Bharwa baingan is a Indian style eggplant curry made by simmering small eggplants in a spicy onion masala. Curried eggplants are a favorite with many Indians and enjoy them often with rice or roti. Bharwa baingan is a hindi term that translates to stuffed eggplants. In India, each region has their own way of cooking this dish.
Stuffed eggplant curry is made very commonly in many states but the stuffing is very much different in every region. Gutti vankaya, Badanekayi ennegayi & Ennai kathirikai are some of the popular south Indian versions made in most households.
There is another version known as Bharli vangi from Maharashtrian cuisine which is another amazing delicious curry.
Most of these dishes are made with ingredients like peanuts, chana dal, coconut, tamarind, red chilies etc. These ingredients are roasted and then blended to make the stuffing for the eggplants.
This North Indian Bharwa baingan is an entirely different version which is much easier to make as there is no roasting & blending involved. While the other dishes have a nutty & coconut taste this gravy has an hint of the north Indian masala.
In India, a lot of veggies are stuffed with spices and prepared. Apart from these stuffed eggplants, stuffed okra, stuffed capsicum & stuffed bitter gourd are also well known.
Preparation for eggplant curry
1. Heat 1½ tablespoon oil and add cumin.
2. When the cumin splutters, add onions and begin to fry stirring often.
3. Next when the onions turn golden, add in ginger garlic paste.
4. Fry the ginger garlic until it turns fragrant. Then add tomatoes.
5. Add turmeric, chilli powder, fennel powder, garam masala, coriander powder, amchur and salt.
6. Saute until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Then add the cashew powder.
If using besan, fry it first separately on a low to medium heat stirring often. When the raw smell of the besan goes off the color of the besan changes. Then turn off and use it here.
7. Quickly saute for a minute. Turn off the stove. Taste it and add more salt if needed.
How to make bharwa baingan
8. Rinse the eggplants well under running water. Slit them lengthwise and divide to 4 parts keeping the stem intact. Check them for worms. Add them to a bowl of lightly salted water.
9. Remove each baingan and stuff the prepared mixture inside and set aside.
10. Heat the same pan with another tablespoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard if desired. When they splutter add hing and the stuffed eggplants to the oil.
Saute for about 3 minutes until the color of the skin changes.
11. If you are left with any masala add that back to the pan along with ¾ cup water. Mix well.
12. Cover and cook on a low to medium heat until the egg plants are tender. Open and stir the gravy in between a few times. Add more water if needed. I added ¼ cup more water.
13. You will get this thick consistency when done. If you prefer a dry curry, then just cook it on a slightly higher flame and evaporate the moisture.
Serve bharwa baingan with rice or roti.
Tips to make bharwa baingan
- The recipe requires grating the onions & tomatoes. This add a texture to the gravy. However you can also puree them and use.
- If using onion puree, then keep the cubed onions in boiling water for a minute and remove them. Cool & puree.
- I have used cashew powder in the recipe to add a texture and taste to the eggplants. It can be replaced with almonds or roasted gram flour.
- Small eggplants are best for this curry.
Some times onions when pureed turn bitter so grating or blanching before pureeing is safer.
The curry is moderately spiced and not hot. For extra heat you can add 1 to 2 green chilies.
More North Indian recipes
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 250 grams brinjals (eggplants or baingan)
- 2½ tablespoon oil
- ¼ teaspoon cumin or jeera
- 1 pinch mustard (optional)
- 1 pinch hing
- 2 large onions grated or boiled & pureed
- 2 medium tomatoes grated or chopped or pureed
- 12 to 14 cashew nuts or almonds powdered or 2 tbsp roasted besan
- 1½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste or crushed
- 1/3 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon saunf powder (fennel powder)
- 1 to 1¼ teaspoon red chilli powder
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon amchur powder (dried mango powder) (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric or haldi
- Heat a pan with 1½ tablespoon oil. Add the cumin.
- When they splutter add the grated onions and fry until they turn golden.
- Stir in the ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes away.
- Add the grated tomatoes and sprinkle salt.
- Cook until the moisture from tomatoes reduces.
- Then add salt and all the spice powders. Saute until the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan.
- Add cashew powder and saute for a minute. Check the salt and spice. Add more salt if desired.
Making eggplant curry
- Rinse the eggplants well and slit them lengthwise to make 4 parts keeping the stem intact.
- Immediately keep them immersed in a bowl of lightly salted water.
- Remove each eggplant from the water and spoon the prepared mixture into it and set aside.
- Heat the same pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add mustard and let them crackle.
- Add hing and then transfer the prepared eggplants to the pan.
- Fry them in oil until the skin discolors stirring often for 3 mins.
- Then pour ¾ cup water and stir well. If you are left with any of the stuffing masala just add it at this stage.
- Cover and simmer on a low flame until the eggplants turn soft and tender.
- Keep stirring in between and add more water as needed. The stuffing comes out and thicken the gravy.
- When the baingan turns soft, sprinkle coriander leaves and turn off the stove.
- Serve bharwa baingan with rice 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)
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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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