Learn how to make Bhara Baingan or Stuffed Pan Roasted Baby Eggplants ~ Simple and easy spicy pan roasted baby eggplants stuffed with sesame, coconut and spice mix
Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life!
~ Brian Andreas
I am inching back to routine and virtual world after a weeklong holiday with friends and family. Before I feel too comfortable to this routine of digital lethargy and loose myself in my own little world, I decided to bounce back with some recipe posts that will keep my creative juices flowing. I am yet to pick my camera to shoot food or beautiful spring landscapes despite golden spring light bathing every corner of our home and world around us. My eyes and soul have replaced the camera as they capture the magnificent beauty of this world. One thing at a time… Until then, let me share the recipe of this amazing and ridiculously simple to make Bhara Baingan or Spicy Stuffed Baby Eggplant Roast that I cooked and clicked two weeks ago when my camera was constantly clicking and capturing food in every angle and composition!
I am a huge fan of eggplants and keeping my modesty aside, I make some mean eggplant curries which knocks off the feet of my guests whenever I serve them. Unfortunately, husband is allergic to eggplants and LD is not too fond of the texture of them. Which means the only person who must finish the entire pan of eggplant curries is me! How unfortunate (not) for me!!! As much as I love these little beauties, I find it difficult to spend an hour prepping and cooking them, only not to have a company to share the pleasure of devouring them. So, I end up buying some purple beauties only when I lose couple of night’s sleep! ;)
And then I made one of the simplest Bhara Baingan where baby eggplant is stuffed with ground mixture of roasted sesame and desiccated coconut and flavoured with just a handful of spices before pan roasted for couple of minutes. That’s it really!
I did say simple recipe and I am sticking to my promise. This is one of those ridiculously simple recipes which makes me wonder why I am even blogging it! Then I am reminded of the days when I had just began cooking and struggled to find simple and easy recipes using just a handful of easily available ingredients and that didn’t need me to call my mother at odd hours with dozens of queries! Recipes like this Bhara Baingan is what I depend on when I am least inspired to cook, but can’t bring myself to order takeaway food! Fact to be told, this Bhara Baingan can be prepared under 20 mins if you don’t sneak out to check messages on your phone! ;)
Bhara Baingan (Simple and easy spicy pan roasted baby eggplants stuffed with sesame, coconut and spice mix)
Prep Time: 10 - 15 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Medium
Serves: 3-4 people
Shelf Life: Best served fresh, but can be refrigerated for 2-3 days
Serving Suggestion: With rice/roti and dal. (Read notes for more serving suggestion)
8 Baby Eggplants
1 tbsp Oil
Ground Spice Mix for Stuffing/Filling:
2 heaped tbsp White or Brown Sesame Seeds
2 heaped tbsp Desiccated Coconut
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Powder
½ tbsp. Dhania/Coriander Powder
½ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
1-2 tsp Red Chilli Powder (Adjust as per taste)
½ - ¾ tsp Amchur/Dry Mango Powder (Adjust a per taste)
¼ tsp Powdered Hing/Asafoetida
Salt to taste
- Wash the baby eggplants thoroughly and make ‘+’ marked slits 3/4th way keeping the eggplant intact. Soak them in a bowl of water until required. Soaking them in water helps to prevent the eggplants discolouring when exposed to air.
- Heat a pan on medium flame and add sesame seeds. Dry roast sesame seeds until they turn golden brown by stirring continuously. Take care not to burn them as the burnt sesame seeds tastes bitter. It takes around 3 minutes to roast the sesame seeds. Transfer the roasted sesame seeds into clean, dry plate.
- In a same pan, add desiccated coconut and dry roast until it turns golden, about 1- 1½ mins, on a medium flame. Transfer the roasted desiccated coconut to the plate with roasted sesame seeds and allow them to cool down to room temperature.
- Once cool, grind the sesame seeds and desiccated coconut to coarse powder in a spice grinder or mixer grinder. I prefer grinding them in my trusted pestle and mortar. To this add cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, red chilli powder, amchur, hing and salt to taste and mix them all well.
- Take a generous spoonful of this spice mix and stuff them into slit baby eggplants by taking care not to break them. Be generous with the stuffing and use them up all by filling the remaining eggplants.
Proceed to cook:
- Heat oil in a wide pan on medium to high and once hot, arrange the stuffed eggplants in a single layer making sure every single eggplant is in contact with the pan. Let them pan fry undisturbed for 2-3 minutes or until the skin turns golden brown.
- Gently flip the eggplants and let them cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes on high flame.
- Again, flip the eggplants and reduce the flame to medium. Sprinkle little water and immediately cover the pan and let it cook for 5-6 minutes, flipping the eggplants carefully in between to make sure they don’t burn. You can sprinkle some more water if you find the eggplants burning or sticking to the pan.
- Cook the eggplants until they turn soft and are cooked through when pierced with knife or fork, yet retain shape. It shouldn’t take more than 10-12 mins of overall cooking time. Turn off the flame and let it rest for 5-10 minutes for the flavours to develop and blend well.
- Serve these delicious Bhara Baingan with rice or roti and piping hot bowl of dal topped with dollop of ghee and enjoy! You can also use them as a filling for veggie wraps or rolls topped with some crunchy salad leaves (lettuce, baby spinach, arugula etc), sliced vegetables (onion, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado etc) and drizzled with some cool yogurt or any dipping sauce of your choice for a hearty meal.
- Once the eggplant is prepared for stuffing, soak them in a bowl of water to stop them from discolouring when exposed to air. You can also add a tsp of salt to this water and leave the eggplants soaked for 15-30 mins as this will reduce the bitter taste of eggplants. I like the little bitter flavour, so I just leave them soaking in plain cold water until they are ready for cooking.
- If you are not fond of, or are allergic to eggplants, you can replace eggplants with okra/bhindi and use the same spice mix as stuffing and pan frying them. Make sure that you wash and pat the okras dry before stuffing them and proceed to pan fry them. It should take about 8-10 minutes on medium to high flame to cook the okras.
- Best way to eat this delicious Bhara Baingan is to scoop it up with roti and piping hot bowl of dal or mop it with a dal and rice topped with dollop of ghee. Heaven! You can also use them as a filling for veggie wraps or rolls topped with some crunchy salad leaves (lettuce, baby spinach, arugula etc), sliced vegetables (onion, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado etc) and drizzled with some cool yogurt or any dipping sauce of your choice for a hearty meal.