Bagara Baingan (stuffed brinjal curry with peanuts and sesame seeds)

Got this delicious Porial from
Mahanandi

Small, fresh, young, blemish free brinjals – 8 to 12

Roasting for stuffing and gravy:

Chana dal and urad dal – quarter cup each
Black peppercorns and cloves – 4 to 6 each
Dried red chillies – 6 to 8
Cumin, coriander seeds & methi seeds – 1 teaspoon each
Roast them in an iron skillet till golden. Mix them with
Fresh or dried coconut – 1/2 cup
Tamarind juice and powdered jaggery – 1 tablespoon each
Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
My addition: One fistful of roasted cashews
Ginger garlic paste and roasted red onions can be added to this mix.

Make a smooth paste of all the above ingredients without adding any water. Divide it into two portions. One for stuffing the brinjals and the other portion is for making the gravy.

Stuffing:

1. Wash to clean up the wax coating on brinjals. Neatly cut and remove the stem of each brinjal.
2. Starting at opposite side of stem, make a plus (+) shaped cut towards the stem side, but not all the way through. (See the photo above, to get an idea)
3. Gently separating the brinjal petals, fill the narrow gap with the prepared paste.

Cooking:

1. In a big, wide, flat pan – heat one tablespoon of peanut oil, do the popu or tadka (toasting one teaspoon each of mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and minced garlic).
2. Arrange the brinjals – stuffing side up, neatly in rows. Cover and cook them in their own moisture for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat or until they soften. The younger the brinjals, the faster they cook.
3. Once you are sure that brinjals are tender and cooked, remove them carefully without disturbing shape onto a serving dish.
4. Pour the remaining paste that was kept aside to the pan. Mix it with half glass of water. Sprinkle in turmeric and adjust the salt, spice (red chilli), sour (tamarind) and sugar to your taste. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes on low medium heat, until the gravy thickens.
5. Now put the brinjals back into the thickened gravy. Cook for another couple of minutes.

With rice or roti, this curry is a party favorite and a crowd pleaser.

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