Bharli Wangi

Bharli Wangi is a Maharashtrian delicacy. It is made with small lemon sized eggplant. Roasted dry coconut flakes, peanuts, sesame seeds and tamarind is what gives it the distinct taste. Kala masala (black masala) a unique masala with a very limited shelf life adds to the flavor. When you see the tiny eggplant in the grocery store think of Bharli Wangi.

My mother used to make these often. I am not fond of eggplant but I loved the masala filling. In classic Maharashtrian style the filling is sweet, tart and savory all at the same time. This dish has no onion, ginger or garlic but it is finger licking good. Look here for more information on Maharashtra.

I did not have any plans for making bharli wangi. But I had an appointment at 9 am and reached the area at 8:15 am. I needed to kill time so I decided to walk through a grocery store that I had never been to before. As I walked through the vegetable section I spotted the tiny eggplants. I bought 10. I knew I had everything else I needed in the pantry so on the spur of the moment I decided to make Bharli Wangi for dinner.

You will need
10 tiny eggplant
3/4 cup dry coconut flakes
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
1/3 cup dry roasted peanut powder
1 tbsp. jaggery
1 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. kala masala
1/4 cup fresh coconut, grated
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1 tbsp. tamarind paste
5 tbsp. olive oil, divided
salt to taste
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. asafoetida

Wash the eggplant and cut off the stems. From the same side as the stem cut the eggplant along the length without going all the way. Now make another cut perpendicular to the first. Repeat for all the eggplants. Soak the eggplant in salted water. Keep aside.

In a pan roast the coconut flakes and sesame seeds.

Grind them to a fine powder. In a bowl mix together the coconut flakes and sesame seeds powder, roasted peanut powder, jaggery, paprika, kala masala, fresh coconut, cilantro and salt with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Use about a forth of a cup of water to form a paste.

Drain the water from the soaking eggplants. Keep aside about 2 tbsp. of the paste filling. Use the rest to stuff the eggplant. Gently separate the sides of the eggplant and push the filling inside with your fingers. Repeat for all the eggplants. Keep aside.

Heat 3 tbsp. of olive oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the turmeric powder and asafoetida. To this add the stuffed eggplant. Let them cook for a couple minutes. Using tongs turn them over. Cover and let them cook for 5 minutes.

Uncover and turn over again. Repeat the process until the eggplant changes color on all sides and is almost cooked all the way through.

Add tamarind paste to the 2 tbsp. of filling that was saved. Add 1/4 cup water (more if you like liquid gravy) and mix together. Add this to the eggplants in the pan, cover and cook for another 5 minutes.

Uncover and check seasoning. Add salt if needed. Continue cooking until the eggplant is cooked completely. Be gentle while handling the eggplant. You do not want to break it apart.

Serve hot with poli.


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