Bharli Vangi Recipe | Stuffed Brinjal

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For all Brinjal or Eggplant lovers, here is a traditional recipe of Stuffed Brinjal hailing from the Maharashtrian cuisine. Know as Bharli Vangi in Marathi, this dish features stuffed small brinjals in a gravy base of coconut, sesame seeds, peanuts, onions, tomatoes and spices. One of my favorite Brinjal Recipes, Bharli Vangi is also a vegan friendly preparation. This one is regular at my home. And I’m sure, once you try it, it’ll be the same at your home too.

bharli vangi in a small enamelled white wok.

About Bharli Vangi

Bharli Vangi is a classic brinjal recipe from the cuisine of Maharashtra and this one especially, is how my mother prepares it. In Marathi language, the word ‘bharli’ means ‘stuffed’ and ‘vangi’ is ‘brinjal/aubergine/eggplant or baingan.’ Hence, the dish is rightly named so.

Just like this Bharli Vangi made with brinjal, other vegetables like Okra (Bhendi), Bitter Gourd (Karela), Capsicum (Shimla mirch), potato, large green chilies, pointed gourd, bottle gourd etc. are also used to make ‘stuffed’ or ‘bharli/bharwan’ dishes.

Stuffing vegetables and turning them into flavorful dishes is a common thing in Indian cuisine. There are a variety of filling mixtures that vegetables can be stuffed with.

For instance, it can be a spice mixture, grated paneer or cottage cheese or even minced soya mixtures. These mixtures can be cooked and stuffed, or stuffed and then finally cooked in the veggies.

If you love having stuffed brinjal as a dish, then along with this Maharashtrian style Bharli Vangi, you should also try these recipes of Bharwa Baingan from North Indian cuisine, the Gutti Vankaya from the Andhra cuisine and the Ennegayi from the Karnataka cuisine.

There are major differences in all these variations, considering the varied ingredients used and the methods of preparation. These differences make each of the Stuffed Brinjal variant from these regional Indian cuisines, taste unique and distinct.

More My Recipe

This Bharli Vangi is a complex recipe to make. Cooking the brinjal or eggplant does not take much time. It is the preparation and stuffing that takes some time. You can even choose to add the brinjal in the chopped way. Check out the tips section to know how.   

Some of the typical ingredients that makes this Bharli Vangi Maharashtrian are peanuts, sesame seeds and coconut. These are roasted first and then ground with chopped onions, ginger and garlic into a smooth and thick paste.

This paste is what is used as a rustic mixture to stuff the brinjals. Also, if you are making the dish with chopped brinjals, this paste will add body to the gravy.  

The stuffed brinjals are then simmered and cooked in a masala curry base of onions, tomatoes and various ground spices.

For the Bharli Vangi, we need to use baby eggplants or small eggplants. This type is easily available in India. If you still have to make this recipe and do not have baby eggplants, you can then buy medium-sized eggplants, chop them and make this recipe.

Bharli Vangi pairs really well as a side dish with Indian flat breads like phulka, chapati, bhakri, paratha, poli, or even bread and steamed rice.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Bharli Vangi

Preparing Brinjals

1. Rinse 250 grams of small brinjals first. Slit them on 4 sides without breaking them apart. You can keep a portion of the stems, if you prefer.

Slightly pull apart the brinjal wedges and check to see if there are any worms in them. If you see black spots or worms, trash the brinjal.

Ensure to use small or baby brinjals. Usually to make this recipe, the small brinjals having tiny thorns are used.

Locally in Marathi language, they are called “kateri vangi“, where the word ‘kateri‘ means ‘thorny’ or ‘with thorns’.

cutting small brinjals.

2. Soak in salted water for 15 minutes. You can also chop them and soak in salted water. Soaking in salted water removes the bitter flavor from brinjals.

soaking cut eggplants in water.

Make Stuffing Masala

3. In a frying pan or kadai (wok), dry roast ¼ cup peanuts on medium-low to medium heat.

roasting peanuts to make bharli vangi.

4. Roast them until you see some blisters on them and they become crunchy.

peanuts roasted in pan.

5. When they get browned, add 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds.

sesame seeds mound on roasted peanuts.

6. Next, add ½ cup desiccated coconut or unsweetened shredded coconut. Mix and begin to roast the coconut stirring non-stop.

mound of desiccated coconut on peanuts.

7. When coconut turns light golden, add 5 to 6 small to medium chopped garlic cloves and 1 inch peeled and chopped ginger.

chopped ginger, garlic on top of coconut and peanut mix in pan.

8. Roast stirring non-stop until the coconut is browned and turns fragrant. You can also choose to roast each ingredient separately.

Set aside this mixture to cool at room temperature.

coconut browned and golden in pan.

9. When the coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds cool down, add them in a high-speed blender or grinder with ¼ cup roughly chopped onions.

coconut mixture and chopped onions in a blender.

9. Grind to a smooth and fine paste with 4 to 5 tablespoons water. Make a thick paste. Do not add too much water while grinding. 

If the paste gets a loose consistency, it will be difficult filling it in the brinjals.

ground masala paste in blender.

Stuff Brinjals and Sauté

10. Drain all the water from the brinjals. Place the brinjals on a plate or chopping board. Pat them dry with clean kitchen towel, if you prefer.

With a spoon, stuff the prepared masala paste inside each brinjal. Keep aside.

masala paste stuffed inside small eggplants to make bharli vangi.

11. In pan, heat 3 to 4 tablespoons peanut oil. Add ¼ cup chopped onions.

Instead of peanut oil, use sunflower oil or any neutral tasting oil.

onion sautéing in oil.

12. Sauté onions on low to medium-low heat till they turn light golden.

onions lightly golden.

13. Next, add ½ cup chopped tomatoes.

chopped tomatoes added to sautéed onions.

14. Mix and sauté till the tomatoes soften and turn mushy.

softened tomatoes in pan.

15. Add the following spice powders one by one:

  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons Goda Masala or swap with ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
ground spices added to softened tomatoes.

16. Stir to combine and mix. Sauté on low heat for some seconds till you get a nice aroma. 

ground spices mixed with sauteed onions and tomatoes.

17. Add remaining leftover coconut and peanut paste.

masala paste added to onion-tomato masala.

18. Mix and sauté for a minute.

masala mixed with onion-tomato paste.

Making Bharli Vangi

19. Finally place the masala stuffed brinjals in the pan in one single layer.

stuffed brinjals placed in pan on top of the masala.

20. Gently mix the stuffed brinjals with the rest of the masala.

stuffed brinjals mixed with the sautéed masala paste.

21. Add 1 cup water or as required. Mix the entire curry gently. For a more gravy, you can add more water. 1 cup water gives a slightly thick gravy. 

water added to pan and mixed to get a gravy or curry.

22. Add salt to taste.

salt being added with a spoon.

23. Cover and let the brinjals cook for 20 to 22 minutes on low to medium-low heat. Keep checking in between and if the stuffed brinjals looks a bit dry, then add some more water.

pan covered with lid to cook stuffed brinjal.

24. Switch off the heat, when the brinjals are fork tender. You will also see some oil floating on the top layer of the gravy. This means that the Bharli Vangi gravy or curry is cooked through.

gravy cooked through with some oil floating on top.

25. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves.

chopped coriander leaves on top of the bharli vangi curry.

26. Serve Bharli Vangi hot or warm with steamed rice, chapati, bhakri, poli or paratha.

While serving, you can drizzle some lemon juice, if you want. You can also garnish with a few coriander leaves while serving.

bharli vangi in a small enamelled white wok with a bowl of chapattis and onion slices kept in the background.

Expert Tips

  1. Eggplant: Use small or baby brinjals to make this recipe. These variety of brinjals soften and become mushy when cooked. Do not use the large variety of eggplant as they do not become mushy and remain spongy after cooking.
  2. Sourness: Tamarind can be used instead of tomatoes. If using tamarind, then add a bit of jaggery or sugar to balance the sour taste. Since tomatoes are added, no need to add jaggery.
  3. Coconut: You can even use fresh or frozen coconut. But the taste with either will be different.
  4. Spice alternative: In place of goda masala powder, you can also add garam masala powder in this dish.
  5. Make without stuffing brinjals: If you do not want to stuff brinjals, then chop them and soak them in salted water for 15 minutes. In this case, first sauté the onions and tomatoes. Add the ground masala paste, spice powders and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes till you see oil separating from the sides. Then, add chopped brinjals followed by water and salt. Cover and cook until brinjals are softened.

More Brinjal Recipes To Try!

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close up shot of bharli vangi or stuffed brinjal in a white dish.

Bharli Vangi | Stuffed Brinjal

Bharli Vangi is a Stuffed Brinjal variant and a delicacy from the Maharashtrian cuisine. It is made with baby eggplants or small brinjals. This robust and delicious curry has small brinjals stuffed with a coconut, peanut and sesame seeds paste, and later cooked in a gravy base of onions, tomatoes and spices.
4.82 from 22 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Cuisine Maharashtrian
Course Main Course
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

For stuffing masala

  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves – small to medium sized, peeled and chopped
  • 1 inch ginger – peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup onions – roughly chopped
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons water – for grinding or blending

Other ingredients

  • 250 grams brinjals – small or baby brinjals
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons peanut oil – can swap with sunflower oil or any neutral flavored oil
  • ¼ cup onions – chopped
  • ½ cup tomatoes – chopped
  • 1 pinch asafoetida – hing, optional
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or red chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons Goda Masala or ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup water or add as required
  • salt as required
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coriander leaves – chopped

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Rinse the brinjals first a few times in water. Cut each brinjal into four parts without breaking them.
  • Slightly pull apart the brinjal wedges and check to see if there are any worms in them. If you see black spots or worms, discard the brinjal.
  • Soak the brinjals in salted water for 15 mins. You can also dice them and soak in salted water.
  • Dry roast the peanuts first, when they start to become brown and have a few blisters on them, add the white sesame seeds followed by desiccated coconut.
  • Next add chopped ginger and garlic and stir to mix.
  • Roast the coconut stirring non-stop until golden or browned and it should smell fragrant.
  • Set aside this roasted mixture to cool.
  • When the coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds cool, add them in a high-speed blender or grinder.
  • Also add ¼ cup roughly chopped onions.
  • Grind to a fine, thick and smooth paste with 4 to 5 tablespoons water. Make sure that the paste is not runny or thin.
  • Transfer this paste into a bowl or a plate and set aside.

Follow this method if brinjals are not chopped

  • Drain all the water thoroughly from the soaked brinjals. Place the brinjals on a plate or chopping board.
  • Pat them dry with clean kitchen towel, if you prefer. With a spoon, stuff each brinjal with this ground masala. Set aside.
  • In pan heat peanut oil. Add ¼ cup chopped onions and sauté them on low to medium-low heat until they turn light golden.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté until they turn mushy.
  • Next add these ground spice powders – turmeric powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, asafoetida.
  • Also add either 2 teaspoons of goda masala or ½ teaspoon of garam masala.
  • Stir to mix evenly and sauté for some seconds until the masala smells fragrant.
  • Add the remaining ground coconut and peanut paste and sauté for a minute. 
  • Gently place the stuffed brinjals on the sautéed masala mixture. Mix gently to combine.
  • Add 1 cup water and salt as needed. Cover with lid and on low to medium-low heat, simmer for 20 to 22 minutes or until the brinjals are fork tender.
    Do check a few times and if the gravy looks very thick, add some water.
  • Turn off heat when the brinjals are fork tender. Lastly add chopped coriander leaves and mix.
  • Serve Bharli Vangi hot or warm with rice or chapati or bhakri.

Follow this method if brinjals are chopped

  • In pan heat oil, add the onions and sauté them till they soften.
  • Add tomatoes and sauté until the tomatoes soften.
  • Next add the prepared masala paste and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until you see oil releasing from the sides.
  • Add the all the ground spice powders and sauté for a few seconds.
  • Add in the chopped brinjals and stir to mix them with the masala paste in the pan
  • Next add water, salt as per taste. Mix the entire curry.
  • Cover with lid and let the brinjals cook until tender and softened. When the dish is ready, garnish with coriander leaves. 
  • Serve Bharli Vangi hot with steamed rice or poli or chapati.

Notes

  • Recipes like these taste best when made with small or baby brinjals as they soften quickly and become mushy. Do not use the large and lighter variety of dark purple eggplants as they do not taste good in this recipe.
  • You can add tamarind instead of tomatoes. If using tamarind, then add a bit of jaggery or sugar to balance the sour taste. Here since in the recipe, tomatoes are added, there is no need to add jaggery.
  • You can opt to add fresh or frozen coconut instead of desiccated coconut. But the taste will change slightly.                
  • For a medium consistency gravy, add slightly more than 1 cup of water. 
  • To make a spicy Bharli Vangi, add more Kashmiri red chilli powder or use a spicy red chilli powder.
  • The recipe cannot be scaled as is, due to its complex nature.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Bharli Vangi | Stuffed Brinjal
Amount Per Serving
Calories 269 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Sodium 308mg13%
Potassium 383mg11%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 263IU5%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.1mg7%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.1mg6%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 2mg10%
Vitamin B6 0.2mg10%
Vitamin C 7mg8%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 5µg5%
Calcium 55mg6%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 33µg8%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 50mg13%
Phosphorus 102mg10%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This Bharli Vangi recipe from the archives first published in July 2011 has been republished and updated on December 2022.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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68 Comments

  1. Hi! Can we make the stuffing mixture before and store for later use ? Maybe freeze it ?

    1. I would not recommend making it before and keeping at room temperature as the coconut will become rancid. I also do not recommend freezing as preparations like this recipe are best in flavor, taste and nutrition when made and cooked fresh.

  2. You made cooking so much easier,I regularly follow your recipes, it could be a simple Rasam or biriyani.Thanks much for sharing.

    1. thanks a lot. glad to read your comment. most welcome and happy cooking.

  3. Amazing recipe. Made it without onion and garlic and came out yummy! Love your recipes and the ease with which you cook. Very inspiring. Thank you so much.

    1. you can soak halved onions in water for some 15 to 20 minutes and them chop them. this will reduce the tears coming from eyes while chopping onions. i had also heard of keeping bread in the mouth while chopping onions, but don’t know if it works. what works for me while cutting onions is that i wear specs and the soaking method ????

      1. I had read about the soaking method but didn’t know the duration. Once I tried after soaking for some seconds. Obviously it didn’t help much.
        Another thing was that after soaking, I found the onions too slippery to cut. I guess after soaking, one should just place the halved piece on board & chop it chef style- without requiring to move the slippery slices.

        Specs.. That’s interesting. I hope you mean the usual specs that are worn for eye power correction. There are some sites that suggest wearing scuba/swimming goggles, which I think will make one look very weird while working in the kitchen..

        1. ruchi, soak for at least some minutes. it does help. slipperiness is due to the thin transparent cover on the onions. if you remove this cover, the onions won’t feel slippery. the specs is the regular spectacles. i have a minimum number for short sightedness. hence even when cooking i have to use specs. or else it puts strain on the eyes. plus also while using camera, i have to use specs. even i read about the googles which will look funny when working in the kitchen.

  4. Absolutely loved this receipe. Followed it to the T with a little variations here and there. But the result was damn nice. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. could one use tahini and peanutbutter in this recipe instead of peanuts and sesameseeds? The peanutbutter and tahini are both just peanuts and sesame, nothing else.

    1. peanut butter has a different consistency than ground peanuts along with coconut and spices. so is the case with sesame seeds. i feel replacing peanut butter and tahini will give a completely different flavor and taste in the recipe if used. so this need experimentation.

  6. Thank you so much for the recipe.
    Can normal scraped coconut be used instead of dessicated coconut in the recipe?
    Is dessicated coconut kopra?5 stars

  7. hi dassana ma’am,
    i tried the bharli vangi recipe and it was superb. thanks a lot for this recipe. 🙂

  8. The curry looks really nice… I have baby egg plants with me, I think I should give it a try.
    If I don’t wish to use onion-garlic, can I grind the masala with tomatoes & ginger?
    According to the pics, it seems that the oil has separated from the curry after the last step of cooking for nearly 30 min..
    Is this when the masala will get cooked & leave oil? (Like in other recipes where this oil-separating event occurs by roasting tomatoes)
    Thank you..

    1. ruchi, onion and garlic bring a lot of flavor in the recipe. i suggest you to add a generous pinch of hing after the onions are sauteed. you can use tomato and ginger. oil will separate once the gravy has cooked. if oil has not separated the gravy is not cooked yet. it can take less than 30 minutes as it depends on the quality of brinjal. baby brinjal will cook faster than small brinjals.

  9. Hi mam, recipe turned very yummy.. specially gravy
    thankyou so much… 🙂
    but mam instead of brinjals we cant use any other vegetable or paneer ???5 stars

    1. thanks for this feedback prita. you can use mix veggies (cauliflower + peas + carrot + beans + potatoes). no need to stuff the masala. just add the veggies directly. you can also just make with capsicum or potatoes. even paneer can be added.

  10. Hi, Hope you are doing good.

    I wanted to make it for a long time and tried this recipe yesterday. The tangy peanut masala taste yummy. It tuned out very yummy, thanks for the recipe.

    I made the stuffed version of it. After cooking for 15 minutes I tasted the masala (gravy) but it was toooo raw. I waited for 5 more minutes but still it was same. Finally I added a lot of oil for masala to cook. I think for stuffed version 2tbsp oil is very less.

    1. thanks om. 2 tbsp oil is enough for this recipe. the sesame seeds and peanuts also release oil and hence the dish ends up becoming more oily if more oil is added. generally bharli vangi has some extra oil added. i usually avoid it. the masala stuffing is cooked as peanuts, coconut and sesame seeds are roasted before. while steaming the onions, ginger and garlic in the masala paste also gets cooked. so more cooking time will cook the masala. i will update the post with more amounts of oil, in case any reader wants to add some more oil.

  11. hi
    many thanks for this recipe . the gravy is spot on and so are your measurements. made this and was very tasty. One query though. I have followed everything to the T here and yet the brinjals took very long to cook and were sort of raw in the middle (near the stem area). Also the flavour of the gravy had not seeped into the flesh. Could you point out what I am doing wrong here? thanks. Keep up the good work.4 stars

    1. thanks vidkrish. depending on the quality of veggies, they may take less or more time to cook. in this recipe, generally small brinjals are used as they cook faster as compared to the medium sized ones. when you slice them for stuffing, then the masala has to be stuffed very well. if the masala is not stuffed well, then the flavors won’t come through in the brinjal. since the brinjals are uncooked, you can add some water (if the masala or gravy looks dry) and cook them till they are done.

  12. Hai amit, I’m big fan of ur recepies it all taste awesome
    As I don’t know d abcd of cooking Bt now a days getting nice comments frm my hubby
    Thanks a lot n keep posting.

  13. Did everything as per the instructions except for leaving the brinjals in salted hot water for 20 minutes.
    Still turned out good. Many thanks5 stars

  14. I tried this recipe today and it was a big hit. Never thought I could make such a rich and flavorful dish on a weekday 🙂 I used less oil that suggested , used ginger garlic paste and didn’t grind the onion as suggested. It still turned out awesome. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. thanks malini for this positive feedback. in fact a lot of oil is used in bharli vangi. one of maharashtrian friends makes it really well but with lots of oil. but too good and tasty 🙂 onions can be chopped.

  15. Yummy dish. Tried today and my husband loved it. Thank you for sharing this recipe

  16. Nice receipe and the pics are classic..i never knew that we should use sesame seeds..i will try it..the only variation made by my mother is using tamarind and little jaggery instead of tomato…Keep sharing and have fun4 stars

    1. thanks kshipra. i know about this variation which your mom uses. may be i should try this method soon.

  17. I did it today and it turned out very well. I did add half teaspoon cuscus while frying peanut. Thank you so much. I learnt this from my very close friend Mrs. Rosy I Bhandarkar in Bahrain, back at 1982…. We used to call it Pakisthani dish…thank you Roshni Aunty…God bless….

  18. SUGGEST INSERT PAGE NUMBERS. EASIER TO PRINT ONLY THE INGREDIENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS. THANKS.5 stars

    1. in print out, the photograph is not printed. only the ingredients and instructions are printed.

  19. Superb!!! i have seen different versions of this recipe, my mom being from marathwada, i used to feel strange how a tacky veggie like brinjal can be cooked for wedding feast ( kids never like brinjals, do they??) but as i grew up i found how flavourful and tasty eggplants are…always longed to make bharli wangi…will make this recipe soon!!! and yes im glad that despite of being calorie conscious you have added enough oil which is a must for this recipe…the pics are very artful and classy 🙂

    1. thanks tanvi. in fact i have added less oil than what is usually added. but i like the extra oil in bharli vangi and it does bring out the flavors of the masala so well.

  20. Hi, recipe turned very yummy..
    I never thought i would make such nice maharashtrian recipe.
    thankyou so much.5 stars

  21. Hi, first time my husband liked Bharli vangi made by me, more than how his mom makes.
    🙂 Thanks for the lovely and yummy recipe.

  22. Great recipe. My only recommenda.tion mix salt with the ground masala and then stuff. This made the vegetable tastier than bland

  23. wow i cooked it, its very good taste……………………
    thanks a lot……………………..