Baiganee is a popular fried street food in Trinidad. It is made with thick eggplant (baigan) slices that have been coated in a seasoned split peas batter and deep fried to perfect.
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For this recipe, I used:
- eggplant: also called baigan, which is a Hindi name for the fruit. This is the main star of the recipe and the long purple variety is most commonly used here.
- split peas powder: also called dhal flour. This adds a great texture and taste to the baiganee batter.
- flour: I used all purpose flour.
- baking powder
- yeast: this and baking powder act as rising agents for the batter and gives it a light, fluffy texture.
- Caribbean green seasoning: made with garlic, chadon beni and pepper flavors the batter nicely. Feel free to use store-bought green seasoning or make your own seasoning from scratch with my recipe.
- turmeric: this adds a beautiful color to the batter.
- water: required for soaking the eggplant slices and kneading the batter.
- oil: any vegetable oil with a high smoke point can be used for frying like avocado, canola, and sunflower oil.
How to make baiganie
Prepare the eggplant
Step 1: You’ll want to use a fresh, firm baigan. Wash and slice it into discs, about one eighth to one quarter of an inch thick.
Step 2: Eggplant oxidizes quickly. So, to counteract this, place the slices in a large bowl of water with salt mixed in. This essentially brines the slices, pulls some of the moisture out, and prevents them from browning too quickly. Set aside for about 30 minutes or so.
Knead the batter
Step 3: While the slices are soaking, you can knead the batter. In a separate bowl, add all the dry ingredients – the split peas powder, flour, baking powder, yeast, salt and your freshly ground Caribbean green seasoning with garlic and chadon beni. Give everything a good mix.
Step 4: Add water gradually to the dry ingredients and knead until a light, fluffy batter develops. You’ll need about a cup of water if you are following this recipe. Like pholourie, give the batter a little extra mixing to make sure it is smooth and lump free.
Step 5: Once it is all mixed, cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes for the yeast to activate.
Step 6: Ten minutes before the resting time is over, place a large pot on the stove on medium heat. Leave it to heat up for a couple minutes before adding enough vegetable oil for frying. About two or three cups of oil should be sufficient.
Step 7: Next, drain the baigan slices.
Step 8: Add a couple into the batter and flip a few times to coat the baigan slices. It doesn’t have to be properly coated or perfect.
Step 9: Add the battered slices to the hot oil. After a minute or two, flip the baiganee over to ensure even browning. Continue turning until the baiganee become golden brown and cooked all the way through. This could take about five or six minutes total cook time.
Step 10: Remove from the oil and place on napkins to soak up the excess oil. Serve hot with your favorite sauces like tamarind sauce.
Here’s a look inside the baiganee.
Trini baiganee recipe
- ¾ lb eggplant (baigan)
- 170 g split peas powder
- 70 g flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp yeast
- 3 tbsp green seasoning with garlic, chadon beni and pepper
- 2½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 4 cups water
- oil for frying (approx. 3 – 4 cups)
- Wash eggplant. Slice into ⅛ inch to ¼ inch discs
- Place eggplant slices in a large bowl.
- Add 3 cups water and 1 tsp salt.
- Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Add dry ingredients to a separate bowl (split peas powder, flour, baking powder, yeast, salt, turmeric and green seasoning).
- Add ½ cup of water.
- Add more water slowly (about ½ cup more).
- Continue kneading to produce is slurry-like, lump-free batter.
- Cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Place a large pot on medium heat.
- Add the oil and leave to heat up for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Drain the baigan slices.
- Add each slice into the batter and coat completely.
- Place in the hot oil.
- Flip over regularly to ensure even heating.
- Remove from heat when the baiganee is golden brown and cooked all the way through (approx 5 – 6 minutes cook time).
- Place on napkins to soak the excess oil.
- Serve hot with chutney.