Dahiwale Achari Baingan (Aubergines in a Spicy Yogurt Gravy)

Dahiwale Achari Baingan
Dahiwale Achari Baingan

This recipe has been an eye-opener as far as the taste of “achari” dishes goes. Achar means pickle in Hindi (by extension achari is anything “pickle-y”, if there is any such word.) And I’m now officially in love with Kalonji or Nigella seeds. This is the first time I have used this spice and look forward to exploring its various facets.

Last week, we were debating what to make for dinner when my brother had this urge to eat something spicy. Given that we were in the middle of a “clean out the refrigerator”, our limitations were pretty limited. All we had was the large Brinjals (aubergines). When I suggested that we make Bharta, I was roundly and soundly rebuffed.

Given that these where Bharta Baingan, I could not make Bharli Vangi. Baigun Bhaja was discussed and discarded. Doi Sorshe Baigun did not seem to appeal either.

As I am wont to do in such trying situations, I turned to the internet and so came upon this Achari Baingan recipe by Tarla Dalal. Believe you me, this is a recipe you want to try; and as soon as possible. It is spicy, it is tangy and the gravy lends itself of a variety of vegetables. If you don’t like aubergines, substitute them with fried potatoes, paneer, or even lady finger. I will be trying other variations of this recipe soon!

Soon after I posted this recipe, I also made Achari Paneer.

Serves: 4

Time: 45 Minutes


  1. Baingan or Aubergines – 250 gms
  2. Onions – 2 Large
  3. Dahi, Curd or Yogurt – 1 Cup
  4. Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
  5. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  6. Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  7. Saunf or Fennel Seeds – 1 tsp
  8. Jeera or Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  9. Kalonji or Nigella Seeds – 1 tsp
  10. Rai or Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  11. Methi or Fenugreek Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  12. Green Chillies – 2
  13. Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
  14. Amchur or Dried Mango Powder – 1/2 tsp
  15. Hing or Asafoetida – A Large Pinch
  16. Oil – 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
  17. Salt to Taste


  1. In a large vessel, create a marinade by mixing ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp oil.
  2. Cut the aubergines into 1/2″ pieces.
  3. Mix the aubergines pieces well with the marinade.
  4. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  5. Peel and slice the onions into thin long pieces.
  6. In a wok or kadhai, heat 1 tbsp oil.
  7. Add the marinated aubergine pieces and stir-fry till the aubergine just starts to turn soft.
  8. Take out the aubergines and set aside.
  9. To the same wok, add the remaining oil.
  10. Add mustard, fennel, nigella, cumin, and fenugreek seeds.
  11. Stir-fry for a minute or till the seeds start to pop.
  12. Add the sliced onions and slit green chillies.
  13. Stir-fry till the onions are transparent.
  14. Turn off the heat.
  15. Add asafoetida, garam masala and amchur powder.
  16. Mix well.
  17. Beat the yogurt to a smooth paste.
  18. Add the yogurt to the fried onions.
  19. Mix well.
  20. Add the fried aubergine pieces and salt.
  21. Mix with a gentle hand.
  22. Serve with hot rotis.

Vankaya Kothimeera Kharam – Baby Brinjals with Coriander, Green Chilli and Ginger

Vankaya Kothimeera Kharam, Baingan-Kothmiri ki Sabzi, Baby Aubergines with Coriander, Ginger, and Green Chillies
Vankaya Kothimeera Kharam, Baingan-Kothmiri ki Sabzi

Regulars readers of this blog know that Brinjals (aka aubergines or eggplant) is amongst my favourite vegetables. Amongst the various types of brinjals, I hold baby brinjals dear. Yesterday, in the market, I not only found fresh baby brinjals but also fresh coriander. They were just calling out to me to make Vankaya Kothimeera Kharam.

This dish was a particular favourite of my late mother. So I dedicate this post to her.

Serves: 4

Time: 30 Mins


  1. Baby Brinjals – 400 gms
  2. Grated Ginger – 2 tbsp
  3. Fresh Coriander Leaves – 1 Packed Cup
  4. Green Chillies – 3 to 5
  5. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  6. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  7. Oil – 2 tbsp
  8. Salt to Taste


  1. Fill a large vessel with about a litre of water.
  2. Chop the baby brinjals in quarters along the length.
  3. Put the brinjal pieces in the water. If you do not put the brinjal pieces in water, they will turn black. 
  4. Just before you are ready to cook, drain the water from the brinjal pieces.
  5. In a wok or kadhai, heat the oil.
  6. Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  7. Add the brinjal pieces to the oil.
  8. Over medium-high heat, sauté the brinjal pieces till they soften.
  9. In the meantime, grind the fresh coriander leaves along with ginger, green chillies and turmeric.
  10. When the brinjal pieces are cooked, add salt and mix well.
  11. Add the coriander paste and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
  12. Turn off the heat and serve warm with rice or rotis.


  • Be sure to drain all the water from the brinjal, otherwise you will have a mushy vegetable on your hands.
  • You could also cut the brinjal pieces and keep adding them to the oil. If you do this (as I do), then keep mixing every time you add new pieces of brinjal.
  • To test if the brinjal pieces are cooked, try to cut through them with the ladle. If the ladle goes through, the pieces are cooked.
  • You can get the pieces to cook faster, if you cover the wok with a plate and add some water to the top of the plate.

#recipes #aubergine #indianfood

Gutti Vankaya Ulli Kharam (Baby Brinjals Stuffed with Spicy Onion-Chilli Masala)

Gutti Vankaya Ulli Kharam
Gutti Vankaya Ulli Kharam

Vankaya Ulli Kharam is one of those dishes that every Andhra household has a recipe for. Surprisingly, we never made it in our home. However, I have eaten it often at my uncle’s home and that thought brings me to the reason I made it this week.

This past week I have been overwhelmed with bouts of nostalgia; I am not sure why. May be it is the onset of summer and all the talk of vacations that is in the air. One person who was suddenly front and center in my thoughts was Pedda Peddanannagaru. That appellation deserves some explanation.

If you count my father and all his siblings, you will arrive at a number just short of a dozen; most of them brothers with a few sisters to break the monotony. Given that three of these brothers were older than my father, we needed ways to identify which uncle we were talking of. Pedannanagaru in general means father’s older brother. We used to call my father’s oldest borther Pedda Peddanannagaru (oldest Pedda Peddanannagaru).

For some reason, we were terrified of him; may be because he had a very strict demeanor. Now, for the life of me, I cannot tell you why I was scared of him! Anyway, in his later years, Pedda Peddanannagaru settled in Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh, and we visited often during Diwali.

One memory that lingers is how he always gave my aunt (Doddamma) a list of yummy dishes to make for us and top of the list was Gutti Vankaya Kharam. And that is not where it ended. Peddanannagaru would personally choose “just the right” brinjals from the vegetable vendor who would come to our doorstep on a bicycle laden with baskets of farm-fresh vegetables.

And let me not forget to mention what a wonderfully warm person my doddamma is. It is just a bonus that she is also a wonderful cook.

I am not sure of the recipe my aunt used but this is my tribute to both Peddanannagaru and Doddamma.

Time: 45 Minutes

Serves: 4


  1. Baby Brinjals – 12
  2. Onion – 1 Large
  3. Kashmiri Chillies – 2 (Optional, for the deep red colour only)
  4. Cloves – 2
  5. Cinnamon – 3/4″
  6. Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Spicy Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  8. Grated Jaggery – 1/4 tsp
  9. Thick Tamarind Pulp – 1/4 tsp
  10. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  11. Oil – 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
  12. Curry Leaves – A Few
  13. Salt to Taste

Method to Make Ulli Kharam

  1. Peel and slice the large onion.
  2. In a wok or kadai, heat 1 tbsp oil.
  3. Add the cloves and cinnamon.
  4. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the kashmiri chillies and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the sliced onion and stir-fry till the onion is transparent.
  7. Turn off the heat.
  8. Add red chilli and coriander powders.
  9. Mix well and let the onions cool.
  10. Grind the onion along with tamarind pulp, jaggery and salt into a smooth paste.
Ulli Kharam or Spicy Andhra Onion-Chilli Masala
Ulli Kharam or Spicy Andhra Onion-Chilli Masala

Method to Make Vankaya Ulli Kharam

  1. Chop 1 small onion into fine pieces.
  2. In a large vessel, take 4 cups of water and dissolve 1 tsp of salt in it.
  3. Make two vertical cuts in each baby brinjal from the top towards the stem but do not cut through and through. The brinjal must stay intact.
    Bharli Vangi - Cutting the Baby Brinjals
    Cutting the Baby Brinjals
  4. Add each cut brinjal to the salted water.
    Baby Brinjals in Water
    Baby Brinjals in Water
  5. Take each brinjal out of the water.
  6. Shake off the excess water.
  7. Stuff each brinjal with a generous amount of the ulli kharam.
  8. In a wok or kadai, heat 1 tbsp of oil.
  9. Add mustard seeds and wait till the splutter.
  10. Add curry leaves and stir-fry for a minute.
  11. Turn down the heat and place each brinjal into the oil.

    Vankaya Ulli Kharam in the Making
    Vankaya Ulli Kharam in the Making
  12. Over medium heat, let the brinjals fry lightly while turning them over at regular intervals so that all sides are evenly fried.
  13. Add about 1/2 cup of water and any left over ulli kharam.
  14. Over medium heat, cook covered till the brinjals are tender and the water has been absorbed thick.
  15. Serve hot with rice.
Vankaya Ulli Kharam
Vankaya Ulli Kharam

Vangi Bhaat (Vankaya Annam or Aubergine/Brinjal/Eggplant Rice)

Vangi Bhaat or Vankaya Annam
Vangi Bhaat or Vankaya Annam

Vangi Bhaat is one of those classic dishes that is popular at Maharashtrian weddings and religious functions. I have always loved its mild flavour and am tempted to make it every time I see small plump brinjals (vangi = brinjals in Marathi) in the market.

Adding the star anise segment is a secret that one of my Maharashtrian friends told me about and I love the fragrance that star anise lends to the dish!

Ingredients for the Vangi Bhaat Masala

  1. Red Chillies – 3 or 4
  2. Udad Dal – 2 tsp
  3. Chana Dal – 2 tsp
  4. Cinnamon – 2″ pieces
  5. Cloves – 4 or 5
  6. Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp
  7. Star Anise – 1 Segment
  8. Oil – 2 tsp

Ingredients for the Rice

  1. Rice – 1.5 Cups
  2. Small/Baby Brinjals – 8 to 10
  3. Onion – 1 Medium sized (optional)
  4. Cashew Nuts – 8 to 10
  5. Peanuts – 2 tbsp
  6. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  7. Tamarind Pulp – 1/2 tsp
  8. Jaggery – 1/4 tsp (Optional)
  9. Oil – 2 tbsp
  10. Red Chillies – 2 or 3
  11. Curry Leaves – A Few
  12. Salt to Taste

Method for Making Vangi Bhaat Masala

  1. Heat the oil.
  2. Fry udad dal and chana dal till golden brown.
  3. Add the cloves and cinnamon. Fry for a minute.
  4. Add coriander seeds, star anise segment, and red chillies. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Set aside to cool.
  6. Grind to a fine powder.

Method for Making the Vangi Bhaat

  1. Pressure cook the rice with 2.5 Cups of water.
  2. Spread on a plate to cool.
  3. Cut the brinjals into quarters.
  4. Chop the onion finely.
  5. In a kadai/wok, heat the oil.
  6. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  7. Add the split cashew nuts and peanuts.
  8. Fry for about 2 minutes or till the peanuts start to pop.
  9. Add the red chillies and fry for a minute.
  10. Add the onion and fry till it is transparent.
  11. Add the brinjal pieces and fry till cooked.
  12. Add the Vangi Bhaat masala and fry for about a minute.
  13. Add the tamarind pulp and jaggery.
  14. Cook till the jaggery melts.
  15. Add the curry leaves.
  16. Add the rice and mix well.
  17. Add salt and mix well.
  18. Serve hot with papad, vadiyalu or vadams.


  • You can add about 2 tbsp of copra or freshly grated coconut to the Vangi Bhaat masala.
  • You can add about 1/4 tsp of turmeric to the step 12 when making the rice.
  • You know the brinjal is cooked when you can cut it with the spoon or ladle.
  • You could add a splash of water in step 11 to make the brinjals cook faster.


Vankaya-Bangala Dumpa Mudda Koora (Eggplant/Aubergine with Potato) – 1

Vankaya-Bangala Dumpa Mudda Koora is a very simple and delicious bhaji that can be had both with rice and rotis.

I make many versions of this koora and here is the simplest version.

You will often find this koora being served at Andhra weddings!


  1. Vankaya/Aubergine (Large) – 1/4 Kg
  2. Potato – 1 Large
  3. Chillies – 3 or 4
  4. Rai/Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  5. Udad Dal – 1 tsp
  6. Chana Dal – 1/2 tsp
  7. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  8. Oil – 1 tbsp
  9. Salt to Taste
  10. Curry Leaves – A few


  1. Cut the aubergine into about 1.5″ cubes.
  2. Peel and dice potatoes into 1″ cubes.
  3. Pressure cook potatoes and aubergine together with enough water to cover the vegetables for about two whistles.
  4. Drain the excess water.
  5. Lightly mash the vegetables with a heavy ladle.
  6. In a kadai/wok, heat the oil.
  7. Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  8. Add the udad dal and chana dal.
  9. Fry till golden brown.
  10. Add spilt red chillies and fry for 5 secs.
  11. Add the mashed vegetables, turmeric, salt, and curry leaves.
  12. Mix well.
  13. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

If you have access to Gummidikaya Vadiyalu, fry a few and add to the koora.