Bharwan Baigan - Indian Style Stuffed Aubergines

Vegetarian dishes are an integral part of South Indian food where a large part of the population is strictly vegetarian. As a direct consequence, you get loads of mouth-watering vegetarian dishes that are perfect for a hearty meal. Bharwan Baigan - Indian Style Stuffed Aubergines are a great way to twist a really simple vegetable and make it a spicy, delicious version that works well with almost everything.

Although Stuffed Aubergines are found, in different variations, all over the country, this is one of the classic ways of cooking the vegetable and giving it a bit of spicy kick!

Ingredients required for Bharwan Baigan - Indian Style Stuffed Aubergines

Here is a list of the ingredients you need to get started:

- Aubergines - 250 Grams
- Tamarind - 1 1/2 Teaspoons
- Jaggery - 1 Teaspoon
- Oil
- Coriander Leaves - For Garnish

For the Stuffing

- Freshly Grated Coconut - 1/3 Cup
- Green Chillies - 3
- Coriander Leaves - 1/4 Cup
- Cumin Seeds - 1/2 Teaspoon
- Cinnamon - 1/2 stick
- Clarified Butter
- Salt

Spices for Tempering

- Curry Leaves - 1 Sprig
- Asafoetida - 1/4 Teaspoon
- Dry Red Chilli - 1

Preparing the Ingredients for cooking

- Place two slits running down the centre of each Aubergine, lengthwise in an ‘X' shape, but be careful to only go 3/4th of the way and not cut through - the aubergines should remain intact but you should still be able to pull them apart to stuff them
- Place the tamarind in hot water and allow it to sit there - soon, you will be able to mix them and create a tangy solution

For the Stuffing

- In a blender, add the cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, green chillies, coriander leaves, clarified butter and salt, and blitz to a powder
- Add the powdered spice-mix to a ball and add clarified butter along with a tablespoon of water and combine the mixture
- Gently pull the aubergines apart and use your fingers to put the stuffing inside - do not over-fill the aubergines as it may split during the cooking process
- Cover the stuffed aubergines and place in a refrigerator until you are ready to bring them out to cook - this will help the stuffing settle inside them

Let's start cooking our Bharwan Baigan - Indian Style Stuffed Aubergines

This is a dish where you are required to temper the spices but the difference is that instead of tempering them in a separate pan, you use the same pan as the one where you will cook the aubergines.

- In a pan, add some oil on medium heat and add the curry leaves and asafoetida
- After the curry leaves start changing colour, bring out the aubergines, place them in the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high
- For the next 2 to 3-minutes, keep turning the aubergines and sear them nicely on all sides - be careful when turning them to ensure that the stuffing doesn't fall out
- Then, cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat to medium, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes - keep checking on the aubergines to make sure they don't stick to the pan
- Remove the lid and add the tamarind-water solution to the pan
- If there is any more stuffing left over, add it to the pan
- Bring the Tamarind-water to a boil, place the lid back on the pan and allow it to cook for another 10 to 12-minutes
- Then, remove the lid, lower the heat and let the aubergines roast for another 8 to 10-minutes, constantly turning them to ensure that all sides are cooked evenly to finish off the dish
- Your stuffed aubergines are ready to be served with steamed white rice or Indian breads

Stuffed Aubergines is a dish that works brilliantly with many kinds of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. As part of a meal, you can have it completely dry or leave a bit of the tamarind-water mix in there to form a tangy-gravy. Either way, it is absolutely heavenly with the tangy taste of the tamarind nicely contrasting the spice of the stuffing. A great dish for the cold of winter, you cannot go wrong with Stuffed Aubergines!

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