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

Ingredients

  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

Method

  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.

Bharli Vangi | Bharleli Vangi (Maharashtrian Style Stuffed Baby Brinjals)

Bharli Vangi
Bharli Vangi

My family is quite fond of baby brinjals (known as gutti vankaya in Telugu). I make it in many different ways so as to alleviate boredom.

I have already written about Gutti Vankaya Koora or Simple Stuffed Baby Brinjals many months ago. However, it is a dry dish that is best eaten with rice and does not go very well with rotis.

Bharli Vangi or Bharleli Vangi (Stuffed Brinjals in Marathi) is a popular Maharashtrian dish that is chockful of taste because the masala used for filling uses a range of fragrant and flavorful spices, including the uniquely Maharashtrian Goda Masala.

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 30 mins

Cooking Time: 20 mins

Ingredients

  1. Baby Brinjals or Gutti Vankaya – 12
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Red Chilli Powder – 1/4 tsp
  4. Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
  5. Oil – 2 tbsp

Ingredients for Masala

  1. Peanuts – 1/2 Cup
  2. Sesame Seeds – 2 tbsp
  3. Fresh Grated Coconut – 3 tbsp
  4. Goda Masala – 1 tsp
  5. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  6. Grated Jaggery – 1 tsp
  7. Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp
  8. Tamarind Paste – 1 tbsp
  9. Salt to Taste

Method to Make the Masala

  1. Heat a wok or kadai.
  2. Over medium heat, dry roast the peanuts till they start to pop.
  3. Let them cool.
  4. Over medium heat, dry roast the sesame seeds till they start to change colour.
  5. Over medium heat, dry roast the coriander seeds for a couple of minutes.
  6. Grind all ingredients of the masala, except the tamarind paste, into a coarse powder.
  7. Take the powder into a plate.
  8. Add the tamarind paste and just enough water so that the masala is wet enough to be moulded into a ball.
The Masala for Bharli Vangi
The Masala for Bharli Vangi

Method to Make the Bharleli Vangi

  1. In a large vessel, take 4 cups of water and dissolve 1 tsp of salt in it.
  2. 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
    Bharli Vangi – Cutting the Baby Brinjals
  3. Add each cut brinjal to the salted water.

    Baby Brinjals in Water
    Baby Brinjals in Water
  4. Take each brinjal out of the water.
  5. Shake off the excess water.
  6. Stuff each brinjal with a generous amount of the masala.

    The Stuffed Baby Brinjals
    The Stuffed Baby Brinjals
  7. In a wok or kadai, heat 2 tbsp of oil.
  8. Add mustard seeds and wait till the splutter.
  9. Turn down the heat and place each brinjal into the oil.

    The Baby Brinjals in the Kadai
    The Baby Brinjals in the Kadai
  10. Over medium heat, let the brinjals fry lightly while turning them over at regular intervals so that all sides are evenly fried.
  11. Add about 1 cup of water, turmeric, red chilly powder, and any left over masala.

    Bharli Vangi - Add Water
    Bharli Vangi – Add Water
  12. Over medium heat, cook covered till the brinjals are tender and the gravy is thick.
    Bharli Vangi or Bharleli Vangi
    Bharli Vangi or Bharleli Vangi

     

  13. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

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.

Tips

  • 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!

Ingredients

  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

Method

  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.