This famous Banarasi dish is an explosion of spicy and tangy flavours, made by stuffing baby eggplants (baingan/aubergine) with a medley of pickling spices and then frying in mustard oil tempered with Indian five spice (paanch phoron).
Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity.
~Jonathan Safran Foer
Few weeks back my husband and I, while we were shopping for grocery in a supermarket store, there he sighted these lovely baby eggplants.
He quickly picked it up and asked timidly, whether I can make Kalonji Baingan.
I was like what?!!! with a big question mark on my face!
Seriously!! I had never heard of Kalonji baingan before.. This is so weird.. I know!!
I definitely needed him to enlighten me about this dish.
Its a famous Banaras cuisine or Varanasi cuisine. My mother in law is from Banaras city and she is an AMAZING cook. He said he grew up eating this..
Hubby explained very enthusiastically about this dish and how it tastes. And he really did well. Its is like aubergine pickle.. Baby Aubergines (baingan or eggplants) are stuffed and cooked with spicy and tangy pickling spices..
Well his elucidation surely did make my mouth water.. 😀
I was so intrigued!! I had to make it as soon as possi.. Most important I had to taste this Kalonji Baingan… 😀 SO excited!!
As soon I reached home, I called up my MIL and took notes of how to make it, how much masalas and spices and so on..
I couldn’t wait one more precious second and jumped straight into making it.
Kalonji stands for nigella seeds and Baingan stands for eggplant or aubergine.
But in Banarasi cuisine, kalonji refers a medly of different spices blends made with coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreeks seeds(methi) and carom seeds(ajwain). These spices are roasted along with some dried red chillies and then whizzed into a fine powder.
Roasting the spices. Stuffing the aubergine and then frying it in mustard oil tempered with Indian five spice (paanch phoron), seems like so much work. Naaa it isn’t! it didn’t take much time at all and it is so easy SIMPLE!!
Oh!! the aroma of these spices.. I had already fallen in love with this Kalonji baingan.
Finally, the time has come..I couldn’t wait any longer.. I served it with hot steamed rice as a side..
And Yummmm!! It was just like a party in my mouth. So many different flavours. I have never tasted anything like it.. It was so sooooo good.
After eating this my first question to the Mr.. How come you never mentioned about this amazing dish before.. We are married 5 years and now you say it.. You deprived me of having this super delicious dish for the last 5 years.. Apparently he remembered about this Banarasi Kalonji Baingan (Stuffed Eggplant Fry) after seeing those glorious baby aubergines..
I wouldn’t have known about this dish at all if Hubby hadn’t mentioned it to me.. 😀
So all thanks to him and my MIL to introduce me to this dish so that I could recreate it and bring this flavour to you.
Guys you got to make this amazing dish.. you are definitely gonna love it.. Promise! 🙂
- 500 gms Baby aubergine/ egg plant/ baingan (washed)
- 1/2 tsp Indian five spice/ panch phoron (mixture of equal amount of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and nigella seeds)
- 3 tbsp mustard oil/ vegetable oil
- 2 Dried red chilli
- 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp nigella seeds/ kalonji
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds/ methi seeds
- 1/4 tsp carom seeds/ aijwain
- 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
- 1 1/2 tsp amchur powder (dried mango powder) or 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- Heat a skillet and dry roast the dried red chillies, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds/kalonji, fenugreek seeds/methi, carom seeds/ajwain and fennel seeds until you get a nutty aroma wafts through the kitchen, take care not to burn the seeds.
- Cool it and then whizz it into a fine powder .
- Now to the roasted spice powder add turmeric powder, amchur powder (dried mango powder), chilli powder, sugar and salt and mix properly.
- Keep 1 tablespoon of this roasted masala aside.
- Then slowly add 1 1/2 tbsp water to the rest of the roasted powder mixture so that it binds well.
- Wash the eggplant/ aubergine/ baingan and then slit through the eggplant just like a criss cross leaving the stems on. Stuff the eggplants with the prepared roasted spice powder stuffing.
- Now heat mustard oil in the pan or karahi to smoking point, then reduce the heat and add the indian five spice/panch phoron and let it splutter.
- Once it starts spluttering arrange the stuffed eggplants in the pan and cover the pan with a lid and cook in the low flame.
- Slowly turn the eggplant making sure it does not break, to ensure it cooks on all sides.
- Add the remaining leftover masala with some salt and stir gently. Continue cooking covered until its soft and cooked on all sides.
- Add chopped coriander leaves and give a final mix. Remove from the flame.
- Serve this delicious stuffed eggplants (kalonji baingan) with Rice or Roti (Indian Flat Bread).
I hope you enjoy this Banarasi Kalonji Baingan – Stuffed Aubergine Fry as much as I do.. 🙂