Baghare baingan, also known as eggplant masala, is one of my father-in-law's favorite dishes. I learned how to make the Indian eggplant dish in thick masala sauce from Lulu's late grandma Baji. This South-Indian vegetarian dish is a specialty from Hyderabad, the city where Daddy is from. It's quite pleasing for vegetarians and non-vegetarian eaters alike as the eggplant have a very meaty texture.
The cooking procedure requires several steps. First, the small eggplants are deep-fried to soften the firm flesh, then it's simmered in a thick sauce made from peanuts and sesame seeds. The dish is finished with baghar, which is the final red oil layer commonly in a lot of Indian dishes.
For this dish, you should use Indian eggplants. They have a shiny skin and a firmer flesh with less bitter taste than regular eggplants. Their flavor is fairly mild, but like other eggplants, the flesh acts like a sponge and absorbs all the strong flavors of the sauce. Make the effort to find these eggplants at your local Indian supermarket; it’s worth the try!