Baked achari baingan – pickled aubergine

Mallika Basu - Baked achari baingan – pickled aubergine

Posted 2nd May 2007

img_6543.jpgI just booked a long weekend with three girlfriends in Cannes during the film festival. Visions of chi chi lunches by the French Riviera, glamorous people and girlie chit chat flashed across the Easyjet screen. And then I saw an ugly one involving me a bikini.


I have two weeks to implement a strict new eating regime to be anywhere near bikini fit for Cannes. This is going to be tricky given my love of Indian food, chips and alcohol.

Chips and alcohol are still easy to deal with. But Indian food? Herewith starts the quest for simple Indian dishes with minimal fat.

I came up with a low fat twist on an age old classic – a Maddhur Jaffrey recipe. No offence to the doyenne of Indian cooking obviously.

My friend mentioned this recipe years ago and it seems to be quite popular. But the frying of aubergines and potatoes required before making the dish always put me off it: both the extra time involved and the shedloads of oil!!

So I came up with a cunning plan. What if I baked the whole darn thing? That seriously reduces the amount of oil and general hassle involved.

As with most things I cook (apart from the hideously lengthy feast of dhansak) I kept ingredients to a minimum. Achari means “in pickled style” so spicy, tangy and with pickle spices.

The experiment worked. The results were delicious and very healthy compared to the average Indian vegetable dish. Let’s see if this healthy resolve lasts for another two weeks.

This recipe serves two when eaten with another dish or just one with some rotis:

1 medium aubergine, thickly sliced and quartered
1 260 gm tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ajwain seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Sprinkle of amchoor or raw mango powder
2 tsp oil
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 220 degree centigrade, 425 Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the aubergines with chilli powder, some salt, the turmeric, chilli and a teaspoon of oil. In an oven proof dish, pour in the oil. Carefully place the whole spices on the oil and bake in the over for 5 minutes until they roast and give off their lovely aromas.

Now tip the aubergine mixture into the over proof dish, empty the tin of chopped tomatoes into it and mix well adding salt if needed.

Bake in the centre of the oven for half an hour until the abergines are cokked but still intact. Sprinkle with the amchoor and serve with bread or roti.

18 responses to “Baked achari baingan – pickled aubergine”

  1. I love to como here and read your recipies.
    My mother in law is from Goa, so I am used to eat indian food and I like it a lot!
    I also cook some thins like Curry and Bebinca and baji, but nothing compared to these wonderful thinks.
    I also hava a food blog, but in portuguese.
    Thank for inspiring me in the indian food.

  2. […] Baked achari baingan – pickled aubergine (tags: recipe indian spicy sauce chutney eggplant) […]

  3. roopa says:

    Hi mallika
    thanks for visiting my blog!
    the Achari baingan looks yummy!
    thnks for sharing i will try this nex time!

  4. Dilip says:

    great recipe….looks devine…hey enjoy your stay in Cannes…I waa there last year and really enjoyed it…it was expensive but enjoyed it…

  5. Mangs says:

    mallika youre a goddess! whats fennell and nigella in “indian” so to speak?

  6. Mallika says:

    Hey Mangs – fennel is saunf and nigella is kala jeera. This one is perfect for those lazy evening, with some readymade rotis/parathas.

    Thanks a lot guys.

    Colher – Goan food is aboslutely delicious and has a lot of Indo-Portugese influences. I will post some soon especially so you can do more Indian cooking.

  7. Trig says:

    From your photo I can’t imagine you having any trouble looking good in a bikini, Mallika. I know you’re married and I don’t mean to offend you in any way, but I must tell it like it is

  8. Mallika says:

    Aidan – you make me blush! Compliment gratefully accepted.

  9. dolly says:

    pinks your baked achari baigan is truely amazing. i tried it as well . made it for nani , ha ha ha

  10. Mangs says:

    my friend anna says:

    “there’s a sweet and savoury thing going on; it’s the best thing i’ve had in WEEKS”!
    … as she sits on my bed devouring the achari baingan….

  11. musical says:

    This one looks really lovely Mallika. and since its baked, its even better 🙂 Surely gonna’ try this one.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. […] to match the moment with a fiery meal, planned to ignite their senses. The dinner of Bhuna Gosht, Achari Baingan, Anda Raita, Lasuni Dal Palak and Bhapa Doi went down almost as well as Obama’s victory.  […]

  13. […] Baked Achari Baingan (I loved this dish – it had a very distinct flavor. I did not use fennel seeds because I don’t own any. And I was surprised how much of the flavor came from the ajwain seeds because most recipes don’t call for nearly so much.) […]

  14. Livia says:

    ~ grin~ I should clarify my pingback excerpt. This was the first recipe for anything I’ve made with more than a pinch of ajwain. And this was my first recipe ever for this dish.

    I enjoyed to very much, and I ate the leftovers 3 days straight (instead of frrezing them and spacing them out) because I’d look forward to having the same thing again for dinner (even though I am usually far more fickle.

    Thank you.

  15. Mallika Basu says:

    Hi Livia, LOL, thanks for clarifying. I often get comments on the spice level of my food (chili is always on the low side). Glad you enjoyed!

  16. […] quickly we knew this was not quite one of the lux holidays of our gilded past. The tattooed bald man who ran after his errant child shouting […]

  17. Gul says:

    Hi ! just tried this today . It turned out well. What impressed me was the fact that prep time is less than 5 min. Also I had to bake it 45 min . I guess that must be bec of difference in appliance. I would also appreciate if u could mention the size of chopped pieces of brinjal.
    Thanks for this quick n easy receipe.

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