Bagara Baingan is the perfect partner for your Biryani! Made with tender/young eggplants, coconut, sesame seeds, peanuts, tamarind and spices, this curried dish is simply delicious, creamy and flavor-packed. Bagara Baingan is a traditional curried eggplant dish from the Hyderabadi Cuisine & is usually served with Hyderabadi Biryani. But it can also be served with any kind of Biryani, Pulao, plain steamed rice, flavored rice varieties like Bagara Rice, roti, Chapati or Plain Parathas.
About Bagara Baingan
The term “Baghare Baingan” loosely translates to “Eggplants cooked with a tempering”, where the term Baghar translates to Tempering & Baingan to Eggplants. As the name implies, Bagara Baingan is made by first tempering the whole spices like mustard & cumin.
Bagara Baingan has a lot of similarities with the Andhra & Telangana’s Gutti Vankaya, Karnataka’s Ennegayi, Maharashtra’s Bharli Vangi & Bharwa Baingan. The ingredients like peanuts, sesame and coconut and even most of the spices used are the same.
Whole Eggplants are slit with the stem intact & cooked in the gravy. But bagara baingan is not made with stuffed eggplants while the others are made by stuffing them. Surprisingly all these taste very different.
Telengana people also refer to this Bagara Baingan as Nune Vankaya, since brinjals are fried in oil before adding to the curry. This step of frying the eggplants make them tender and super soft, so they absorb the flavors well.
Imagine the flavors of fried eggplants cooking with spices, curry leaves, roasted peanuts, sesame, coconut and tamarind. Your house smells amazing and delicious!
Ingredients & Substitutes
Eggplants/ Brinjal: Traditionally small, young and fresh eggplants are used for this. No compromises on this! Do not use large eggplants. Your dish won’t taste the same. Purple or green eggplants are also okay. If you don’t eat eggplants, okra also known as Bhindi can be used. Follow the recipe without any modifications.
Peanuts: We roast the raw peanuts, cool them & deskin optionally before grinding. You may buy pre-roasted skinned peanuts to skip this step. Add them directly to the grinder. There is no substitute to this. If you are allergic to peanuts, you may use almonds or cashews.
Sesame Seeds: White sesame seeds are used and there is no substitute for this. Black sesame seeds won’t work here.
Tamarind: You will use dry tamarind and soak it to extract the juice. You may use store bought tamarind concentrate or paste. Indian tamarind is used here & it is sour. If you use Thai tamarind, it won’t taste the same. So add some lemon juice while serving.
Coconut: Traditionally dried coconut (copra) is used. If you do not have that you may use fresh coconut or desiccated coconut.
How to Make Bagara Baingan (Stepwise Photos)
1. On a medium heat, dry roast 2 tablespoons peanuts until golden & aromatic. Turn the flame to low and add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds to the hot pan. When they begin to splutter, switch off the stove. Add 3 tablespoons coconut and stir in the hot pan. Set aside to cool.
If using fresh coconut, toast it separately (first remove the peanuts and sesame to a plate). Toast until aromatic.
2. Cool and add them to a grinder jar. If you want you may remove the skin of the peanuts before grinding. Blend them with little water till slightly coarse or smooth to suit your taste.
3. If you want a smooth curry, grind it smooth. I do it moderately coarse. Set this aside.
4. Add 2 tablespoons tamarind & ¼ cup hot water to a bowl and soak it. When it cools down, squeeze and extract the juice. For convenience you may add more water if you want. Set this aside.
5. Wash baingan under running water. Take 2 to 3 cups water in a large bowl. Add half a teaspoon of salt. Keep the stems intact on the baingan and slit them partially from the bottom, making portions. I made 4 cuts on each brinjal. Keep them immersed in the water.
6. Traditionally these are deep fried. But you can also shallow fry like the way I did. Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons oil in a small pan. When the oil is medium hot, remove the eggplants from water (one by one) and wipe them with kitchen tissue/ cloth and add them to the hot oil. Fry them on a medium heat. Choose a small pan for frying, can use less oil.
7. Fry until the skin of brinjal looks blistered completely. This means they are almost cooked but not edible. Transfer these to an plate. Set them aside.
Make Bagara Baingan
8. Retain 2 tbsp oil in the pan and transfer the rest to a bowl. Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds.
8. When they splutter, add ¾ cup chopped onions, 1 sprig curry leaves and sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt. Fry until the onions are lightly golden.
9. Add 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes away.
10. Add ½ cup water to the pan, pour the blended peanut mixture. Add ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala, ½ to ¾ teaspoon coriander powder, 1/8 teaspoon turmeric and ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chili powder. Stir and cook on a low to medium flame.
11. Filter the tamarind juice or add paste. Stir and cook. Now you can add more salt, spice and more tamarind juice to suit your taste.
12. When the mixture begins to bubble up, add fried brinjals. Check the consistency and add more water if required.
13. Cover and cook till the brinjal wilts off and are completely cooked through. Add chopped coriander leaves.
Serve bagara baingan with biryani, pulao, bagara rice or phulka.
Immerse Eggplants in Salted Water: We immerse cut brinjals in salted water so they don’t turn bitter. If the eggplants are naturally bitter, it is said that the bitterness is drawn out by the salted water. Do not leave cut brinjals on the counter, they will impart bitter tones to the curry.
Taste Test: Sesame seeds in the shelf turn rancid fast due to seasonal changes and temperature variations. So always taste test before using them.
Peanuts: If your peanuts are not so good, I suggest removing the skin before grinding. They should be roasted well until golden and even the nut should turn light brown (not only the skin) else the gravy will have the raw peanut flavor.
Bagara Baingan Recipe for Biryani
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
To roast and blend
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoon coconut (dried/fresh/desiccated)
- 2 tablespoons tamarind or tamarind paste as needed
- ¼ cup hot water (more if required to soak the tamarind)
- 250 to 350 grams eggplants (6 to 8 small brinjals/ baingan)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¾ to 1 cup onions chopped
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (divided)
- 1 to 1½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala (adjust to taste)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon coriander powder (adjust to taste)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves fine chopped
- On a medium heat, dry roast peanuts until they begin to smell good and turn light brown.
- Reduce the heat and add sesame seeds. When they begin to splutter, turn off the heat and add coconut.
- Saute it in the hot pan till the coconut smells good. (If using fresh coconut, saute it separately until aromatic)
- Cool these and blend with little water to a coarse or smooth paste as desired. Set aside.
- To a large bowl pour 2 to 3 cups water and add half teaspoon salt. Rinse the eggplants under running water. Slit them from the base to 4 portions, keeping the stem intact. (Check the photos in the post). Add the eggplants to the water.
- Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is medium hot, take off the eggplants one at a time and wipe dry with a kitchen tissue or cloth and add to the hot oil.
- Stir and fry them until the skin looks blistered completely, meaning the brinjal is almost cooked but not completely. Remove these from oil and keep them aside.
- Transfer the hot oil to a bowl and just retain 2 tablespoons in the pan
Making hyderabadi bagara baingan
- Add cumin and mustard to the pan. When they begin to sizzle, add onions, curry leaves and sprinkle salt.
- Fry until the onions turn transparent. Next fry ginger garlic paste until the raw smell goes away.
- Pour half a cup of water to the pan.
- Add the blended peanut mixture, red chili powder, garam masala and turmeric. Stir and begin to cook on a medium flame.
- Filter the tamarind juice or paste directly to the pan and stir.
- When the gravy begins to bubble well, add the fried brinjals and stir. Add more water if needed to bring the gravy to a consistency.
- Cover and cook till the brinjal looks completely wilted or cooked through.
- Add coriander leaves. Stir and serve bagara baingan with biryani, pulao or roti.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Bagara Baingan first published in April 2015. Updated & republished in November 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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