I HATE Eggplants.
Growing up I have never touched them. I used to hate when mom made anything with eggplants. Vangi-batata tyachi bhaji ( eggplant and potatoes curry), bharli vangi (masala stuffed baby eggplants) , vangyache kaap (skillet fried crispy eggplants) , bharit (spiced roasted eggplants mash).
I used to even hate the name vangi.
I was subject to them often. As a pure vegetarian extended family, there were no meat products around. Eggplants were as “meaty” as my family went. They relished it. Just like a chicken curry or tikka on any party menu; eggplants featured on menu whenever they were in season.
Fast forward to undergrad days, my room-mates who didn’t mind eating eggplants/ possibly even loved them didn’t buy them because ” Rutu wouldn’t eat them”.
Till one weekend in Seattle, Poonam made this tangy curry called Khatte Baingan. With fried eggplant sliced simmering in a tamarind- fennel curry, I was a convert. And so was one other friend who used to hate eggplants as much as I did.
With that experience, I tried eggplants on the next trip to India. And since then I love my mom’s masala stuffed eggplants.
I don’t beg her to make them but I can have a hearty helping whenever she makes them.
I don’t have to ask her to make them often, my dad loves them so they feature quiet regularly on dinner menu at my mom’s house.On one of his Indian stores shopping trip, dad bought home eggplants and rest is a blog entry below.
Amused by my blogging efforts, my mom even measured and wrote up the recipe for me.
Here is the recipe for my ma’s famous masala stuffed eggplants. The ingredient list seems long but the recipe is simple and results in an aromatic gravy that you can sop up with naan or with some peas pulav. The purple eggplants gleam like gems in the curry and are as visually appealing as they are tasty.
The curry tastes great the next day. Luckily this is easy to make in a larger quantity and have later.
Bharli Vangi Recipe
- 1 Medium yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon peanuts coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon corriander leaves
- 4 tablespoons corriander powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons red chili powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala powder
- 4 tablespoons dessicated coconut
- 1/8 tablespoon asafoetida
- 1/2 tablespoon palm sugar or jaggery
- Salt to taste
- 8 – 10 small eggplants
- 1 1/2 tablespoon oil
- 10 curry leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon asafeotida
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 – 1 cup water
- Roast the onion on medium flame till it begins to char on the outside.
Coarsely chop the onion and then grind the onion along with all the apices listed above including the salt. This is the masala that we will stuff in the eggplants.
Make two criss- cross slits in the eggplant in the middle, almost all the way to the stem. Take care to not slice it completely. We need to create these “pockets” in eggplant to stuff the masala in.
Spoon the masala in the eggplants pockets generously. Set aside. You will probably have some extra masala.
In the meantime, heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once heated, add curry leaves , asafoetida, mustard seeds to the oil. Once they splutter add turmeric.
Add the eggplants and toss them gently so they are coated in oil.Add the remaining masala to the pan. Add water.
Cover the pan with a lid and let the eggplants cook through on medium-low heat for 10 -15 minutes till they are softened; tossing midway through to ensure even cooking.
Serve warm with roti, bhakri or pulav.