Bharli Vangi - Stuffed Eggplants
I love Eggplants in any form. I will eat them fried, mashed, roasted, in curries, as pickles or stuffed to their gills. However, my most favorite way to enjoy them is as 'Bharli Vangi'. Coconut and onion toasted together with sesame seeds and peanuts, ground to a paste ready to do the Eggplants’ bidding.
A story of apprehensive brazenness where the humble eggplant is unsure about its own deliciousness till it meets this decadent filling. Stuffed unashamedly with more filling than it can hold, it is then allowed to cook gently in a pan hoping that by the end of it, both the ingredients would have collapsed and come together in a big pile of mush.
Ridiculously easy to make, you can make the stuffing a day or two in advance and also stuff Zucchinis instead of Eggplants with this filling. Eaten with Ghee laden Rotis, this dish is a gentle reminder of how something as basic as Baingan (Eggplant) that so many people will ignore becomes a luxurious treat that one has to eat.
Make this once and you will be addicted.
Recipe: Cooking time 60 minutes
8 baby Eggplants
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 Onion, finely chopped
4 Green Chillies chopped
1 tbsp Garam masala powder
Salt, to taste
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Freshly chopped Coriander
For the filling
1/2 cup unsalted Peanuts
½ cup desiccated coconut
4 cloves Garlic
1 inch Ginger
2 tsp Jaggery crushed
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
Wash the Eggplants and wipe them dry. Slit them vertically into 4 parts, running the knife from top to bottom until the stem, without cutting the stem. Sprinkle some salt inside the slits of each eggplant and keep them aside while you get the stuffing ready.
Gently dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds with the coconut in a pan. Ensure that you keep stirring, so the coconut dries up a little. Cool this mixture and then grind it together with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under ‘filling’ using very less water. The filling should be thick and not runny. Stuff each Eggplant with the filling, around 2 tbsp each.
Heat oil in a saucepan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and chopped green chilies.
Add the chopped onions and fry till the onions are browned. Any leftover filling can also be added to the pan at this stage. If there is no filling left, sprinkle a little bit of salt, 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp Garam masala.
Gently place the stuffed eggplants over the onions. Add 1/2 cup water and keep the heat on low. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Turn them over and cook on the other side, till the eggplants are mushy.
If you find that the eggplants are sticking to the bottom of the pan or getting too dry, add a little more water so they don't burn.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve hot with rotis or chapatis.