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Baghara Baingan Eggplant in Peanut Gravy

What you need: 

1 large eggplant
1 cup peanuts
2 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
4 jalapeno peppers, quartered(optional)
1/4 size piece tamarind or 1 teaspoon paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
2 tablespoon grated coconut
4 bay leaves
5 tablespoon oil

What you do: 

This is a South Indian (Hyderabadi) recipe that you rarely, if ever, see in Indian restaurants.
Tamarind is a kind of sour dried fruit that you can get at an Indian grocery store in the form of a slab, or in the form of paste. Turmeric is also available in Indian stores.
Soak tamarind in water for an hour, or alternately, add water and microwave for a minute (If it is tamarind paste, omit this step. You can add it as is). Let cool.
Cut eggplant into large chunks (make sure all the chunks have some skin on them). Add to a pan with 4 tbs of oil, cover and cook on low for a few minutes until they are browned on one side. Turn over and cover and cook again, until they are tender.
Remove seeds and hard parts from the softened tamarind. Lightly toast peanuts and sesame seeds in a pan. Blend peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut,and tamarind with water. Add enough water so that the consistency is that of a thick sauce.
Remove the eggplant from the pan it has been cooked in. Add a tbsp of oil if the pan is dry, and add bay leaves, and the blended sauce. Cook the sauce for a couple of minutes, stirring all the while. Add the jalapeno peppers, salt, and turmeric. Add eggplant, cover tightly, and cook on a very low flame for ten minutes.
Best served with rice. Serve hot, but save some for the next day, when it tastes best.

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Love it. We added a carrot and a cup of peas to increase the veggie nutrients and used peanut butter instead of peanuts but it was lovely nonetheless. Thanks for a great recipe!

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