Bharli Vangi is a traditional Maharashtrian dish that is a favourite, hit menu on all important and festive occassions and yes even otherwise too. Bharli Vangi is a versatile recipe and there are many versions to this recipe. Some like it spicy and tangy and sweet while others like it with peanut powder. I’m sharing my version of bharli vangi that is spicy and tangy.
- 5 small tender purple white striped brinjals with thorny stalks OR approx 150 gms
- 7 tbsp scraped dry grated coconut
- 1 medium sized potato, skin peeled and cut into wedges lengthwise
- 2 tbsp oil + 1 1/2 tsp oil to roast the spices and onion
- 1/8 tsp asafoetida
- 1/2 onion OR 2 tbsp onion thinly sliced lengthwise
- 2 1/2 tbsp finely chopped onion
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 cloves
- 6 black pepper
- 1/4th” piece of cinnamon
- 1 black cardamom seeds
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/4th” piece of ginger
- 1 small green chilly
- 2 tsp tamarind pulp OR as per tang required
- 8 sprigs of coriander leaves finely chopped
- 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
- 5 to 6 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder (adjust to individual taste. I have added more as I like it spicy and this recipe is a spicy version. Also kashmiri chilli adds colour to the gravy)
- Salt to taste
- Heat 1 tsp oil in a nonstick/ceramic pan, add onion, roast till golden brown, transfer to a plate and keep aside. Roast the dry grated coconut in the same pan till brown taking care not to burn it. Transfer it to a plate and in the same pan roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, black pepper, black cardamom,cinnamon in 1/2 tsp of oil (if required) till fragrant and till you get the aroma of roasted spices. Grind the roasted spices, roasted coconut, browned onions, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ginger, garlic to a thick smooth paste using little water. I added approximately 10 tbsp of water. The masala paste should not be watery, it should be thick of dropping consistency as the masala has to stay intact in the brinjal slits. Transfer the paste to a flat plate. Add salt, tamarind pulp, finely chopped coriander leaves and finely chopped onions and mix well. Keep aside.
- Rinse the brinjals, make 2 slits crossways on the bottom rounded end a little more than halfway of the brinjal to stuff the masala. Trim the stems and scrape the thorns. Dip the brinjals in salt water to prevent it from discolouring. Also dipping the cut brinjals in salt water removes the bitterness in brinjals if any. Drain the water from the brinjals. Stuff the prepared masala into the slit brinjals.
- First place a skillet / tawa on the gas burner, then place a flat non stick/ ceramic pan onto it. Keeping the flame on LOW, heat oil in the nonstick/ ceramic pan, add asafoetida, a pinch of turmeric powder, mix well, then place the stuffed brinjals, potato wedges, add the remaining masala over it. DO NOT ADD WATER.
- Cover with a lid and cook on LOW flame only till the brinjals are soft and tender and the potatoes are cooked. The brinjals and potatoes will cook under steam and as the masala gets cooked the moisture in the masala starts evaporating. You can see in the pic how the masala dries up and the filling in the brinjal stays intact. Keep turning the brinjals and potato wedges three to four times so that they are cooked on all sides. Insert a pointed knife to check if they are done. Once done switch off the flame.
- Serve hot bharli vangi as a side dish with bhakris/ rotis, dal rice and sol kadi as an accompaniment.
- In case you want the masala to be less spicy, skip adding green chilli and reduce the quantity of chilli powder, let the proportion of other spices be as is.
- It is said that a lot of flavour lies in the stems of the brinjals, hence the stems are retained.
- Roasting the spices well ,onions and the coconut till brown gives the flavour and colour to the gravy.
- I personally love steaming hot rice topped with bharli vangi and sol kadi. This trio tastes awesome.
- Small, plump striped purple white brinjals with thorny stems are considered to be best suited for delicious bharli vangi.
- Use a flat pan for cooking so that the brinjals and potatoes are evenly cooked.
- Do not discard the skin of black cardamom, store them in a glass bottle and whenever you prepare masala bhath, pulao or any rice variety which requires black cardamom just for its aroma, add this skin instead of whole black cardamom.