Gota Masala Bhara Baingana (Stuffed Brinjal)

The humble brinjal (baingan, kathrikai) is a really versatile vegetable. I used to hate it as a child. I now pick up various varieties of brinjals every week. Of late, I have been fortunate to find white brinjals (one of my favourites) at the weekly organic market at Sushant Arcade. I just love the white brinjal/lobia (cowpea, karamani) preparation. I wonder why this preparation cannot be done with other brinjal varieties!
My post today is about the delectable Odia stuffed brinjal. Do try it. It’s delicious!

Ingredients
7-8 small, round purple brinjals
2 onions, sliced fine
6-8 garlic flakes
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp cashew butter
1/2 tbsp date paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
Salt to taste
Method
Wash and dry the brinjals
Set aside
Prepare the stuffing
Heat a pan
Add onions and garlic flakes
Sprinkle a little water
Cook on medium heat for 7-8 minutes till onions turn translucent
Remove from flame and cool
Grind to a paste, adding a little water
Transfer to a bowl
Add cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, cashew butter, date paste and salt
Mix well
Set aside
Take each baingan and slit it into 4 sections, from the base, the opposite side of the stem, without cutting through
Gently separate the sections (without breaking them) and stuff the masala
Repeat for each baingan
Set the remaining masala aside
Heat a pan
Add cumin seeds and let them splutter
Add fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves
Roast for a few seconds
Now place the stuffed baingan in the pan, add the remaining paste, add 1/4 cup water and cook on low flame for 20-30 minutes
Stir occasionally, without breaking the baingan
When baingan is cooked, remove from flame
Serve hot with red/brown rice or roti
Enjoy!

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