'Brinjal' translates to Vaingan in Konkani. and Sagle means 'whole'. So as you have guessed, Vaingana Sagle means Whole Brinjals! This is a very popular dish in Konkani cuisine and is served as a side for rice and dal. The brinjals used in this dish are usually the tiny purple variety which easily cook as a whole. These baby brinjals are stuffed and cooked in a gravy which is a blend of coconut, spices, roasted dal or peanuts. The curry paste is customized in every household to suit their preferences.
I have grown up savouring on my mum's preparation and now recently I got to taste my sister-in-law's variant. Both have different sets of ingredients for making their curry pastes and also the method of cooking the brinjals. My mum deep-fried the brinjals prior to stuffing and cooking them while my sis-in-law stuffed them while raw and steamed them. My mum used peanuts as a main ingredient to make her curry paste, while my sis-in-law used urid dal!
These variations give a new dimension to the dishes and both taste wonderfully different from the other, each yummy in its own way!
So, this is my take on this dish with main influence from my sis-in-law's method of preparation. I customised the curry paste to suit my liking. Don't these cute little purple binjals look pretty in the beautifully coloured gravy? Oh well... they tasted YUM! :)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Baby Brinjals - 8
Coconut - 1 cup, grated
Red Chillies - 3-4
Urid Dal - 1 tbsp
Channa Dal - 1 tsp
Coriander Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind Pulp - 1/4 tsp
Onion - 1 small, roughly chopped
Salt - to taste
Oil - as needed
- Wash the baby brinjals and pat dry.
- In a shallow bottomed pan, pour a tbsp of oil and add in the mustard seeds. Once it splatters, add in the urid dal and channa dal and saute. Allow it to turn lightly brown.
- Add in the onions and red chillies an saute till the onions turn transparent.
- Allow this mixture to cool and then transfer into a blender.
- Add in the grated coconut, tamarind, salt and blend to a fine paste by adding a little water. Keep this paste aside.
- Now, take a brinjal by holding it by the stalk. At the bottom, make two cross slices that go 3/4th the way. The cuts should not go all the way through as that would slice the brinjals into pieces. The binjal should be intact. Do this for all the brinjals.
- So, here is when you get all messy :) Once, all the brinjals are sliced, stuff them generously with the blended paste Make sure the paste gets in the slices and coats the insides of the brinjals well. Also, make sure you keep aside a portion of the curry paste for the gravy. Allow the stuffed brinjals to sit for about 10 minutes.
- In the pan, that was earlier used, heat half a tbsp of oil and pour in the curry paste meant for the gravy and cook for a while. Now, toss in all the stuffed brinjals, cover the pan with a lid and allow them to cook for about 10 minutes on medium flame.
- Check to see if the brinjals are soft on touch and appear to be cooked. Turn them over and allow for all sides to cook evenly.
- Once the brinjals appear completely cooked yet firm and not too mushy, switch off the flame and remove the pan from fire.
- Serve with rice and dal or with just plain white rice. Yum! :)
Variation: A simple variation to this dish would be adding in some finely diced onions in the oil before adding in the curry paste meant for the gravy and sauteing them till lightly brown. Then tossing in the gravy and cooking as usual. This gives the gravy an additional texture and flavour.