May 25, 2012

The Eggplant/Brinjal grandeur - Dahi Baigana/ Dahi Baingan

My irrational inclination towards Eggplant (Brinjal/ Baigana as its known in my side of the world ) has always baffled quite a few people.
Need I say, I adore it!  
It's meaty texture and distinctive oomph stand out on its own. Be it the simple stir fry a.k.a. bhaja (a generic Odia term for stir fried dishes) or the very subtle Baigana poda usually accompanying our dear Pakhala (a very authentic fermented water rice dish). It's variations are innumerous but no matter what, it does leave behind a cherished food memory. No wonder, that Eggplant Parmigiana is usually the substitute to numerous meat dishes in the Western menu. Makes a lot of sense.

All said and done, I agree to the fact that its actually quite easy to mess up this veggie when ignorant of some essentials. Some tricks here n there and we are all set! Out of all the various renditions, one very distinctive preparation is the Dahi Baigana - Fried eggplant and onion marinated with savory yogurt. It's a raita- a yogurt based dish that acts as a palate soother to the spicy spread of dishes on any Indian menu.

This specific dish I am writing about is a typical Odia raita that is dished out during special occasions that manages to compliment the flavors and aroma of the several other dishes, all the while keeping its distinct identity. Yogurt imparts a very creamy texture to the preparation and cuts down on any fattiness that may come from the fried eggplant and onions.

Dahi Baigana / Dahi Baingan

Marinated and fried eggplant pieces marry well with sweet fried onions in a savory yogurt base to make up a distinctly cherished eggplant memory. You will love it I swear..:)


2 nos. Japanese eggplant or regular sized brinjal.

Note: I have tried this recipe both with regular eggplants available here in the US and Japanese ones, and I must say that the sweetness of the Japanese eggplants makes it win hands down. All said, this dish works great with regular eggplants too. So go ahead and experiment.

Pinch of salt
1/4th tsp Turmeric powder.
1/4th tsp chilli powder
1 large sized onion or 2 regular sized ones - Cut in juliennes.
Oil for frying.
1 C Yogurt/Curd
Pinch of salt
Pinch of rock salt (Optional)
1/4 th tsp Sugar
1/4th C +1 or 2 Tbsp water

For the tempering:
1/4 th tsp of mustard seeds
2-3 Slit green chillies
Few curry leaves (optional)


1. Cut the eggplant and the onions into thin strips and marinate the eggplant pieces with salt, turmeric powder and chili powder.Let it sit for 5-10 minutes till the eggplant pieces soften down a bit.
Insider's note: Marinating the eggplant ensures that the somewhat bitter taste that can usually mar the taste is leached out during the process leaving you with sweet tasting wonders.

2. Fry both till soft and lightly browned.Note: These can be done in advance and kept in the fridge.

3.To prepare the yogurt, add salt, rock salt, and sugar. Add about 1/4th cup of water to make it slightly thin in consistency.If you like it thinner, then add in 1-2 T more water.Then add in the fresh out-of-the-oil fried onions and eggplants to the yogurt mixture.
Note: If using eggplant pieces and onions fried in advance, heat them up in the microwave (~30 secs) and add it to the yogurt mixture.

4. For the tempering, heat up 1/2 tbsp of oil, add in mustard seeds, chilies and curry leaves if available. Then add it to the yogurt mix.Let it sit for 20-30 mins to an hour before serving.This ensures that all the flavors meld in well making it a cohesive preparation.

This savory and sweet raita can be prepared both with or without onions but the sweetness of fried onions elevates the dish to an all together different level. It isn't quite difficult either when its prepared with other dishes especially the Piaja Pulao which also uses up fried onions. So two dishes with a similar ingredient playing two different roles and having very different flavors. Doesn't that make a few things in your long to-do list before a party just a lot easier?

Well, leaving you guys with a reason to start adoring this under-rated eggplant and handing it with its due respect, I sign off for my Memorial day weekend vacation.

Have a great weekend folks!
P.S: I am sending this entry to :
 - "Guest Quest" hosted by Amina
 - "Walk through memory lane" by Jayanthi and Gayatri.
 - "Mom's recipe" hosted by Sravs. 
 - "From the Royal kitchen" by Pari and Divya
 - "Let's cook with fruits" hosted by Nayna
- "Let's Cook with yoghurt" hosted by Nayna


  1. The raita looks so tasty... I love brinjals.will try it out.

  2. Whether one acquires the liking of eggplants, your description sure would many anyone want to like it. Loved reading it and the raita looks absolutely fantastic. I've never had eggplant in raita...some thing new for me to learn here. Thanks for linking this entry to WTML event & giveaway

    1. Thanks Jayanthi for your lovely words! :) Thanks for hosting WTML event and giveaway.

  3. Ooh my favorite! Long since I made it..Baigana Poda has been a favorite lately! :)

    1. hahah my favorite too! Baigana poda beats everything else in its simplicity of preparation.

  4. So appealing and quite tasty one !! Thanks for linking to the event !! Appreciate it !!

    Ongoing event CC:Splash Into Summer

  5. This looks delicious! *smacks lips*

  6. wonderful recipe... thanks for linking with Guest Quest..

  7. Refreshing and delicious,thanks for linking it with Lets cook with fruits.

  8. wow it looks so good I love eggplants have never tried it with raita must try it.


Each kind, encouraging word gives me the impetus to put more into this space, so thanks a lot for browsing through and stopping by to say a word! :)