ACHARI BAINGAN (EGGPLANT WITH PICKLING SPICES)

by Asif Ali
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Achari Baingan is a South Asian dish. Roasted eggplant slices are cooked in a tomato sauce infused with a dry pickling spice mix. The aroma of nigella, cumin, fennel, and fenugreek seeds make this vegetarian dish so appetizing.

Closeup of eggplant curry in a plate
Achari baingan

Ingredients  

  • 500 g eggplant
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 tomatoes sliced
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • fresh coriander chopped

Instructions

  • Cut the eggplant in circles of around 1 cm thickness.
  • Take a big flat pan (tawa), drizzle some oil and on maximum heat put the eggplant slices on it. Don’t overlap. Spread as many as you can and leave the rest for the next time.
  • Roast the eggplant slice on each side till each is slightly charred. Remove on a separate plate.
  • Repeat the steps till you have roasted all of them. Eggplant soaks a lot of oil which is fine, we just want charred edges which can be achieved without adding loads of oil.
  • In a new pot add the oil and when it heats up add the nigella, cumin, fennel and fenugreek seeds. Infuse with the oil for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, cover the pot and on medium-low heat let the tomatoes disintegrate.
  • Now add the cumin powder, salt, red chili, coriander powder and turmeric. Cook everything till a masala begins to form and oil seeps out from the side.
  • Then put the eggplant, add a splash of water (only a splash) and leave on dam (low heat) for 10-12 mins.
  • When done some of the eggplant will be mushy and some firm (but cooked) and this is how we want it. Don’t overcook it! Any water should have been dried and the oil will have seeped again out of the sides.
  • Sprinkle some garam masala and coriander and serve.

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