This stuffed Brinjal Curry is an Andhra-style recipe that’s very popular down South – and for all the right reasons. It’s got a ground masala base that’s spicy, tangy, sweet and nutty all at once, stuffed into small brinjals and simmered in a semi gravy. So much flavour to soak up!
There are some recipes out there where you can just taste the cultural influences – and this stuffed Brinjal Curry is one of them! Also referred to as Gutti Vankaya (Andhra and Telangana) and Yengai (North Karnataka), this curry is most famously known as Bagara Baingan (Hyderabad).
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The origins of this curry date all the way back to the Mughal Empire between the 16th and 19th century. Mughlai cuisine is known for its signature richness brought on by the generous use of nuts, seeds, and oils while cooking – and that richness is what makes this stuffed brinjal curry so special. The base of this curry is made by grinding together chillies, coconut, tamarind, sesame seeds, peanut and jaggery which is then stuffed into the brinjals. The stuffed brinjals are then tempered – baghaar literally means to temper – and then cooked down with a thick gravy.
Best enjoyed with plain chapatis, steaming hot rice or jowar rotis, this dish is an indulgent treat that’ll make your day so much better (this has been tried and tested!) And don’t be fooled, for a dish that looks and tastes this good, it’s ridiculously easy to make.
All of these ingredients are commonly found across Indian pantries so no complex grocery shop is needed here. The dish comes together quickly and can be served for so many different occasions – spice up your weeknight dinners with this, or impress your guests at a dinner party – I can guarantee making this would be the right choice. This curry also freezes and reheats well which is an added bonus that I always love.
- This stuffed brinjal recipe is easy - no complex chopping required, fuss free prep
- You don’t have to buy any exotic ingredients or readymade masalas to make this
- You can serve this recipe with so many different types of flatbread AND rice, making it a great option for dinner parties
Ingredients You'll Need
- Roasted chana dal - This adds a delicious nutty flavor to the curry. When we grind this, it basically forms gram flour which thickens the masala.
- Peanuts - Adds another distinct layer of nuttiness to the dish
- White Sesame seeds - The third distinct addition to create the signature nutty flavor of bagara baingan. This also makes the gravy creamy – without the use of cashews or full cream here.
- Grated dry coconut - Nutty but neutralizing, one of my favorite additions to Indian curries. If you don’t like coconut, don’t worry you can’t really taste it in the end
- Tamarind - Adds tanginess which balances the gravy and cuts through the richness. Can sub with 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- Chillies - Since we have a lot of neutralizing nuts used here, you can go heavy handed with the chillies! I recommend using both Byaadgi and Guntur dry red chillies.
- Jaggery - A little bit of sweetness to balance out the tang and spice
- Brinjals - The small ones work best for this recipe so you can stuff them easily
How to make Gutti Vankaya or Yengai
Here's a quick step by step showing you how to make Gutti Vankaya or Yengai at home:
1. Add all the paste ingredients except the water to the chutney jar of a mixer. Grind into a fine paste.
2. Add water little by little as you grind it. Ensure the paste is smooth and free of lumps. Keep aside.
3. Make an X-shaped cut on the bottom of a brinjal. The cut should be deep enough to slightly open up the brinjal.
4. Stuff the opening with the prepared paste. Repeat for the remaining brinjal and set it aside. Do not discard the excess paste.
5. Add oil to a flat bottomed kadai or sauteuse pan. Allow the oil to heat on a high flame. Add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
6. Add the prepared brinjal to the pan. Spread them out as much as possible and shallow fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. Use tongs to turn the brinjals.
7. Add sliced onion and stir. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
8. Add the remaining paste and mix to combine. Fry for 3 minutes.
9. Add 1 cup of water and mix.
10. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes or until the brinjal is cooked. It may take longer to cook depending on the size of the brinjal.
11. Add the remaining half cup of water little by little to adjust the consistency of the gravy as desired. Serve hot along with rice and ghee or jowar rotis!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which brinjals work best for this recipe?
You want to use small brinjals for this recipe so that you can stuff them and cook them in a uniform manner. Look for dark purple or purple with white striped brinjal as these hold their shape the best and won’t get mashed in the curry.
How long can I store this for?
This curry will be good for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, add to a pan with a little bit of water and combine well.
Can I make this without sesame seeds?
In order to achieve the authentic bagara baingan taste, it’s important to use a combination of peanuts, chana dal, sesame seeds and coconut. You can still make this brinjal curry without sesame but it will not be the same dish - of course!
Sometimes, you’ve just got to treat yourself like royalty (and that means making Mughlai inspired dishes on a casual weeknight)! I’ve never had eggplant prepared in such a flavorful way before I tried this – so if anybody in your family is an eggplant skeptic, this may just be the recipe that wins them over. If cooking for a family dinner time, I would recommend serving this with a light cucumber salad and raita – nothing too heavy as the dish itself is quite filling. At a dinner party, this would pair well with some Mutton Kheema on the menu and my extra soft rotis.
Either way, this recipe is a winner for sure. Time to add it to the week’s meal planning list!
Watch the Recipe Video
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Stuffed Brinjal Curry (Gutti Vankaya or Yengai)
- ¼ Cup Fried Chana Dal split chickpea lentils
- ¼ Cup Peanuts groundnuts
- 8 Byadgi Dry Red Chilli
- 8 Guntur Dry Red Chilli
- 12 Cloves Garlic
- 1 ½ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds
- ½ Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
- 17 Grams Tamarind lemon sized, approx 1 ½ Tablespoon/ sub with 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 27 Grams Jaggery approx 2-3 Tablespoons/ sub with brown sugar
- 1 ½ - 2 Teaspoon Salt
- ⅓ Cup grated Dry Coconut kopra
- ¾ Cup Water approx
- ¼ Cup Oil sesame or groundnut
- 1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 8-10 small purple striped Brinjal
- 1 Large Onion sliced, approx 1 Cup
- 1 ½ cup Water divided
- Add all the paste ingredients except the water to the chutney jar of a mixer. Grind into a fine paste. Add water little by little as you grind it - just enough for you to get a smooth paste. If it becomes too thin, it'll be difficult to stuff the brinjal with it.
- Make a deep X-shaped cut on the bottom of brinjal as shown in the video - cut till the top without cutting all the way through. The cut should be deep enough to be able to open up the brinjal. Stuff the brinjal well with the prepared paste as shown in the video. Repeat for the remaining brinjal and set aside. Reserve any excess paste.
- Heat oil in a flat bottomed kadai or sauteuse pan. Add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
- Add the prepared brinjal to the pan. Spread them out as much as possible and shallow fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. Use tongs to turn the brinjals.
- Add sliced onion and stir. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Add the remaining paste and mix to combine. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add 1 cup water and mix. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes or until the brinjal is cooked. It may take longer to cook depending on the size of the brinjal.
- Add the remaining half cup of water little by little to adjust the consistency of the gravy as desired.
- Serve hot along with rice and ghee or jowar rotis!
- Whole tamarind can be substituted for 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- If you don't have access to dried coconut, use freshly grated coconut or freshly frozen grated coconut in the same quantity
- The amount of water added to the ground paste should be just enough to grind it till smooth. Don't add too much water or the paste will become too thin making it difficult to stuff the brinjal