Authentic Bharli Vangi Recipe | Maharashtrian style Stuffed Brinjals
Bharli Vangi Recipe is a Maharashtrian-style stuffed brinjal curry. Here’s a step-by-step recipe to make this delicious, flavor-packed brinjal recipe. It can be eaten with rice and roti.
Eggplants, baingan, brinjal, or Aubergines are used widely in Indian cuisine and each state/region has its own special recipe. Though brinjal was given the title King of Vegetables, it has a bad reputation and many are hesitant to even try the vegetable.
Growing up in Mumbai and Pune (before moving to Hyderabad), I have experienced a lot of cuisines. The cities have an amalgamation of different communities and offer an endless variety of wildly flavored delicacies. And the obvious is the Maharashtrian cuisine. Today’s post is one gem of a recipe from that cuisine.
Needless to say, brinjal is one of my favorite veggies. There are so many ways of cooking eggplants in India, I love it in any form, some of my favorites are brinjal fry, aloo
I have already posted an iconic Hyderabadi style of brinjal curry – Bagara Baingan in my blog. Both recipes have a few ingredients in common but they differ in their taste and texture.
As brinjals are available all year round, I make this dish very often. To avoid boredom, I make different variations of brinjal curry.
What is Bharli Vangi?
Bharli or Bharleli Vangi is a Maharashtrian delicacy. Bharli Vangi literally translates to the Maharashtrian version of stuffed eggplant. It is one of the popular bhaji (vegetable curry) in Maharashtrian cuisine.
The dish’s name comes from the Marathi word ‘Bharli’ which means stuffed and ‘Vangi’ which refers to Brinjals (eggplants).
Stuffing vegetables (potatoes, okra/bhendi, bitter gourd/karela, green capsicum/shimla mirch, big green chilies) and turning them into flavorful dishes using regional spices is a common thing in Indian cuisine.
Bharli vangi is widely served at Maharashtrian weddings along with a spread of buffets, festivals (without onion and garlic), special occasions, and other small functions. Also, a Maharashtrian thali is incomplete without these stuffed brinjals.
About Bharli Vangi Recipe
Bharli Vangi is a Maharashtrian-style stuffed brinjal curry created by stuffing small brinjals with a delectable mixture of nuts, seeds, coconut, onions, and spices. These stuffed brinjals are then gently fried over low heat and cooked until tender. The leftover stuffing makes a semi-thick gravy.
The stuffing forms the secret ingredient and is actually made up of different things. Due to the use of special ingredients like peanuts, dry coconut, and freshly-prepared spice mix in this recipe, the vangi bhaji has a unique flavor profile and texture that should not be missed!
The Maharashtrian cuisine calls for special spice mixes – goda masala, kanda lasun masala, kala masala which get added into everyday dishes comprising veggies, lentils, poultry, meat, fish, and rice.
The spice mix is an integral part of Maharashtrian cuisine and plays an important role in enhancing the taste of food. Each region and almost every household has a recipe for aromatic bottled masala (spice mix) with different measurements and some ingredients here and there.
This explains there is by no means only one way of making bharleli vangi in Maharashtra and its border zones. The gravy color of bharleli vangi curry is reddish brown in color and very spicy because of the usage of more red chilies.
Maharastrian Bharli Vangi can be made in a pan on the stovetop as well as in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker).
This Maharashtrian-style stuffed brinjals recipe is a little time-consuming, as there are a few steps involved but isn’t complicated either. You will be rewarded with tender brinjals doused in an amazing thick nutty gravy.
You can make this stuffed brinjals curry in an Instant Pot, in a pan/kadhai over the stovetop, or in a regular pressure cooker.
Bharli vangi recipe needs a bit more oil than normal curry which makes it delicious. In the pictures, you can see a layer of oil floating on top of thick gravy. Also, as we are using peanuts, sesame, coconut, etc, they will let off a lot of oil.
Reasons to make
An authentic Maharashtrian Recipe.
Full of unique flavors.
A treat to taste buds.
Vegetarian & Vegan.
Eggplants are a nutrient-dense food.
Before trying out the recipe, I highly suggest reading the tips below:
Choose baby eggplants of the relatively same size that are blemish free and the top (crown) look green and fresh.
Dry roast the unsalted peanuts and then coarsely grind them. It gives the gravy its signature texture.
Due to the addition of peanuts, the gravy sticks to the bottom. So keep stirring while making the gravy.
Add water to the gravy based on the preference of consistency. I like the gravy semi-thick, so added less water.
The quantity of ingredients mentioned is for thick gravy. If you prefer thinner gravy, the excess water will dilute the spices. So add the spices as per your preference.
You can substitute homemade spice mix with store-bought masalas like everest brand kanda lasoon masala or aashirvaad koora karam or any other good brands.
Brinjals (eggplants): In Maharashtrian cuisine, eggplants with thorns are mainly used to make bharli vangi. Locally, they are called ‘kateri vangi‘.
You can use any variety of brinjals available at your local market. Just avoid using fat purple color ones that are used to make bharta.
Buy small, tender, and fresh brinjals when you plan to make any recipe with them.
Onion: Red onion works best in this recipe but can be substituted with any other variety.
For the stuffing: raw peanuts, onion, red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, goda masala/kanda lasun masala/garam masala powder, fresh coriander leaves, and salt.
Since this vangi bhaji is a peanut-based gravy, we need a good quantity of peanuts.
Oil tempering/tadka: mustard seeds, cumin, and curry leaves.
How to make Bharli Vangi
1. Frist, dry roast 1/4cup of raw peanuts in a pan. Heat pan over medium flame. When hot, reduce the flame to low and add the peanuts.
2. Dry roast on low flame by stirring at regular intervals until they become brown in color. When they are browned, transfer them to a plate and set aside to cool completely.
The roasting time will depend on the intensity of the flame and the thickness of the pan.
3. Grind the roasted peanuts to a coarse powder without adding any water.
4. In a wide plate or bowl, add
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 small onion finely chopped
1-2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2-1 tbsp goda masala or kanda lasun masala or garam masala
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2-3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves along with the tender stems
Salt to taste.
5. With your hand, mix everything well.
Add little oil or water just enough to bind the masalas together, so that the mixture becomes a little wet and it will be easy to stuff the mixture into the brinjals.
6. Wash 250 grams eggplants (small or baby brinjals) well. Trim off a little of the stem. Using a knife slit each one of the brinjals crosswise (+) into four, keeping the end intact.
Slightly pull apart the slit brinjals and check to see if there are any worms in them. If you see black spots or worms, discard the brinjal.
7. Dip the slit brinjals in a bowl filled with water to prevent them from turning black by oxidation.
8. Drain all the water from the brinjals and pat them to remove moisture. Fill the masala stuffing in slit baingans.
Hold the slit eggplant in one hand, and place some of the stuffing mixture into the cut we have made in the eggplant.
9. Keep aside the remaining stuffing. We will use it to make the base gravy.
10. Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. When the oil is hot enough, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and 1/2 tsp cumin. Let them crackle.
11. Add 5-7 curry leaves and saute until they turn crisp.
12. Arrange the stuffed eggplants side by side in one single layer. Shallow fry them on low heat for about 2-3 minutes turning sides once in between so that they would roast evenly on all sides.
13. Add the remaining stuffing.
14. Mix well and stir for 2-3 minutes or until oil starts to leave from the sides.
15. Add 1 cup of hot water or as required depending on the consistency you prefer. Mix well gently.
Taste test to check for salt and spice and adjust if required.
16. Cover the pan and let it simmer on low flame for 10-15 minutes or until the brinjals are tender. Stir in between to prevent it from burning.
17. Uncover and check if the brinjals are cooked. You can insert a sharp knife to check the brinjals. When the brinjals are tender, switch off the flame.
Once the oil floats on top, it indicates the gravy is cooked.
Serve Bharli Vangi hot or warm with steamed rice and dal, chapati, bhakri, or plain paratha. You can also garnish with a few coriander leaves before serving.
Traditionally, bharli vangi is served with bhakri (jowar or rice flour). You can also mop it up with phulka, roti, chapathi, or plain/layered paratha as a part of daily meals.
Bharli Vangi is often paired with Varan Bhath (translates to Plain dal and rice) for a quick and easy dinner.
You can store the vangi bhaji in the fridge for 3-4 days in an air-tight container. Make sure to cool the curry completely before refrigerating. Before serving, reheat the curry in a microwave or in a pan over the stovetop. The gravy will thicken more as it cools, you can add some warm water when reheating.
This stuffed brinjal curry can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. To reheat simply microwave or use the stove. I never tried to freeze this dish.
You can follow the same recipe with baby potatoes.
To increase the quantity of gravy, you can add finely chopped tomatoes to the stuffing.
Can add a small piece of jaggery for a hint of sweetness.
More Related Recipes
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Authentic Bharli Vangi Recipe | Maharashtrian style Stuffed Brinjals
- 250 grams Brinjals (small or medium size)
- 4-5 tbsp Oil (any neutral flavor)
- 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 5-6 numbers Curry leaves
- 1 cup Water (or as needed)
- 1/4 cup Peanuts (raw and unsalted)
- 1 small Onion (finely chopped)
- 1-2 tsp Red chili powder
- 1-2 tsp Goda masala (kanda lasoon masala or garam masala)
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- 2-3 tbsp Coriander leaves (chopped)
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 tbsp Dry coconut (grated)
- 1/2 tbsp Sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp Oil (any neutral flavor)
- 1/2 tbsp Coriander seeds
- 1-2 numbers Cloves
- 5-6 numbers Whole dry red chilies (or kashmiri red chili powder)
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- 1 small Black stone flower (dagad phool)
- 2-3 strands Mace (javitri)
- 1/2 tsp Caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
- 1 small Black cardamom (kali elaichi)
- 1 small Star anise
- 2-3 medium size Bay leaf
Making the Goda Masala
- Heat oil in a pan over a low flame. Add all the ingredients listed above except coconut and sesame seeds. Saute stirring frequently until the spices are aromatic.
- Transfer to a bowl. To the same pan add dry coconut and sesame seeds. Saute until coconut change color and sesame seeds pop. Add them to the bowl and set aside to cool.
- Grind to a fine powder without adding water.
Making the Bharli Vangi
- Frist, dry roast the raw peanuts in a pan. Heat pan over medium flame. When hot, reduce the flame to low and add the peanuts.
- Dry roast on low flame by stirring at regular intervals until they become brown in color. When they are browned, transfer them to a plate and set them aside to cool completely.
- Grind the roasted peanuts to a coarse powder without adding any water.
- In a wide plate or bowl, add peanuts powder, finely chopped onion, red chili powder, coriander powder, goda masala or kanda lasun masala or garam masala, ginger-garlic paste, chopped coriander leaves along with the tender stems, and salt.
- With your hand, mix everything well.
- Wash 250 grams eggplants (small or baby brinjals) well. Trim off a little of the stem. Using a knife slit each one of the brinjals crosswise (+) into four, keeping the end intact.
- Dip the slit brinjals in a bowl filled with water to prevent them from turning black by oxidation.
- Drain all the water from the brinjals and pat them to remove moisture. Fill the masala stuffing in slit baingans.
- Keep aside the remaining stuffing. We will use it to make the base gravy.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. When the oil is hot enough, add mustard seeds and cumin. Let them crackle.
- Add the curry leaves and saute until they turn crisp.
- Arrange the stuffed eggplants side by side in one single layer. Shallow fry them on low heat for about 2-3 minutes turning sides once in between so that they would roast evenly on all sides.
- Add the remaining stuffing. Mix well and stir for 2-3 minutes or until oil starts to leave from the sides.
- Add 1 cup of hot water or as required depending on the consistency you prefer. Mix well gently.
- Cover the pan and let it simmer on low flame for 10-15 minutes or until the brinjals are tender. Stir in between to prevent it from burning.
- Uncover and check if the brinjals are cooked. You can insert a sharp knife to check the brinjals. When the brinjals are tender, switch off the flame.
- Serve Bharli Vangi hot or warm with steamed rice and dal, chapati, bhakri, or plain paratha. You can also garnish with a few coriander leaves before serving.