure dear. Do try and let me know how it turned out.

    Manasi - Aye Aye m'am. ;-)

  4. looks mouthwatering as eggplant is my favorite!!
    btw Siri, what is the concept of Project 365?
    I got curious as I keep clicking lots of pics and posting in my blog. Can you pls let me know!!

  5. Sharmi - sent you an email with the info.

  6. Superb recipe. Waiting for my diamonds from my husband!!


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