Bharli Vaangi- a treasured heirloom recipe

serves 4 to 6

Bharli Vaangi
Bharli Vaangi

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 .

Baby eggplants and potatoes
Baby eggplants and baby potatoes

  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-

  1. Wash the eggplant and cut it into 4 parts leaving the stem end intact. Drop them in a bowl of water.
    Cut eggplant
    Cut eggplant

    Scrub and wash the potatoes and set aside.

  2. 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.ground masala
  3. 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.
  4. Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in the pan, over low heat. Add the sliced garlic cloves, stir and add the stuffed eggplants and potatoes.In the pan! 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.
  5. 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, Julianna @Foodie On Board and Hilda @Along The Grapevine.

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I am also sending the recipe to Recipe of the week

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44 thoughts on “Bharli Vaangi- a treasured heirloom recipe

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  1. Love those baby eggplants! Now, when you grind the stuffing, do you also grind the cinnamon stick along, or is it taken out prior? I’m assuming we can just use a food processor?


    1. Yes Angie, the cinnamon stick also gets ground. Sometimes I use a coffee grinder that I have reserved just for the spices to grind them separately if I feel that my blender will not blend it to a fine paste with the roasted onion, coconut and garlic mixture.
      My food processor does not do a very good job of making a paste. But I have a small old food processor. May be the newer ones do a better job. The jar in my picture is a mini grinder jar with sharp blades I had got from India that sits right on my Osterizer.


  2. Oh wow this recipe sounds soooo goooooddd! I always find it so interesting to compare how our grandmothers cooked, compared to us! Imagine cooking over hot sand?? Anyway I’m so glad that you shared this with us! I would love to try making it for sure, so I have bookmarked it! Happy FF to you! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Do let me know how you like it.
      As for our grandmother’s cooking, they also cooked for such large families too. They were saints for sure:)


  3. Ooooh love these baby eggplants, what a lovely presentation and colors too. I’m sure the taste was just awesome with some plain white rice and a lentil curry. I’ve never tried making these, I must give it a try. I was admiring your cast iron pan too, I need one for my kitchen 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loretta, I recently got the pan. It had mixed reviews but so far, I have liked it.
      The colors of the fresh baby eggplant were too hard to resist and when I saw the red and white baby potatoes, I knew I had to make it.
      Yes I enjoyed it with rice and dal. the cast iron pan gives it a nice earthy flavor, I feel 🙂


  4. Omg! These masala baingan are looking so tempting. It’s a long time since I made stuffed brinjal. I make in totally different way..Punjabi style. Bookmarking your recipe to make it your style…Loved it


    1. Thanks Jagruti. I am a huge fan of Gujarati food.
      There is a Malwani dal that goes with these bharli vaangi too. And I love that combination very much too.


  5. I wish if I could be your neighbor. I love baigan recipes, stuff baigan is my favorite but I can not make it because they have caterpiller insects inside. I get scared of. But if my friends cook and share with me I happily enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luckily I have had not had the “eeew” experience with caterpillars. So you are welcome to come anytime Meeta to be my neighbor! Can you imagine the storm we would cook up together? 🙂


  6. Love bharli waangi to the core and your curry looks so inviting Sandhya..never used tomatoes in bharli waangi , now will try using them. Thanks for this flavorful share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is one of my favorite recipes! Hope you like it too. For dried shrimp, if they are the very small kind, I add during the last 10 minutes of cooking. For the slightly bigger ones, I wash and soak them in hot water for half an hour or so and then add them during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.
      Dried prawns, as you know have salt in them so adjust salt in the bharli Vaangi accordingly. Do let me know how you like it.


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