Gutti Vankaya Biryani

Gutti Vankaya or Stuffed Brinjal is a popular Andhra delicacy that one can find in most of the South Indian restaurants. It is more commonly known as Baghara Baingan in Hyderabad. More suitable for a festive menu rather than a everyday meal, it is infused with a rich medley of flavors. Peanuts (or cashews), coconut, curry leaves, sesame seeds(optional), dried chillis and tamarind along with a host of other spices give it that tantalizing and unforgettable taste.

Giving a twist to this unique taste experience, a few restaurants in the recent times have started serving it with an aromatic Andhra style biryani. And having had occasion to sample this combination, I can vouch for it's heavenly taste. While most restaurants stick to using Basmati rice for this recipe, I prefer the small grained but equally aromatic 'Jeerakasala' or 'Jeera' rice variety.

It is one of the best one-pot meal options for those potluck occasions peppered with a generous number of 'strictly vegetarian' individuals. And it is actually quite easy and takes relatively less time to put together than a dal-roti-suzbi meal. Reason enough to make it a part of your culinary arsenal.

The small purple aubergines are generally used for making this recipe. But I used the long white ones as I had a batch that needed to be consumed before the weekend. Read on for the details -

















Preparation Time - 30-40 mins

Ingredients -

For the Gutti Vankaya -

For the stuffing -

  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 dry red chilis ( less spicy ones like byadgi )
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
Others - 

  • 2 long white eggplants / 8 medium sized purple ones
  • 1 large onion ( chopped into thin long pieces )
  • 1 tsp GG paste
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • a pinch of garam masala
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 2-3 pinch turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • a lemon sized ball of tamarind
  • salt to taste
  • oil for shallow frying

For the Biryani -

  • 2 cups Jeera ( jeerakasala ) rice 
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 2 inch long cinnamon
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 6-7 black peppercorns
  • 2 pinch shahjeera
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup hot water. Squeeze the juice and discard the pulp.

Chop the white eggplants into 3 inch long pieces. Then put a 'X' shaped cut on each piece. Make sure that the cut is only till 3/4 of the length and not more. Soak the pieces in warm water to which a little turmeric has been added.

Cook the rice using the open pan method. It should be cooked yet firm to touch.

Cooking - Heat a thick bottomed pan. Add the peanuts and red chilis. Once peanuts start popping, add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, coriander seeds, and bay leaf. Once they gets fragrant, add poppy seeds. These start spluttering at once.


Immediately add the coconut to the same pan. Fry for 30-45 seconds and switch off.

Allow it to cool down and then grind into a coarse paste. Stuff this paste into the slits made on the aubergine pieces.

















Heat a wok. Add the oil. Throw in the curry leaves, asafoetida, mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

Once they get popping, add chopped onions. Once onion is translucent, add GG paste. Fry for 2-3 mins before adding the turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Fry for another minute.

Gently put the stuffed eggplants into the wok. Sprinkle some salt over them. Fry gently till the skin turns brown.

Add about 1 cup water and the remaining stuffing to the wok. Adjust the salt. Bring to a gentle boil and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for 5-6 mins or till the aubergine in cooked.

Add the tamarind. Simmer for 5 mins or till it reaches the desired consistency. Remove from the flame.

Heat the ghee in a wide pan. Add the onions, mint leaves and coriander leaves. Fry till the onion turns translucent. Add all the spices and fry till fragrant.

Finally add the rice along with a little salt and sprinkle a bit water. Toss gently. Cover with a lid and remove from the flame. Let it stand for 10 mins.
















Serve the Gutti Vankaya on a bed of the fragrant biryani rice.

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