Achari aloo baingan is tangy, spicy, and very flavorful. Potatoes and baby eggplants are coated in a blend of aromatic spices and cooked until perfectly tender.
If you like Indian food, particularly north Indian food, then you’re in for a treat. Achari aloo baingan is a Punjabi dish that you make by cooking baby eggplants and potatoes in a blend of Indian spices typically used to make pickles (achar). It’s flavorful, spicy, and tangy.
This dish is often eaten with Indian bread, but you can also eat it over rice with some dahi on the side (my preference). I love pairing this dry dish with a saucy dish like my chicken curry or my Punjabi chole.
Achari aloo baingan is very easy to make, but I do have to warn you, the list of spices is a bit long – but it’s also necessary to get that perfect chatpata (tangy) achari flavor. Once you gather the spices together – the rest of the dish is smooth sailing.
I love using baby eggplants in this dish because they hold up together well, and they also have a bit of a “meaty” texture. That said, I’ve tried this using a large eggplant (cut into pieces), and that also turns out well – but the texture is different – the eggplant pieces melt into the curry. It’s delicious, so if you can’t find baby eggplants, a large eggplant will do. It’ll just look more like this recipe for my instant pot aloo baingan.
Another thing about baby eggplants – they can really vary in size. I buy mine from my local Indian grocery store (or Whole Foods if I find them in stock). Choose eggplants around the size that you see in my picture – if you find the really teeny tiny ones at the Indian grocery store, then use two or three for 1 baby eggplant. If you’re a little “off” on guessing sizes, the dish will still turn out fine. It’s a forgiving recipe. 🙂
I love achar, and so naturally, I love achari dishes. If you’re like me and can’t get enough achari, then try my achari chicken kebabs or my achari chicken curry some time. For those who are new to Indian cuisine: you do not want to serve achari dishes together as the flavor is similar. If you’re looking for dishes that’ll complement this dish, then try the two recipes I recommended earlier in the blog post (chicken curry or chole).
If possible, make this a day in advance as it tastes even better the next day!
- 8 small eggplants approx. 1 pound
- 2 tablespoons mustard oil or oil of choice
- 1 onion diced
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons dried mango powder amchur
- 2 teaspoons fennel powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder*
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seed powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon carom seeds ajwain
- ¼ teaspoon kalonji (nigella seeds) kalonji
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 medium potatoes approx. 1 pound, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup water
- Cilantro garnish
- Using a knife, make two deep slits forming an X shape at the bottom of the eggplants, making sure to keep the stem intact. Set aside.
- Press the sauté button then add the oil and allow it a minute to heat up. Once the oil is hot, add the onions to the pot. Stir-fry for 6-7 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown.
- Add the garlic, ginger, spices and stir, then add the potatoes and mix well.
- Add the eggplants and the water and mix well.
- Secure lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 4 minutes at high pressure.
- Open the valve to quick release any remaining pressure.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.
- Roasted cumin powder is highly aromatic and has a more intense flavor than regular (unroasted) cumin. Do not substitute this with regular cumin as you won’t get the right favor.
- To make roasted cumin powder: heat a skillet over low heat and dry roast cumin seeds (I usually do 1 cup) for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the color of the cumin changes to a dark brown. Turn off the heat and allow the cumin seeds to cool down. Place the cumin into a spice grinder and blend until smooth. Store in an airtight jar and use within 6-8 months for the most flavor.