This bharwan achaari baingan is a specialty from Rajasthan. Tiny brinjals are stuffed with a spicy mixture and then slow cooked in mustard oil for that quintessential pickle taste.
All the spices are the ones that are used to make traditional pickles, which is why the name achaari baingan! While there are achaari spice mixes, available in the market, I prefer making my own as the aroma of freshly roasted and grounded spices makes this dish even more delicious. You can also make the spice mix in larger quantities and store it in an air-tight box in the refrigerator.
Brinjal is a very versatile kitchen ingredient. If I have to choose just one main vegetable to cook for a whole month, I would choose brinjal and cook 30 different dishes for each day! Whether it is the Bengali Baingan bhaja or the Kashmiri masala baingan or a vegetable moussaka, brinjal finds itself sitting comfortably in all cuisines.
Bharwan Achari Baingan
Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Serve 3-4
10 — Small brinjals
4 tsp — Mustard oil
A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
Salt, to taste
For the achari bhawan masala,
1 tsp — Coriander seeds
1 tsp — Fennel seeds
1 tsp — Cumin seeds
1½ tsp — Fenugreek seeds
½ tsp — Nigella seeds (kalongi)
½ tsp — Carom seeds (ajwain)
4 tsp — Dry mango powder (amchor)
½ tsp — Turmeric powder
½ tsp — Red chilli powder
* For the achaari masala: Dry roast all the spice seeds (coriander, fenne, cumin, fenugreek, nigella, and carom seeds) until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
* Grind to a powder in a spice grinder or use a mortar & pestle to grind the to a coarse powder. Add the remaining dry spices and mix well. If you wish to store a part of the spice mix, store at this point before adding salt and oil.
* Next in, add salt and 2 tbsps of mustard oil and again mix well to get a slightly wet mixture.
* From the bottom, make two slits in a plus sign on each brinjal. Cut the brinjals only halfway through else they wont be able to hold the masala.
* Rub and fill the achaari spice mix inside all the cuts.*
* Heat the remaining 2 tbsp mustard oil in a pan on a medium-low heat. Add the prepared brinjals and cook covered for 5 minutes. Open, turn the brinjals, and again cook covered for another 5 minutes. Repeat until the brinjal is cooked evenly from all sides. **
* Remove from heat, garnish with some fresh coriander and serve hot.
Note: * In this recipe I simply use the roasted spice mix with a little oil and salt to stuff in the brinjals, but you can also add some roasted gram flour to the masala mix like in this stuffed chilies recipe.
**It is important to cook the stuffed brinjals over a low flame to ensure that the brinjal is cooked evenly throughout. On high heat, the inside flesh might remain undercooked while the outside skin would burn.