Baghar or Beghar meaning fried and Baigan meaning eggplant is a popular dish from Hyderabad, India. Popularly eaten with Biryani, a flavorful, spiced rice dish but can also be eaten with flatbread or as a side sauce.
This dish is a great vegan friendly dish, full of flavor due to the nuts, seeds and coconut components and is also gluten free.
3 Japanese (long) or 6 Small Eggplant
1/2 Cup Oil
Cut 2 slits like a plus sign down to the stem of your washed and dried eggplant, making sure not to cut the stem so it can still hold its shape. If using long, skinny Japanese eggplant cut them in 3 equal pieces each and then cut the same plus sign slits leaving some room on one end of the eggplant to hold its shape.
Then fry in oil on all sides until tender soft.
You may roast them in the oven on 400'F for a healthier alternative for about 20 to 30 minutes until tender with a drizzle of olive oil.
**If roasting in oven be sure to add extra oil to gravy.
1/2 Large Red Onion
1 heaped Tbsp Garlic/Ginger Paste
2 sm Green Chilies
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
Grind together your red onion, garlic/ginger paste and green chilies. Use a little oil to help get the mixture going. Once ground, add to a pot with cumin seeds and sauté until the mixture becomes a little translucent and the aroma of garlic comes through.
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
2 tbsp Raw Peanuts or Peanut Butter
2 tbsp Dry Coconut Flakes
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Poppy Seeds (optional)
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1/2 Black peppercorns
2 Black cardamoms
1 Cinnamon Stick
Grind together all your spices and nuts. If using peanut butter do not grind with spices, just keep it aside separately. Once all the spices are ground together, add them to the onion mixture along with the peanut butter if not using the fresh raw peanuts. Add 1/4 cup of water and mix and cook until oil slightly rises to the top (about 3 to 5 minutes).
Now add in your fried eggplant along with the oil. Gently give your eggplant a stir/flip to coat them with all the masala. Put heat on low and steam to heat it all through for about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and freshly squeezed lemon juice if desired. Enjoy!
**Almond Butter may be substituted if peanut allergy
**Justin's Individual PB or Almond Butter work great if you don't want to buy a whole jar of nut butter.
**Sesame Seeds and Poppy Seeds may be substituted with Raw Cashews if seed allergy.
Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice.
**Traditionally some also add a little tamarind for tartness but I feel lemon juice does the job for me.