Brinjal curry is one of my favorite, simple dinner recipes. Ready in just 30 minutes, this this healthy, flavorful Hyderabadi-style baingan masala is filled with diced brinjal, or eggplant, plus coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds.
Table of Contents
Why This Recipe Works
This special recipe is not your ordinary brinjal curry, made simply with an onion-tomato base and some spices.
While I have, of course, added those ingredients, I made a few key additions to more fully develop the flavors of this classic Indian dish: coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds.
The quick addition of these three simple ingredients makes all the difference in the flavor of this delicious brinjal curry.
I recommend mopping up those complex flavors with some flat breads like roti, naan, millet flatbreads like bajra bhakri or jowar bhakri, or my personal, quick and easy favorite, bread or pav (dinner rolls).
Inspired by my Capsicum Masala Recipe, this Hyderabadi-style baingan masala has the traditional curry ingredients you would expect, with just a few changes to the brinjal masala gravy.
Brinjal is nothing but eggplants and are also known as ‘baingan’ in Hindi. You can use any variety of brinjal in this curry recipe.
I chose to use used white brinjals. However, green or purple colored brinjals can be used, as well to make this baingan masala.
How to Make Brinjal Curry
1. First rinse and then quarter about 200 grams of brinjal or eggplant (7 to 8 medium sized eggplants). Immerse the brinjal pieces in salt water. This method removes bitterness from brinjal if any and prevents their discoloration.
NOTE: Make sure you add about ½ teaspoon of salt to the water before soaking the brinjal pieces.
Make Nuts and Seeds Mixture
2. Next, add 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds and 3 tablespoons of peanuts to a grinder/blender or spice-grinder.
3. Then add 6 tablespoons of desiccated coconut, ½ teaspoon coriander seeds and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds as well.
TIP: Replace coriander seeds with ½ teaspoon ground coriander (coriander powder) and cumin seeds with ½ teaspoon ground cumin (cumin powder)
4. Now grind the mixture to a fine texture and set aside.
TIP: Grind at intervals for a few seconds and then stop. Do not grind for a long period of time, as this will releases oil from coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds oil, which you do not want at this step of the brinjal curry recipe.
5. Next heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy pan or kadai or skillet. Then add ⅓ cup of chopped onions. Use any neutral oil or sunflower or peanut oil.
6. Stir and then begin to sauté the onions on medium-heat.
7. Continue to stir often and sauté the onions until they turn light golden.
Add Ginger & Garlic Paste
8. Now add 2 teaspoons of ginger-garlic paste to the brinjal curry mixture. For the paste, you can crush 1 inch of ginger and 5-6 medium-sized garlic cloves in a mortar-pestle.
9. Mix and sauté for a few seconds, until the raw aroma of both the ginger and garlic goes away.
Add Ground Nuts, Seeds Mixture
10. Now reduce to low heat and add the ground sesame seeds, peanut and coconut mixture.
11. On low heat, stir continuously and sauté the brinjal curry base until the powder becomes light golden and aromatic. Oil will also release from sides.
12. Continue sautéing the ground powder until it is light golden, for about 3 to 4 minutes on a low heat.
NOTE: Cook time for will vary depending on the size and thickness of pan and intensity of heat.
13. Now add ½ cup of tightly packed, finely chopped tomatoes.
NOTE: A bit of tamarind or even lemon juice can be added instead of tomatoes, if desired.
14. Then mix very well and continue to sauté. If you see the masala mixture sticking onto the pan, add a few splashes of water.
Mixing well, deglaze and remove any bits or pieces of the ingredients stuck on the pan. Continue to sauté.
15. Continue to sauté until the tomatoes soften. Then add 1 chopped green chili (about 1 teaspoon) and 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves.
16. Mix well.
Add in Chopped Brinjal or Eggplant
17. Next drain all the water from the soaking brinjals and add these to the masala base in the pan.
18. Then mix and sauté the brinjals for a minute on a low heat.
19. After that, add the following spice powders:
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder or sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
20. Again, mix well and sauté for another minute.
Cook Brinjal Curry
21. Now add 1¼ to 1½ cups of water.
22. Then season to taste with salt.
23. Mix again.
24. Then cover the pan with a lid.
25. Now simmer on low to medium-low heat, or until the brinjals are cooked well and tender. It will take about 12 to 15 minutes or more (depending on the variety and quality of brinjal) to get fully cooked.
NOTE: The brinjals should be tender but not mushy.
26. In between, be sure to check on the brinjal masala gravy and give it a stir. If the gravy looks thick you can add some more water.
27. Once the curry is cooked, you will see some oil floating on top. Switch off the heat and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves.
28. Mix once more time. Then check the taste of the brinjal curry and, if needed, add some more salt, red chili powder or garam masala powder.
29. Finally, serve your brinjal curry with chapati or paratha, steamed rice, veg biryani or jeera rice, green peas pulao or saffron rice.
You can also enjoy the baingan masala with bread or dinner rolls.
Storage and Leftovers
Store any leftover brinjal curry in an airtight container for up to 2 to 3 days in your refrigerator. Reheat in a pan until warm or hot. Serve your leftover baingan masala with your favorite sides as a nice, warm weeknight lunch or dinner.
- Brinjals (Eggplants): You can make this dish with any variety of brinjal. Make sure that they are fresh and not wilted. If there are too many seeds in the brinjal, then remove the seeds while chopping and discard them.
- Don’t over grind the nuts and seed mixture. Grind at intervals for a few seconds and then stop. Do not grind for a long period of time, as then oil will be released.
- Avoid too much bitterness. Brinjal, or eggplant, can have a very bitter taste. If you’re worried about this overpowering the curry, you can soak in salted water for at least an hour before cooking. This will draw out extra moisture and the extra bitterness.
- Check the consistency. If the mixture starts sticking to pan then add some water and continue to sauté. You can have a slightly thick or a slightly thin consistency by adjusting the amount of water in the curry.
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Brinjal Curry (Baingan Masala)
For soaking brinjals
- 200 grams brinjal or 7 to 8 medium sized brinjals (baingan)
- water – as required for soaking brinjals
- ½ teaspoon salt
To be ground
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (white)
- 3 tablespoons peanuts
- 6 tablespoons desiccated coconut
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 tablespoons oil – any neutral oil or sunflower or peanut
- ⅓ cup chopped onions or 1 medium-sized
- 2 teaspoons Ginger Garlic Paste or 1 inch ginger and 5 to 6 medium garlic cloves, crushed in mortar-pestle
- ½ cup tightly packed finely chopped tomatoes or 2 medium-sized
- 1 teaspoon chopped green chillies or 1 green chilli
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder or sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1.25 to 1.5 cups water or add as required
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- salt as required
- Rinse and then quarter brinjals. Immerse the brinjal pieces in enough water in which ½ teaspoon salt has been added.
- In a grinder jar take white sesame seeds, peanuts, desiccated coconut, coriander seeds and cumin seeds.
- Grind to a fine powder. Grind at intervals for some seconds and then stop. Do not grind at a stretch as this will release oils from the nuts and seeds.
Sautéing masala base
- Heat oil in a heavy pan or kadai (wok) or skillet. Add the chopped onions.
- Mix and then begin to sauté onions on a medium heat. Stirring often sauté onions until they turn light golden.
- Now add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for some seconds until the raw aroma of both ginger and garlic goes away.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the ground sesame seeds, peanut and coconut mixture.
- On a low heat stirring non-stop sauté until the nuts and seeds mixture becomes light golden and aromatic. Oil will also release from sides.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes.
- Mix very well and continue to sauté. If the masala mixture starts sticking to pan then add a few splashes of water. Mix deglaze and continue to sauté.
- Sauté until the tomatoes soften. Add chopped green chillies and chopped coriander leaves. Mix very well.
- Drain all the water from the bowl and add the chopped brinjals. Mix and sauté brinjals for a minute on low heat.
- Add turmeric powder, kashmiri red chilli powder and garam masala powder.
- Again mix well and sauté for a minute.
Cooking brinjal curry
- Add 1.25 to 1.5 cups water and season with salt as per taste. Combine and mix thoroughly.
- Cover the pan with a lid.
- On a low to medium-low heat simmer the curry until the brinjals are cooked well and tender.
- In between do check the brinjal masala gravy and give a stir. If the gravy looks thick, add some water.
- The brinjals have to be tender and cooked perfectly but not mushy. So do keep a check. Once the brinjal curry is cooked, you will see some oil floating on top.
- It will take about 12 to 15 minutes for the brinjals to get cooked. Switch off the heat and add 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves.
- Mix again. Check the taste of baingan masala and if required add some more salt or red chili powder or garam masala powder.
- Enjoy brinjal curry with chapati or paratha, steamed rice, veg biryani or jeera rice, green peas pulao or saffron rice.
- You can also have the curry with bread or dinner rolls.
- Store any leftover brinjal curry in an airtight container for up to 2 to 3 days in your refrigerator.
- Reheat in a pan until warm or hot. Serve your leftovers with your favorite sides as a nice, warm weeknight lunch or dinner.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This brinjal curry recipe post from the archives (January 2018) has been republished and updated on 19 March 2021.