Bharli Vangi is a traditional Maharashtrian dish that you will gleefully find on a menu of every restaurant serving Maharashtrian food or in a buffet counter of a Maharashtrian wedding. It goes without saying that a Maharashtrian thali is incomplete without these stuffed baby eggplants.
We, Maharashtrians love this preparation and are quite possessive about our own ways of making it. Each region in Maharashtra has a slightly different way of making Bharli Vangi though the base gravy more or less remains same with roasted onion, garlic and coconut comprising the masala for the gravy.
Let me walk you through these subtle differences in these preparations. Starting with Konkani method of making Bharli Vangi, we also add roasted peanuts to the gravy along with fresh coriander leaves to the masala paste. Finally, the preparation is spiced up with addition of homemade Malvani Masala – bottled spice that we make and store annually. Another variant of Bharli Vangi that is not as prevalent as the one described earlier is the one stuffed with dry shrimps. It’s a delicacy in a Konkani household during rainy season. As you head towards North Maharashtra, usage of Sesame seeds, Poppy seeds and Niger seeds become more common in this preparation. The nutty aroma of these roasted seeds add into the flavors.
Each region has a different bottled masala which gets added into this preparation. So while you are in Pune, a subtly spiced Goda Masala would be added to Bharli Vangi along with Jaggery and Tamarind, as you head towards Kolhapur, spice quotient of this dish is elevated by adding spicy Kanda Lasun masala . Towards Vidharba, an equally aromatic and spicy Kala masala replaces these bottled spices.
This explains why a Bharli Vangi that you have had in a Konkani wedding never tastes same as the one that you had on your food excursion in Kolhapur or a culinary experience that you had during trekking experience in Pratapgad or Sinhgad is different from the food taste in Vidharba. Check out our earlier version of Bharli Vangi too.
My domestic help Vitha Tai is my new found culinary advisor possessing a deep sense of knowledge about Solapuri cuisine. Of course all her knowledge can be attributed to the practical experience that she has gained over the years to her stay in Solapur. She was generous enough to share her heirloom recipe of Kala Masala with me without any fuss. She also parted away with her recipe of Bharli Vangi which uses Kala masala. As a token of appreciation I shared a batch of fresh Kala masala and Bharli Vangi with her that I made when I posted the recipe on the channel. Though I am not an expert in deciphering human emotions but I could see the thrill in her eyes when I shared the preparation with her.
So friends, here is the recipe for Bharli Vangi which is synonymous to the Marathi cuisine for non-Maharashtrians! Though, honestly I don’t subscribe to the idea of this comparison, as Marathi cuisine is too vast to be encompassed into one dish, sometimes I feel happy and proud that Bharli Vangi has reached this stage in its culinary journey.
Make this authentic Solapuri Bharli Vangi and share your feedback with us in comments section below.
- 325 gms medium sized Brinjals/Baby Eggplant-slit and soaked in salted water
- 1 small=60 gms Onions-finely chopped
- 2 mid-sized=125 gms Tomatoes-finely chopped
- 1-tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1-tsp Cumin Seeds
- ¼ th tsp Asafoetida Powder
- 1-tsp Turmeric Powder
- 10-12 Curry Leaves
- Cooking Oil
- 1 Cup=75 gms grated dry Coconut
- 1 small=60 gms Onions-finely chopped
- 3-tbsp Peanuts
- ¼ th Cup Fresh Coriander Leaves-with stems
- 2 Green Chilies
- 1-inch Ginger root
- 10-12 Cloves of Garlic
- 2-tsp Kashmiri red Chili Powder
- 1-tsp dry Coriander Powder
- 1½-tbsp Kala Masala (video link in description box)
- 2-tbsp White Sesame Seeds
- 1-tbsp Niger Seeds
- We will start with dry roasting of Peanuts in a Pan. Dry roast until Peanuts become brown in color. Peanuts become brown in 3-4 mins. Remove from pan.
- Now, we will roast ingredients for making Masala for this recipe. Add White Sesame Seeds in pan and roast until it becomes brown in color (2-3 mins). After Sesame Seeds, now roast Niger Seeds. We have roasted Niger Seeds for 2-3 mins on medium heat.
- Now dry roast grated dry Coconut in the pan until it becomes brown.
- Peel off the roasted peanuts and make a coarse powder (do not add water)
- Transfer remaining roasted ingredients- sesame seeds, Niger seeds and coconut to grinder. Add chopped Onions, Green Chilies, Ginger-Garlic and Coriander leaves with stem. Make a fine and thick masala paste. I have used ¼th cup water while grinding.
- Put Masala paste in a large bowl. Add dry Coriander Powder, Red Chili Powder and Kala Masala. Add Salt to taste and mix all the ingredients. Now, we will stuff this Masala in Brinjals. We have removed Brinjals from Salted water. Ensure it is slit along its length. (Do not cut it open completely).
- Stuff all the Brinjals with Masala. Brinjals are now stuffed and ready. We will use remaining masala paste in gravy.
- Heat 3-4 tbsp Cooking Oil in a pan. Now add Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Asafoetida Powder and Curry Leaves. Now add chopped Onions and fry until Onions become soft. After Onions have become soft in 4-5 mins, add chopped Tomatoes.
- Add Turmeric Powder and some Salt. Be careful while adding Salt. We have already added Salt to masala paste. Reduce the heat and cook covered.
- After 6 mins of covered cooking, tomatoes have become soft and mushy. Add stuffed brinjals and mix well. I have cleaned the blender jar with ½ cup water. Add this water in pan. Reduce heat and cook covered for 4-5 mins.
- We have cooked on low heat for 4-5 mins. Brinjals have changed its color and released some moisture in gravy. Add Masala paste to the pan and mix well.
- Now we will adjust the consistency of gravy. Add hot water. The consistency of this dish is slightly thicker so I am adding 1½ cups of hot water. Total water added in the recipe=2 Cups
- If you want to add some more salt, you can do it now. I am not adding any more salt. Let gravy boil on high heat. Reduce heat and cook covered until Brinjals are completely cooked.
- Uncover after 10 mins. Check if Brinjals are cooked. Some Brinjals are still not cooked. We will cook for few more mins. Cover and Cook. We have cooked for 5 more mins. Brinjals are now well cooked.
- Gravy has become slightly thick and will become more thick as it cools down. Add coarsely grounded peanuts and mix well.
- Bharli Vangi is now ready. Turn off the heat and serve hot.
- Bharli Vangi is ready and served with Ragi Bhakri. It can also be enjoyed with Jowar Bhakri, Rice flour Bhakri or with some steamed rice.
Click to watch recipe video