Are you tired of serving your vegetarian guests paneer, paneer and more paneer? Do I sound like those really loud and obnoxious TV commercials trying to sell you stuff that you never ever thought you would need? I guess I do. At least when I read this out loud to myself I do. Well here's a "new" recipe which is different from the usual garam masala and cream laced tomato gravy deals. Bharli vaangi is a traditional Maharashtrian dish and it translates to stuffed brinjals or eggplants.
Ever since I've moved to Pune I've been wanting to try out the local fare and learn how to cook authentic Maharashtrian food. This recipe caught my eye on TV. It was presented by the head chef of the Taj Hotel, Mumbai. I scrambled to find my recipe note book and didn't find a pen but I managed to scribble it all down with an old worn out orange crayon. Pens are always kept safely away from my toddler (and me too I guess) who is just discovering the joy of doodling on everything. When I say everything I really mean that. His belly button, the TV screen, my driver's license the TV remote, the back of his ears, the apple symbol on his dad's computer - you name it.
Back to the recipe - this simple recipe has few ingredients and a short and straightforward cooking method. The eggplants are tender and bursting with their own juices. They are slightly hot from the goda masala, tangy from the tamarind and sweet from the jaggery. What is Goda masala? It is an authentic Maharshtrian garam masala widely used in Maharashtrain cooking. If you can't find it you can substitute with regular garam masala. Here is a excellent post from Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes where you can learn to make your own goda masala.
I loved how different this dish tasted from everything that I've made or usually eaten at buffets or parties. It's definitely going to be the surprise dish on my menu when I have guests over.
Make sure that you use fresh brinjals for this dish. Older ones tend to be bitter. I've made this with the green Thai eggplants as well as the purple ones. I preferred the purple ones.
Here's the recipe, follow it to the T and you won't go wrong. That is exactly what I did and it was super delicious. You can serve this with roti or bhakri. Bhakri is a flat bread made with jowar flour. Look out for a future post on how to make bhakri.
I was requested by one my readers to indicate the level of difficulty on the recipes that are posted on this blog. Henceforth all recipes will be categorised as easy, moderately easy and tough cookie. Have fun!
Difficulty level - easy
Cooking time - 25 mins
8 small brinjals
4 tsp of oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
a/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp tamarind water
2 tsp jaggery syrup
1 cup water
salt to taste
For the masala stuffing
6 tsp of dessicated coconut/kopra
4 tsp of roasted and crushed peanut powder
1 tsp of red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp of goda masala( you can use regular garam masala if you don't have any)
1)Make + shaped incisions on the brinjals deep enough to get the stuffing in but don't break them open.
2)Make the stuffing by mixing together all the ingredients listed under stuffing.
3)Stuff the brinjals with the stuffing and keep aside.
4)Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin and mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter gently slide in the brinjals and saute for 2 - 3 mins. Add a cup of water and lower the flame. Cover and cook for 10 -12 mins.
5)After the brinjals are fork tender add the tamarind water,jaggery syrup and salt to taste. Keep in mind that the stuffing has salt added in as well.Stir well and evenly distribute the seasoning. Remove from the flame.
6)Garnish with coconut shavings and fresh coriander. Serve hot.
Yay! you've cooked your first authentic Maharshtrian dish!