Aubergine Sabji Stuffed With Besan (Bengal Gram Flour) And Spices
Bharwa (Brinjal) Baingan Besan Valae
Aubergines being one of my favourite vegetables, I cook them in all kinds of cuisines. My mother in-law was a vegetarian, she didn't even eat onions. So, to thicken the masala mix for vegetables, she often added dry roasted besan, Bengal gram flour, also called chickpea flour. This recipe is in her style, although I have added some onions to the masala stuffing. They are tasty and very easy to make. Stuffed aubergines can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for 3-4 days or even frozen. You can cook many other vegetables in this way. When cooking in an oven, I sometimes add quartered onions/shallots (small onions) wrapped in same spices. They taste very nice. In pictures here, you see a stuffed red pepper, just as an example. Serves 3-6.
6 finger aubergines or other small aubergines (roughly 500 gm.)
A handful of whole green chillies and/or sweet peppers or shallots
For stuffing masala mix:
2 full tbsp. besan (Bengal gram flour)
1 medium sized onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 inch piece of root ginger, peeled
2-3 cloves of garlic (optional)
1/2 lemon/lime. peeled
1 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. turmeric powder
Chilli powder to taste
1 heaped tsp. coarsely ground fennel or saunf
1 tsp. salt, adjust to taste
2-3 tbsp. mustard oil (or any good cooking oil)
1 tsp. Panch Pooran or cumin seeds
Wash and dry each aubergine. Trim stalks to remove stale ends, but do not remove the stalks completely. They hold the slit aubergines together & taste good.
Make two slits lengthways, like a cross, running through the entire length of each aubergine. If they are small aubergines, make only one slit.
Trim chilli stalks. Halve the peppers.
Place all stuffing ingredients in a chopper/grinder and make into a paste.
Hold each slit aubergine one by one in one hand, parting the slit gently, taking care not to break off any slices. Spoon in some of the masala inside each aubergine using your other hand. Close gently. Fill the pepper halves. Chillies can be left whole.
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or karahi. When hot, add cumin seeds or Panch Pooran.
When the seeds splutter, not burn, gently place all aubergines, pepper and chillies, into the oil. Place any left over masala between aubergines.
Let it cook covered on medium-low heat, stirring very gently from time to time. Take care not to break aubergines. It takes up to 20-30 minutes to cook them well on low heat.
Heat oven to around 180-200ï¿½ C.
Place aubergines and other vegetables in an oven proof dish. Pour 3-4 tbsp. or more mustard oil over and around them. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until soft and shrivelled.
Drain excess oil off before placing in the serving dish or lift aubergines out of the oil one by one and place in a serving dish.
These spices can be used to stuff other vegetables like bhindi (okra), fat, green chillies and any other small vegetable.