Day 113 - Bharli Vangi (Peanut butter & coconut stuffed spiced baby eggplants)

Despite the complicated sounding process described in the name, this dish is ridiculously easy to make. I generally do not depend upon measurements while making the spice paste that is stuffed into the baby eggplants. it contains peanut butter (the fresh variety w/o the extra oil & sugar), shredded coconut, and a spice blend of your choice, (Take your pick, Harissa, baharat, berbere.. I've tried them all) and salt.

You need:

8 - 10 baby eggplants  (fairytale eggplants are perfect, but the purple Indian eggplants work well)
 2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon each cumin & coriander seeds
1 medium onion finely diced

For the  stuffing
1/3 cup organic freshly ground peanut butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon spice blend of your choice, (I used Harissa)
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
salt to taste
chopped cilantro for garnish

Combine the ingredients for the stuffing and mix into a thick paste using some warm water if the mix is too thick.
Keeping the stems intact make a cross slit at the base of the eggplants, taking care not to cut through. Make sure you do not snip off the stems. Using a spatula, stuff the peanut butter and coconut paste into the slits. Dilute any remaining spice paste with a little water and reserve
 In a wide skillet, heat the oil and add the cumin and coriander seeds. Once the seeds emit their characteristic aroma, saute the onions until translucent. Gently place the eggplants in a single layer ,  pour the remaining spice paste. Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes until the eggplants are soft to the point of dropping off the stem. Transfer to a serving dish, spoon  the gravy over the eggplants. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with roti or plain rice.


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