Recipes/ Vegetables

Baghare Baingan

Baghare Baingan /

For a Hyderabadi, Baghare Baingan is many things. It’s the taste of home, a must at parties and celebrations and a dish so uniquely Hyderabadi that along with kachche gosht ki biryani, it has become a culinary symbol of the city. So this post on Baghare Baingan is my (long overdue) homage to the deliciously rich food culture of the city. 

How to choose and prepare the eggplants

The eggplant, aubergine or brinjal, or baingan (Hindi), is considered to be a humble vegetable. It comes in different sizes and colours ranging from white to different shades of green and purple. To make Baghare Baingan, the small, deep purple variety, sometimes referred to as Nagpur baingan is the perfect choice. Select medium-sized, plump eggplants that are a glossy purple without brown spots and tiny black holes (usually indicative of worms inside). Wash them thoroughly in lightly salted water, pat them dry and make 2 slits lengthwise, extending three quarters of the length, stopping 5 cms short of the stalk. This way, the eggplant is ‘open’ and can be stuffed with masala. Leave the stalk on, it looks good and makes it easy to pick up the stuffed eggplant.

Baghare Baingan /

Elevating the eggplant

What makes Baghare Baingan unique is its creamy, nutty, sweet, spicy, tangy masala. Don’t be put off by the long list of masala ingredients. The result of your efforts will be a complex flavour combination with a rich base of coconut, peanuts, poppy and white sesame seeds, infused with the earthy scents of coriander, fenugreek and cumin, a touch of heat from red-chilli powder, the sweetness of jaggery and the sourness of tamarind. You might think there’s a lot going on, well, you’re right, but the balance of flavours in this dish is its beauty. It has a rounded completeness of salty, sweet, spicy and sour that makes it finger-licking good. Your fingers may bear a hint (in a good way), of this robustly delicious dish long after you’ve polished it off.

Baghare Baingan /

Baghare Baingan

Stuffes eggplants in a creamy, sweet-tangy-spicy sauce
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Hyderabadi, Indian
Servings 6


For the masala paste

  • 2 tbsp copra or dried coconut, grated
  • 3 tsp white sesame seeds
  • tbsp raw peanuts
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tbsp chilli powder (cayenne)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 1-inch cinnamon sticks
  • Salt
  • 500 g small-medium eggplants, washed in salt water, dried and slit lengthwise, from the bottom, into quarters, leaving stem intact
  • tbsp jaggery powder or crumbled
  • tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 50 g onion, finely chopped
  • tbsp thick tamarind pulp
  • 4 tbsp gingelly oil or any other vegetable oil
  • Water as required


  • To make the masala paste, dry roast (on a low flame) the coconut, then add the peanuts, sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, mustard, poppy seeds and cinnamon, taking care not to burn them.
  • Cool the roasted spices and grind to a smooth paste along with the turmeric and chilli powders, jaggery and salt.
  • Stuff the masala into the slit eggplants and set the remaining masala aside.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan on medium heat, add the onions and cook till soft. then add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 20 secs till the raw smell disappears,
  • Add the remaining oil and place the eggplants in the pan in a single layer. Lightly brown them on all sides, turning to ensure and even colour.
  • Then mix the remaining masala with the tamarind pulp, more salt and a little (50 ml) water and pour all over the eggplants. Cover and cook for about 7-8 mins or till the vegetables are soft but not overcooked. The sauce or gravy should be thick and creamy.

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