Mama’s Punjabi Recipes — Hyderabadi Baingan (HYDERABAD STYLE EGGPLANT)



• 1 kg small elongated baingan (eggplant)

• 2 medium pyaaz (onion) peeled and finely chopped

• 2 medium tamater (tomato) – soft ones are best, chopped

• 5 cloves of lasan (garlic) peeled and finely chopped

• 1 tablespoon adrak (gin ger) – peeled and finely chopped

• 6 tablespoons of veg etable or olive oil

• Spices (to taste): namak (salt), mirch (red pep per), haldi (turmeric), dhania (coriander), garam masala

Here is another eggplant dish, but this time it is of a style from the South, although it is quite popular in the North too. The main difference is that in the Punjabi style, the spices are filled between the slices and garlic is not used. As I have said before, eggplants are very popular in India and the three dishes I have presented show the variety of styles they can be cooked in.

The trick to cooking all these three dishes is to make sure that the eggplant is not overcooked as it loses its taste. If cooked with the skin on, overcooking will make it crispier, but it also makes the skin tougher. If cooked too long, whole eggplant becomes a puree and you cannot tell what you are eating. If bharta is overcooked, then it will give a mushy and maybe even burnt taste.

For this recipe, choose elongated, small eggplants that are not heavy: a heavy one means that it has a lot of seeds. Choose the one that is tender but does not collapse when squeezed. Also, the green shoot (dandal) should not have any dark spots on it. This dish uses the masala recipe, which is also used in many Indian dishes.


1. Rinse and dry the eggplant then make two cuts in it, lengthwise, but do not split the eggplant. You can leave the green shoot on as it is full of many minerals, but if you prefer, remove only the shoot, leaving the eggplant still attached.

2. Heat the oil on a high flame in a skillet, wok or kadai. Throw in the eggplant and stir quickly, make sure not to break off the cut pieces. Cover for five minutes, then open and carefully turn the eggplant and leave for another 10 minutes to allow them to cook well.

3. Now prepare the masala in a medium frying pan, heat 4 tablespoons of oil over medium heat, then add the onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Stir well to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the mixture is slightly brown, add the spices and stir well.

4. Pour the masala over the eggplants and coat them, stirring carefully. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low and let the eggplants cook in their own steam for 10 minutes.

5. The dish is ready to eat, usually with roti, parantha or any variety of bread. You can eat the shoots as the edible part should peel off easily leaving only the thick stem behind.

mamas recipe inside3Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.