Smoked eggplant (Vaygana bajji)

The Konkani name of eggplant is “Vayngana”, ‘n’ is pronounced by nose, but usually while typing, I have seen it is written as ‘Vaygana’. The name “bajji” is a bit confusing as this is not the normal deep fried fritter. I am yet to find out the significance of this name.

This dish is a kind of “Baingan ka bhartha”, but the Konkani ‘bhartha’ or ‘bharth’ has the ground coconut chutney in it. For ‘bajji’ we do not grind coconut. Both have exact same ingredients, but the preparation method makes them taste very different. But there are few people who call this dish as ‘bharth’.

This dish is usually served with a kind of rice rotti prepared on banana leaf. This rotti is called “mumbri” or “cholkya vayli rotti”. This is my favorite breakfast combination. Alternatively, this can even be served as a side dish with rice and papad.

Bajji is also called ‘Karmana’ and when this is prepared with the green eggplants called “gulla”, this is called “gulla karmana”.

Eggplant 1 big
Coconut 1/2 cup
Green chillies or red chillies 3-4
Tamarind 1/2 tea spn
Asafoetida a pinch

If the eggplants available in India are used, increase the number. After smoking, at least 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of pulp should remain.
1/2 cup of chopped onions can also be included in this dish. But I prefer the version without onion.

Smoke the eggplant as explained here. Peel the skin and put the pulp in water.

Keep it in water for 5-10mins and discard the water.
Mix coconut, green chilies, tamarind, onion(if using), asafoetida and salt with hand.

Now add the pulp and mix well. Add 1-2tbl spn of water if required.
Serve with rice rotti (mumbri).

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 15mins

PS: Will post the mumbri recipe tomorrow.

22 thoughts on “Smoked eggplant (Vaygana bajji)”

  1. …nice recipe…but to be frank shilpa you need to take better pictures and make the dish appealing,one shoudl feeli like eating it off the screen….:)
    …maybe add a table lamp light to highlight the dish….good luck

  2. I suspect that bajji means mashed in this case.

    I just boil the brinjal and mash it because grilling on the flame stinks up the house, I do grill them on the leftover charcoals in the bbq grill when we do use the grill. Traditionally when a wood fire was used in kitchens, the brinjal was left to roast in the coals after all the cooking was completed.

    Your version with hing is what is made on holy days but the chopped onions are a standard.

    My mom made it without the coconut, and we used to add a mustard-curry leaf in coconut oil phanna. Yummy.

  3. LB, I have tried my best to take good pictures with the limited resources I have. But sometimes, it becomes very difficult. I do understand good pictures make the recipes more appealing, but sometimes it is difficult. I will keep your advice in mind.

    Sudha mayi, I grill the brinjal on a tava, as explained in the ‘bharth’ recipe link mentioned above. Somehow I don’t think boiling it can give same taste. At my native also we grilled it on charcoals, but grilling on the tava is much handy for us here. This is not ‘holy day dish’ . We make this atleast once in 15 days and we do not put ‘phanna’. I will try your version next time, but I wonder how it would taste with “mumbri”.

  4. shilpa-
    i agree with you that grilling the brinjals is most important to achieve the smoky flavour…boiling it would make it soft, but it would be missing that flavour. there is a turkish dish called “hunkar begendi” which would not be the same were the skin not charred first. i expect it to be the same with this dish.
    i was wondering though, if red chillis are used instead of green, should onions be added as they are in the bartha?

  5. Pelicano, if this dish is served with rotti as I mentioned in the post, I prefer green chilies. Have never tasted this dish with red chilies. But we include onions in it sometimes, I prefer without onion though :).
    For bharth with red chilies, we include onions always.

  6. Shilpa! good recipe!! I make it every time I get a chance!! I spray the eggplants with oil, bake at 35oF for 40 mins depending on the size.Comes out perfectly cooked!I add yoghurt with seasoning when it”s cool!! It’s yummy with akki rottis. Thanks!

  7. baingan ka bharta is one of fav dishes, but adding coconut to roasted eggplant is new. I normally use the broil (fire )setting on the oven or even bake in a tray to avoid the drippings. have u already posted the roti recipe? i must have missed it.

  8. Hi Shilpa….This is one of the favorite side dishes of me and my better half. I make it in a slightly different way. We add onions, coriander leaves (in Mumbai – not in native place, maybe as it is not readily avble) and add coconut oil. No hing. I can try this version on fasting days. Thanks for posting.

  9. Hi Shilpa,
    We make this dish in Guyana also, we call it Baigan Choka. Not sure where in India the name originated, because there is quite a mixture of people that came to Guyana from India.
    I wrap the eggplant with several layers of aluminum foil and roast on the stove, no mess.
    We put cloves of garlic in the eggplant to roast with it, then mix with onion, hot chilies and coconut oil.
    Keep up the good work. Amazing how food connects us all. Love to read your blog.

  10. HI Shilpa, sounds like a very easy way of making bajji..I absolutely loved it..I have been trying to cover the eggplant with foil and roast it..but no success so far, as I dunno how long for a side and in all…but I guess the same is gonna confuse me here, would you mind telling me how long and also if its a long would cutting them in halves help or the whole should be at one go..thanks

  11. Vidya, whole eggplant should go in one shot, if you cut it, the water from the eggplant falls out. Also, it depends how much time take to smoke it. So just Change the side on tava every 5mins or so. Just observe, if the skin has dried on the side and there are few cracks on it, that side is done. Similar way you can judge on all sides. Hope this helps..

  12. I oil the vaingan and wrap it in aluminum foil and then bake it in the oven… the word “bajji” referes to mashing everything… My mon actually makes it the same way you have mentioned. Howevern she does add finely chopped onions and dhaniya to it and then tempers it with mustard-curryleaf-red chilles..I love this bajji or bharit more than the Punjabi style..

  13. We also make this and my grandmother makes this the best. Raw onion enhances the taste. If you give mustard seeds and hing oggarane this dish will taste heavenly.

  14. I just wanted to comment on the word “bajji” because I am from Trinidad and it is what we call “spinage” there the Hindi/Bojpuri. But since this baigan recipe has no spinage, I don’t think that is it… hahaha. But further more nice recipe!

  15. Your Bajji recipe is great and I prefer this bajji better than Punjabi Bharta you get in mostly in US restaurants. Some suggestions based on my experience as Kankani taste lover from childhood (my mother spoiled me!). Instead of grilling vayngan, try first barbeque on outdoor charcoal or next gas grill or third recourse can be broiling in the under the counter stove. Also, adding onions is common but it gives raw onion taste; so I tried saute slightly the onion and it’s great. A small piece of chopped ginger makes more tasty.
    I tried your Pathrade recipe today, and it is great. Only thing, I use soaked moong instead of toor daal as it depends which part of S.K. your parents have come from. My mother has always used moong or moong daal with skin.
    Your recipe site is a Konkani treasure, and thanks for the time you are spending. Do not worry about others who criticise for photos, atleast they can take some efforts and help you in this matter.

  16. Hi Shipla,

    I make this dish quite often, but after smoking and peeling the brijal. In a separate pan I do seasoning with oil, mustard seeds, pinch of hing, curry leaves, then i add 1 finely chopped onion, add littlr turmeric powder and 1 tsp on chilli powder , I then add this mashed brijal in it cook for 5-10 mins and top it with coriander leaves, gives a good taste

  17. Dear Shazeeda,
    Just read your comment.
    ” Baigan choka” is the word used in Bihar. I grew up in that region and that’s the word we used it. My friends in Guyana tell me that there are lot of similarities.

    Thanks Shilpa for all your hard work.

  18. Hi Shilpa,

    Your recipes are great. I tried walnut and dates eggless cake recipe and it turned out to be ausum. I prepared that cake thrice in a weeks time:-)
    With this recipe why should we put the roasted pulp of eggplant in water for sometime?

    Best wishes.

    Shilpa: It removes any bitterness(some eggplants have bitter taste).

  19. Shilpa, my mum has always made this dish. Roasting gives the best smoky flavour however I place a large brinjal in a pressure cooker with a little water and it comes out meltingly soft after ten minutes, I add a dollop of butter, roasted falked dry red chilli, dhania (cilantro), finely chopped onion and sprinkling of salt…divine, just like mum’s. Now its fasting time and I crave this dish. For potao choka, I cube potatoes, cook in microwave for five minutes, remove to stove, add water, when potatoes are very soft, I add a little milk, then mash, I add the same flavourings as in brinjal choka, the addition of milk to this dish gives it a superior taste. mY AFMILY’S BEEN IN SA since 1860 and these recipes have not bee forgotten.

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