A Roundup of Baby Brinjal Recipes

As I looked through the recipes I have written about, I see that I have a lot that feature brinjal (aka aubergine or eggplant). My family loves brinjals of all shapes and sizes. Given that the biryani-pulao roundup I did a few days ago was well-received, I thought I would do one that features brinjals.

This post features only those recipes which use baby brinjals or gutti vankaya as call them in Telugu.

So here goes:

  • Dahiwale Achari Baingan was new for me as well and I was bowled over by the combination of spices and the spicy taste.
  • Vankaya Kothimeera Kharam uses a simple masala made from coriander, green chillies, and ginger to spice up some fried baby brinjals.
  • Vankaya Vepudu or Brinjal Stir Fry is one of the simplest dishes you can make with brinjals of any shape or size.
  • Gutti Vankaya Koora. This is a famous Andhra recipe where baby brinjals are stuffed with a special spice powder known as menthi podi that has fenugreek as the main flavour.
  • Gutti Vankaya Ulli Kharam is another popular stuffed brinjal recipe from Andhra Pradesh that uses a spicy onion-chilli masala.
  • Bharli Vangi is a famous recipe from Maharashtra that has baby brinjals cooked with a flavorful peanut-sesame-coconut masala.

I do hope you try some of the recipes. I will post another roundup of recipes that involve other kinds of brinjals soon!

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.

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.