Bharleli Vangi (Stuffed Aubergine)

Bharleli Vangi

Bharleli Vangi (Stuffed Aubergine)

Recipe by Ajoy Joshi, founder and chef of the highly acclaimed restaurant Nilgiri’s in Sydney, Australia. Recipe reproduced with the kind permission of Ajoy Joshi.

Bharleli Vangi (Stuffed Aubergine)
Recipe Type: Vegan
Author: Ajoy Joshi
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2 as part of an Indian meal
Here is my version of a dish called ‘Stuffed Eggplant’ that the French call ‘Aubergines Farces’ and the Italians ‘Melanzane Ripieni alla Calabrese’. My dish is called ‘Bharleli Vangi’ which hails from the coastal region of Maharashtra in Western India. I assure you that once you make this, and your friends eat it, the other two will become history! Believe you me. This dish can be made with baby cucumbers or baby courgettes instead of the baby eggplants. Trust me, cook it for a meat-eating friend who thinks vegan food is for rabbits. They will be amazed. Anah Daata Sukhi Bhava! (Let the food giver lead a happy life.)
  • 6 baby eggplants
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2½ tablespoons vegetable garam masala
  • 1½ cups desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons water with 1 tablespoon salt, or 4 tablespoons vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  2. Add 1 tablespoon salt to 1/2 litre of tepid water in a large bowl to immerse the deseeded eggplant.
  3. Slice top off the eggplant.
  4. Score the diameter of the circle using the tip of a sharp knife.
  5. Scoop out the eggplant seeds (the scored circle will prevent the eggplant skin from tearing).
  6. Scoop out the seeds until you can insert the teaspoon one inch into the eggplant’s length (in total, remove about 1 teaspoonful from each eggplant).
  7. Place the scooped eggplants into the bowl of saltwater you prepared earlier – this will reduce the bitterness of the eggplant and prevent any discolouring of the inside.
  9. Heat frying pan, then heat 3 tablespoons of the oil and add ginger paste.
  10. Fold until ginger almost caramelised.
  11. Reduce heat, add turmeric and fold gently.
  12. Add chilli and fold.
  13. Fold in garam masala, then add coconut and fold until coconut begins to caramelise.
  14. Finally, fold in salt.
  15. Remove half the filling and place in small bowl. Leave remaining filling in the pan to make the sauce, later.
  16. Add coriander to the bowl and set aside.
  17. Return to the eggplants and dry each by using a clean tea-towel.
  18. With a small spoon, scoop up some of the filling and insert into each eggplant.
  19. Press down the filling firmly with the teaspoon.
  20. Once stuffed, set aside the eggplant and repeat for each remaining eggplant.
  21. Meanwhile, in a clean frying pan, heat remaining oil until it starts to smoke. Add stuffed eggplants, one at a time, and cook until skin is crisp.
  22. Cover pan and slow cook until inside of eggplants are cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
  24. Heat pan with remaining filling and fold in tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft (add any remaining filling to pan).
  25. Add water, or stock, and bring to the boil.
  26. Reduce heat and cook until sauce has thickened.
  27. Place a banana leaf on a plate.
  28. Place sauce on the banana leaf.
  29. Stand the eggplants in the sauce.
  30. Add remaining sauce on top of the eggplants.
  31. Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice to bring out the aroma of the dish.
  32. Serve with a chappati or bread of your choice.

To see a step by step version of this recipe with images, check out Ajoy’s blog – An eggplant (aubergine) dish that’s fit for a vegan king!

Nilgiri’s, 81 Christie Street, St Leonards, NSW, Australia
02 9966 0636

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