Authentic Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan Recipe | Baghare Baingan | Baghaar-E-Baingan
Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by Santosh Allada
Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan Recipe is a rich, flavorful, and delicious eggplant curry from Hyderabadi cuisine. Learn to make authentic Hyderabadi bagara baingan with step-by-step pics and tips. It is a scrumptious eggplant curry that goes well with biryani, pulao, or any Indian flatbread.
I have already shared a function-style baingan masala recipe. Today’s post is yet another one of my favorites.
This special recipe is for eggplant lovers. And, also for those who completely hate it.
What is Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan?
Bagara refers to tempering the oil with spices and baingan is the Hindi term for brinjal, aubergines, or eggplant. So the name Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan simplifies to Hyderabadi style tempered brinjals.
Bagara Baingan is a popular brinjal curry from the Hyderabadi cuisine. What makes this brinjal curry special is the native cooking style of the Hyderabadi Muslims.
It is also a reason the brinjal curry is called Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan. The spices and masalas used in the base gravy differ significantly from onion and tomato-based masala which is common in most Indian curries.
It is also known as Baghare Baingan, Baghaar-E-Baingan, Hyderabadi khatte baingan, and Baingan ka Salan in Hyderabadi cuisine.
The rich and creamy gravy with complex flavors makes it a popular dish for Hyderabadi weddings, functions, and feasts. This Hyderabadi-style brinjal gravy is one of the most frequently served side dishes along with biryani, bagara rice, or rumali roti.
There are two versions of Bagara Baingan;
1. Made with green chilies (added to masala paste) and does not use red chili powder.
2. Made with red chili powder.
Difference between Gutti Vankaya and Bagara Baingan?
Both delicacies are popular in Andhra Pradesh state. The masala base for both these curries is almost similar, with very subtle differences in ingredients.
Gutti Vankaya is a popular Telugu dish that is made using baby eggplants. Whereas, Bagara Baingan is a popular dish from the Hyderabad Muslim community.
Gutti Vankaya translates to stuffed brinjals and Bagara Baingan translates to tempered brinjals.
So, the key difference is that in gutti vankaya, the masala paste (thick or dry) is stuffed in the + slit eggplants. Whereas in Bagara Baingan, the slit brinjals are shallow fried in oil, next the masala is cooked separately and then the fried eggplants are simmered in it.
Another difference is that the tempering for Bagara Baingan has nigella seeds (kalonji). Whereas, it is not added in Gutti Vankaya.
About Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan Recipe
While India has multi-cuisines, each state also has different cuisine depending on the region. In South India, one such state is Andhra Pradesh. It has Andhra cuisine and Hyderabadi cuisine and they differ from each other.
Hyderabadi cuisine is an amalgamation of Mughal, Turkish, and Arabic along with the influence of the native Telugu and Marathwada cuisines. The use of roasted khuskhus or poppy seeds, peanuts, coconut, and sesame seeds is seen as widely used providing a nutty texture to the vegetarian and meat gravy.
There are many different bagara baingan recipes with slight variations. I have tried many versions and finally settled on this one because of its amazing taste and perfect texture.
In this Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan Recipe, firstly, baby eggplants are shallow fried in oil until they are semi-cooked. Then a base gravy is made with a few characteristic ingredients – tempering ingredients, spices, a unique masala paste, powdered spices, tamarind, ginger, and garlic. The shallow fried eggplants are simmered in the gravy until they become soft and the curry has thickened.
The result is mouth-melting brinjals in a thick gravy that are appealing to the eyes and treat to the taste buds.
The masala paste is made by roasting peanuts, dry coconut, sesame seeds, whole spices, coriander seeds, and cumin. Sometimes poppy seeds are added as well. I prefer to add ginger and garlic as fresh ingredients add a lot of flavors. I also like to add fried onions which give the curry a silky smooth texture.
You will also notice that I added whole spices to the masala paste. It is because I really want to infuse the gravy with those strong flavors.
Although this dish has a long list of spices, the taste is not fiery. The quantity of spices is very less allowing wonderful subtle flavors shine through alongside the gorgeous eggplants.
The special blend of roasted ingredients is the secret ingredient that gives the curry its signature texture. Also, the ingredients – peanuts, coconut, and sesame seeds release oil naturally in the gravy. In the pictures, you can see a thin layer of oil floating on the top.
This special brinjal curry does not need any cashews or dairy products for any extra richness.
The Hyderabadi bagara baingan has a unique flavor profile that makes this dish so scrumptious – spiciness from whole spices and powdered spices, tanginess from the tamarind, a hint of sweetness from fried onions, richness, nutty flavor, and creaminess of peanut-coconut-sesame seeds paste.
The Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan recipe has 4 steps;
1. Make the masala paste – dry roast the ingredients and blend them into a paste.
2. Slit and shallow fry the brinjals.
3. Make the base gravy.
4. Simmer the shallow fried brinjals in the base gravy.
Once the dish is ready, each melt-in-mouth aubergine is coated with a thick, mildly spiced, and nutty sauce. The flavors of this classic Hyderabadi-style brinjal dish are something that makes each mouthful invitingly moreish, even for people who aren’t fans of the vegetable.
Making bagara baingan is not the quickest curry you can make, it is time-consuming but a fairly straightforward recipe to execute. Trust me when you taste the final dish, you will pat your back and feel all the effort was worth it.
Whenever I prepared this special brinjal curry for my family members or guests, they always admired my cooking.
Reasons to make
Rich and Royal dish.
Tried and tested recipe.
Mildly spiced and well-balanced.
Vegetarian and Vegan.
Things to look for when buying eggplants – heavy for their size, vivid, smoothest, and shiny skin without any wrinkles/least blemishes, most green stems and not brown or dried out, slightly firm, and not soft. Pick even-size eggplants.
This Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan recipe has a generous amount of oil usage which makes the dish delicious. But, you can always feel free to reduce it according to your family’s needs.
The ratio of peanuts, coconut, and sesame seeds can be customized as per liking. The ratio followed by professionals is 1:1:1 which means an equal quantity of the three.
Roast the masala paste ingredients on low flame until aromatic.
I prefer and recommend adding tamarind pulp to the curry and not to the wet masala paste. In this way, I can control the sourness, taste the curry, and add only as per my liking.
Cook until oil separates: One of the important steps in Indian cooking is to cook the ingredients well. Although the ingredients are roasted, cook the masala paste well until the moisture gets evaporated, thickens, and the oil separates on the sides of the cooking utensil and the masala. This indicates that the curry base ingredients are well cooked and there is no rawness left. This released oil then forms a layer on top of the curry indicating that the curry is ready.
If you have used less oil then the separation of oil is not evident but a shiny coating of oil is formed on top of the masala mix. Just make sure you cook the masala paste until the moisture content evaporates and it gets thickened.
Traditionally eggplants are deep fried in the oil but I shallow fry them in less oil and it works well too. I use the remaining oil to make the curry.
Traditionally, this baingan curry has a thick consistency. You can adjust the consistency of the curry to your liking.
The ingredients list may look long but are most commonly used in Indian cooking and can be easily found in any Indian grocery store.
Brinjal: Usually, the baghara baingan is made with a tender, small, round shape, and plain purple color variety of eggplant species. They cook fast and thoroughly from the inside out. Alternatively, you can use purple color with white stripes.
Look for baby/small size or medium size aubergine/ eggplant/ brinjals at your local Asian or Indian grocers.
Avoid large eggplant, as it tends to have more seeds and tastes bitter to some folks.
Oil: I have used sunflower oil. But, vegetable oil, peanut oil, or sesame oil is a good option too.
Masala paste: raw peanuts, dry coconut (grated) or unsweetened desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion, ginger, and garlic.
Poppy seeds are an optional ingredient but definitely recommend for a nutty flavor and thickener for the curry. If you can’t get poppy seeds, you can skip them.
Tempering: mustard seeds, cumin, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, and kalonji (onion seeds).
Tamarind: it adds a tangy taste that improves the flavor of the gravy and counteracts the spice from whole spices, red chili powder, and garam masala.
I use dried seedless tamarind. I soak it in hot water for some time and squeeze out the tamarind pulp for the curry. You can substitute it with store-bought tamarind paste.
Spice powders: red chili powder, turmeric powder, and garam masala.
Adding garam masala at the near end of the dish infuses the curry with a lovely aromatic flavor and warmth.
Jaggery: adds a hint of sweetness and balances the tanginess of tamarind and heat from the spices.
Seasoning & Herbs: Salt and coriander leaves.
How to make Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan
Rinse 250 grams small sized baingan 2 to 3 times in water. Pat them dry and set aside. With the help of a knife, cut off the tops of all the eggplants but leave the crown intact.
Soak lemon size tamarind in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, you can proceed with the recipe. Later, pass it through a strainer and press gently until only the fibers remain behind. Discard the fibers and keep the thick tamarind pulp.
Step 1: Make the Masala paste
1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan over low flame. Add 1/4 cup of raw peanuts and saute for 30 seconds.
Raw peanuts take more time to cook. So, add them first.
2. Add 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, and 2 green cardamoms. Continue to saute until they become aromatic.
3 & 4. Add 1/4 cup grated dry coconut, 2 tbsp sesame seeds, and 1 tbsp poppy seeds.
5. Roast until the coconut color changes to light golden. Transfer onto a plate.
Sti frequently to achieve even browning.
6 & 7. In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium flame. Add sliced onions and saute stirring at regular intervals until they tune lightly browned around the edges.
8. Transfer onto the plate and let it cool.
9. Once cooled, add to a blender jar along with 5-7 garlic pods and 1-inch ginger.
10. Grind everything to a smooth paste adding 3-4 tbsps of water.
Note: if you add more water while grinding and make a runny paste, you will have to cook the masala paste for more time until the moisture evaporates.
Step 2: Slit and shallow fry the brinjals
11. Make deep + slits through the eggplant stopping an inch before you get to the stem end keeping the stem intact.
It helps hold the eggplant together during the cooking process.
12. Add the brinjals to the salt water to prevent them from turning black.
13. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in the same pan over medium flame.
14. Saute by rotating them every few minutes until all the sides are blistered and fork-tender. Do not cook them completely, they need to further cook in the gravy.
If you are a beginner, be careful while adding the brinjals to the hot oil. The moisture can cause the oil to splutter.
15. Use a slotted spoon and remove them onto a plate.
Step 3. Make the base gravy
16. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in the pan over medium flame. When hot add mustard seeds, cumin, and nigella seeds (kalonji). Let them crackle.
17. Add curry leaves and saute until they turn crisp.
18 & 19. Next, add the ground masala paste and give a good mix.
20 & 21. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt. Mix well.
22. Fry over medium heat until it oozes oil from the side, about 2-3 minutes.
Stir frequently as the paste can stick to the bottom of the pan.