Goan style Bharilli Vangi – purple striped baby eggplants stuffed with a roasted coconut spice mix and then slow cooked with potatoes and some ghee.
The steam & water released from the eggplant & potato does everything! The skill is in ensuring the eggplants are meaty and the potatoes get fork-tender. The sauce should reduce and you start to see that sliver of ghee around the edges. This Bharilli Vangi (meaning stuffed eggplants) are perfect with rotis. You could also have it with steamed rice & yogurt.
This Goan bharilli vangi is a combination of some very bold spices so it is very important to make sure you don’t let them overpower the vegetables. The grated coconut (which I recommend using fresh if possible) helps mellow out the spices. You can adjust the chillies based on a spice level that works for you. You can also use a combination of Kashmiri and spicier dry red chillies). Be watchful when you toast the spices – you want to bloom them without burning.
The tamarind and jaggery helps bring about a great sweet/savoury/sour balance that stands up to a meaty vegetable like the eggplant well. Use eggplants that are young and fresh, it makes a world of difference not just in taste but also how quickly they cook.
Goan Bharilli Vangi
- 6 Striped Purple Eggplants (small)
- 1 Potato (peeled and cut into wedges)
- 1¼ cup Onion (finely chopped)
- ½ cup Fresh or Dry Coconut grated/shaved
- ¾ inch Cinnamon Stick
- 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 10 Black Peppercorns whole
- 7 Cloves whole
- 5 Whole Dry Red Chillies (Kashmiri & other)
- ¼ Caraway Seeds (shahjeera)
- ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tbsp Tamarind Pulp
- 1 tbsp Jaggery (grated)
- 1½ tbsp Ghee
- 1 tsp Canola oil
- ¼ cup Water
- Salt to taste
- Trim the stalks of the eggplant. Add cross slits along the bottom of the eggplant. Make sure the slits are only about 3/4th of the way upto to the stem. You want to ensure the eggplants hold their shape when you cook.
- Peel the potato and slice into wedges. Place in cold water until ready to use.
- In a pan, heat the oil. Add all of the whole spices (coriander seeds, black pepper, red chillies, caraway, cloves, cinnamon) and fry until they lightly sizzle and become aromatic on a medium to low flame. Set aside to cool. In the same pan, add a bit more oil, the 1 cup of onion and fry until completely softened and only starting to golden around the edges. Add the grated coconut moving continuosly until golden and toasted. Let it cool.
- Once the mixture has cooled, grind it with turmeric, jaggery, tamarind pulp, salt and a bit of water until you get a nice well-combined coarse paste.
- To this ground mix, add 1/4 finely chopped onion and combine. Stuff the eggplants with this mix.
- In a hot pan, add ghee. Place all the stuffed eggplants and potatoes, avoid overcrowding. Add the remaining spice mix on top of the vegetables. Cover and cook on the lowest flame until the eggplant and the potatoes are fork tender. Serve hot with rotis/flatbread.