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Bagara Baingan


BY P.S. LAKSHMI RAO
 

12 Indian eggplants
6 Cups water
1 Teaspoon salt
Wash the eggplants and make two cuts from bottom to stem, being careful not to cut through. Keep them in a bowl with six cups water and salt.

½ Teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek)
2 Tablespoons coriander seeds (dhania)
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (thil)
1 Teaspoon gasagasalu (white poppy seeds)
1 Cup raw peanuts
1 Cup water
1 Teaspoon salt
In an eight-inch frying pan, add methi seeds and fry until brown on medium low heat. Set them aside in a small bowl. In the same pan fry coriander seeds for a minute and add them into the bowl. Return the pan to the heat and fry sesame seeds until light brown. Add them into the bowl. Fry gasagasalu until they release slight aroma and add them into the bowl. Dry roast peanuts in the same pan and add. Wait until they are cold. Blend all these with one cup water and salt. Set aside.
Wash eggplants and cook in a large pan with one teaspoon salt and 4 cups water on medium high heat. Boil for three minutes or deep fry them in oil on all sides. Don’t let them cook all the way, because they have to cook in the sauce again. Remove eggplants from the water or oil and stuff half a teaspoon peanut mixture into the slits of each eggplant when they are cold. Keep them in a plate.
Spices
¼ Cup oil
½ Teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds
6 Cloves
3 One inch pieces cinnamon sticks (dalchina)
2 Bay leaves
½ Teaspoon cardamom (elaichi) seeds
1 Medium onion cut into small pieces.
2 Green chilies cut into four pieces each
2 Inch piece of fresh ginger peeled
4 Garlic cloves
Crush ginger and garlic together into paste
½ Teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
Curry leaves from two stems
½ Teaspoon red chili powder or to taste
1 Tablespoon tamarind (soak in one cup water and extract juice)
1 Cup water
Heat the same pan to the medium heat. Add oil, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, and cardamom seeds. Fry for a minute and add onions and green chilies. Fry onions until they become translucent. Add ginger garlic paste and turmeric. Fry for thirty seconds. Add curry leaves, chili powder and peanut mixture. Fry until oil comes out to the sides of the pan. Add tamarind juice and cook for a minute. Add eggplants and one cup water. Mix slowly. Cook eggplants in low heat with cover and stirring often. Making sure the sauce is not sticking to the pan. Add more water if the sauce becomes thick.
Note: Half a cup fresh or frozen coconut can be added to the peanut mixture and blend. If Chinese eggplants are used skip frying and cooking in the oil, because they cook fast. Add eggplants to the pan after stuffing and onions are fried. Cook until the eggplants are half fried with cover on and turning them over to cook on all sides. Add peanut mixture, tamarind juice, and coconut if using.
Eat with rice, any spiced rice, or rotis.

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