serves 4 to 6
Bharli Vaangi literally translated, means stuffed eggplant. The stuffing in this case, is a freshly roasted and ground masala mixture. This dish is close to my heart and truly a treasured heirloom for me. Just as I aspire to recreate the incredibly delicious Bharli Vaangi my mother made, I remember her telling me stories of how her mother made the same dish. Bharli Vaangi is one of those dishes that soaks in all the flavors and tastes even better the next day. During my grandmother’s early days, there was no refrigerator in her kitchen. So she made this dish with more oil and no water to cook the vegetables, in order to preserve it until the next day. And with eight children who each liked it ‘their own way’ meaning with or without the garlic or the onion or the fresh or dried shrimp, she made it in different pots for each of them! My mother in turn, used to make the Bharli Vaangi in a slow cooking stove top oven, which heated over hot sand, giving the dish an unbelievably scrumptious flavor, that I relished very much.
Well lets just say that I did not inherit the ‘patience’ gene. I love shrimp- fresh or dried, in this dish. But my husband does not. So I skipped the shrimp entirely and just made it in one pan, rather than two separate pans. Forget eight ! I do not have enough patience for my two children.
I lacked the patience of baking it on low heat too. I mean, look at these beautiful fresh eggplants and potatoes. I could not wait to devour the Bharli Vaangi .
I used a cast iron pan to roast the onion, garlic, coconut and spices and to slow cook the Bharli Vaangi. And yes, you have guessed right ! I use a pre seasoned All Clad cast iron pan by Emirill because seasoning a pan takes patience too. The cast iron pan lends a delectable flavor to this dish and the Bharli Vaangi cooked in 25 minutes!
- 12 baby eggplant,(called Indian eggplant in the grocery stores)
- 16 to 18 baby potatoes
For the masala stuffing-
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 3 cloves
- ¼ inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 1/8 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1½ medium red onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup dried unsweetened coconut (flakes or shredded)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon dry tamarind soaked and pulp extracted
- 2 tablespoons jaggery powder
- ½ medium red onion finely diced
- sea salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- ½ cup water
To make the Bharli Vaangi-
- Wash the eggplant and cut it into 4 parts leaving the stem end intact. Drop them in a bowl of water.
Scrub and wash the potatoes and set aside.
- For the masala stuffing, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and fry the spices- coriander seeds,,cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon stick, following this order. Remove the spices when they sizzle, swell up and are fragrant. Set them aside. To the remaining oil in the pan, add the sliced onions and garlic cloves and stir fry it until the onions turn golden brown. Add the coconut and stir until the coconut is roasted and light brown in color. Add the turmeric and red chili powders, roast them for a few seconds and remove from heat. Let the mixture cool slightly. Grind the mixture with the tamarind pulp, jaggery and just enough water to grind the mixture to a smooth paste.
- Add the finely diced onion and sea salt to the ground mixture. Drain the eggplants and stuff them with 2/3 of the masala mixture.
- Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in the pan, over low heat. Add the sliced garlic cloves, stir and add the stuffed eggplants and potatoes. To the remaining 1/3 ground masala, add the ½ cup water and pour over the eggplants and potatoes. Cover and cook on low for 25 minutes or until the eggplants and potatoes are cooked.
- Serve with bhaakri , chappati or rice and dal.
Enjoy! I am taking the Bharli Vaangi and joining the party at Fiesta Friday hosted by the super talented trio- Angie at http://fiestafriday.net, Julianna @Foodie On Board and Hilda @Along The Grapevine.
I am also sending the recipe to Recipe of the week