Bagaaray Baigan is a famous dish from Hyderabad that was introduced by the Nizams, the longstanding rulers of the city. The Nizams, who were an off-shoot of the Mughal Empire, introduced their cuisine and soon intertwined with the existing South Indian flavors of the region to make what is the current cuisine of Hyderabad. Bagaaray Baigan is composed of small eggplants tempered with various spices and tamarind pulp, a key ingredient popular to the region. It is now popularly served as a side dish to the famous Hyderabadi Biryani, but is also just as delicious with simple white rice or naan. This dish is the cousin to the another side dish of Biryani, Mirchi Ka Salan, which is derived from he same concept with a few minor changes, notably the use of peppers instead of eggplants.
Dry Spices for the Paste:
2 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
3 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
3 Tbsp Peanuts
4 Tbsp Dry Coconut Powder
1 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
1 Tbsp Cashews
1 Large Onion Sliced
1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 Tbsp Red Pepper Powder
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Cup Oil
For the Tempering:
1 lb Purple Indian Eggplants
2 Sprigs Curry Leaves
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 Tsp Kalaunji(Black Seeds)
4-5 Whole Green Chili’s
3 Tbsp Tamarind Pulp
1. Take a small pan and dry roast on a low flame the following spices individually for the paste: Cumin, Coriander, Peanuts, Coconut Powder, Poppy Seeds, and Cashews.
2. Next, heat about 1/2 cup oil in the pan and add the onions. Caramelize the onions to a light brown color. Let cool.
3. In a blender, add the spices, caramelized onion(with the oil used for frying it), ginger-garlic paste, red pepper powder, turmeric, and salt. Add about 2 cups of water and blend into a smooth paste.
4. Now prepare the eggplants. Wash clean and dry completely. Leave the stem on so it does not fall apart while cooking. Next, cut 2 slits in the eggplant from the bottom to form an X(See pic below).
5. Now you are ready to start the next step of tempering.
6. Take a pot and heat half a cup of oil. Turn the heat to low and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black seeds, and curry leaves. Cover if needed, as it may splatter.
7. Next, add the eggplants and green chilis. Fry everything together until the eggplant starts to change to a brown color(5 minutes).
8. Add the paste of spices and mix together. Keep on low and simmer for about 15 minutes until the eggplants are cooked and soft.
9. Now take the tamarind pulp and dilute in about 1/2 cup water. Add to the pot and stir. You will see the color change to a darker brown hue(Depending on the color of your tamarind). Adjust salt if needed. Let simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat until the oil starts to separate.
Bagaaray Baigain is now ready to enjoy!
Kichdi (Red Lentil and Rice)
Kichdi, Khatta, Anda, Papad...When all put together, you have the most popular breakfast meal in Hyderabad. Growing up, it was tradition for my mom to make Kichdi for Sunday Brunch every week. Kichdi is a very healthy dish that simply consists of ‘rice and lentils’. Yet, it is only one component of the entire meal. It is traditionally served with a chutney called Khatta, that is made of tamarind. Along with it, we either make an omelette called ‘pyaaz ka anda’, kheema(ground beef), or a fine delicacy of Hyderabad, ‘talay huway gurday kaleji’(fried kidney and liver). It is then paired with mango pickle, some ghee, and pappadums for some crunch. Now you have a meal! Obviously, this is not a light meal when put together, so it has become more of a staple meal for Sunday dinners in my home and is a popular favorite among the family.
Do check out the side dishes for Kichdi below:
Pyaaz Ka Anda
1 1/2 Cups Rice
1/2 Cups Red Lentils(Masoor Ki Daal)
1 Medium Onion Sliced
1 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Tsp Shah Zeera
4 Pods Cardamom
1 Cinnamon Stick
3 Cups Water
2 Tsp Salt
1. Take the rice and lentils and wash them thoroughly. Cover with water and let soak.
2. In a medium pot, heat 1 tbsp oil and fry the onion until slightly browned.
3. Turn the heat to low, add the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, shah zeera, cardamom, and cinnamon stick. Sauté all the ingredients together well.
4. Drain the water from from the rice and lentils mixture and add to the onions.
5. Lightly sauté and mix everything together. Add the 3 cups of water and salt. On medium heat, bring the water to boil. Cook until the rice is about 3/4 cooked then cover the pot and let cook on a low flame for about 15 minutes until the rice and lentils on completely cooked.
Khatta (Tamarind Chutney)
Khatta, which means 'sour' in Urdu, is a popular condiment served with the famous Hyderabadi breakfast, Kichdi. In Hyderabad, khatta, is traditionally made with fresh tamarind pulp. Many people add roasted sesame seed and peanut paste to it as well, to make till ka khatta, or sesame and tamarind chutney. I grew up eating khatta without any sesame seeds so traditionally I make the simple khatta using only tamarind pulp. A tadka, or tempering, of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, curry leaves, and whole dry red pepper is added to finish it off. Be sure try it out next time you make kichdi.
1 Small Onion Finely Sliced
1 Tsp Red Pepper Powder
2 Tsp Salt
2 Green Chili's Finely Chopped
2 Tbsp Finely Chopped Cilantro
2 Tbsp Tamarind Concentrate
2 Cups Water
Optional: You may add 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds and 1 Tbsp roasted peanuts ground into a fine powder for till ka khatta.
2 Tbsp Oil, 1 Tbsp Mustard Seeds, 1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds, 1 Tsp Coriander Seeds, 4-5 Whole Dry Red Peppers(Bagaar ki Mirch), 1/2 tsp Turmeric, and 2 Sprigs Curry Leaves
1. In a bowl, put the tamarind concentrate and add the 2 cups of water and set to soak for about 5 minutes.
2. In a separate bowl, take the onions, red pepper powder, green chili's, and cilantro, and mix everything together.
3. Take the soaked tamarind paste and mix well until dissolved into the water completely. Then slowly add to the onion mixture and mix well.
4. Take a small pan and heat the 2 Tbsp oil for tempering. Once the oil is heated, turn the flame to low, and add each ingredient one by one for tempering. Once it started splattering a little, turn the heat off and allow to cool for a few minutes.
5. Slowly add the tadka to the tamarind and onions mixture. Now your khatta is ready to enjoy with fresh, warm kichdi.