Monday, December 17, 2012

Hyderabadi Baigan

This is a recipe that I have been making quite often (almost once a week, my husband loves it).  Hyderabadi Baigan ("Eggplant from Hyderabad, India") is an excellent side dish for any davvat and is sure to impress your Pakistani native guests.  Soft, melt-in-your-mouth eggplant in a saucy, savory mix.  It has a medium difficulty level and requires several steps to complete, however, if you are reading this blog, you will be well-equipped!  ;)  I learned this recipe while watching my mother-in-law make it and it is one of our family favorites.

I'll never forget when it was made for some family members from the Hyderabad area and they exclaimed that it tasted just like home.  This is indeed, the real deal.

To start, slice a medium onion and put it in enough vegetable/canola oil to cover the base of a large pot (about 1/2 cup).  Cook on medium/high heat until limp and slightly browned on the edges.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked onions and put them in a food processor with about a three-quarter cup of water.  Puree the onions and water into a paste and leave them there for now...

Take 6 LARGE Indian eggplants (the largest ones you can find-- size of a fist or larger!  If you can only find smaller ones, use 7 or 8) and slice a plus sign in them all the way to the stem without going through the stem.

Like this.

Then gently put the eggplants in the oil and cook on medium/high heat, rotating them on each side until they look flat/soft.  The above picture is what they look like when finished.  Remove them from the oil and set aside.

Next take a separate small pan and add 3 Tablespoons of coconut powder, 3 Tablespoons of sesame seeds, 7 fenugreek seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, 8 whole peanuts, and 8 whole almonds (I didn't have peanuts, so I just used about 12 almonds instead) and roast on medium/high heat.

Using a spatula or wooden spatula, roast the seed mix until everything is golden brown.  It will start snapping and when it looks like the above picture, you can remove the heat.

Next, put your seed mixture into a coffee grinder and grind into a fine powder (it's okay if there are some almond or peanut chunks, but try to get it as small and fine as possible).

It will look something like the above picture.

 Add your seed mixture to the onion paste in the food processor and puree (this will also chop up the peanuts or almonds better if needed).

Pour the mixture into the large pot with the oil (that was used earlier for the onions and eggplant) and add 5 curry leaves, 1 teaspoon of ginger/garlic paste, 1 teaspoon of red chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric powder.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, boil about 2 tablespoons of wet tamarind in about a cup of water.  If you are an achi bivi and can handle it, you can do this step while you're frying the onions or frying the eggplant to save time.  Once the seeds have loosened from the tamarind, you can mush them out with your hand.

Almost forgot to take a picture of all the garbage you should take out of your tamarind...  I know, it looks like guts up there, but I thought you'd want to know.  There's all kinds of weird things in tamarind that you want to get out.  My mother-in-law JUST told me, by the way, that I can use a tamarind paste that is already made...  That I didn't have to buy this thick stuff and mush out all the guts...  ...  So...  You can try that too ;).

In any case, add the good parts of your tamarind to the large pot, add about a tablespoon of salt, and cook covered for 10 minutes on medium heat.  Do a taste test at this point.  The sauce should taste spicy, salty, and like your seed mixture.  You should be able to taste all three of those things evenly.  If you can't, add a little bit of what's missing until you do.  Most of the time, with the recipe I've provided, I don't have to add anything.

 Next add your fried eggplant back into the large pot and cook covered for another 10 minutes.

Chop up some green chillis (2) and ~1/2 cup of fresh cilantro for garnish and serve with naan or paratha!

 Viola!  A lot of steps, but once you make it a regular part of your achi bivi life, it is a LOT easier.


  • 2 Tablespoons wet tamarind
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 large Indian eggplants with stems
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut powder
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 7 fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 8 almonds
  • 8 peanuts
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ginger/garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 green chillis
  • ~1/2 cup cilantro


Stardust said...

Mmm so good! This is probably the most complicated (and the most delicious) dish my mum makes (with her 30+ years of experience with Pakistani cooking), and your Hyderabadi Baigan tasted EXACTLY like hers! :D

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