Baingan Bharta

Roasted Indian Eggplant

All you eggplant haters – do try this recipe – you’ll never look at it the same way after you’ve tasted it prepared like this! Also called ‘bharit’ in Maharastra (Bombay is the capital of this Indian state), this is a wonderful recipe that uses a large eggplant. You need to roast it over a charcoal or stove fire, or in the oven. Pray, do not microwave, boil or steam the eggplant! I have seen some recipes that call you to do that which is unfortunate, because the essential flavour of this dish is derived from the ‘charring’ process.

1 large brinjal
1 medium size onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cooked green peas (optional)
3 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
4 finely chopped garlic cloves
7-8 curry leaves
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp cilantro leaves
1 or 2 green chillies
juice of half a lime (optional)
salt to taste

  • Apply a little oil over the eggplant. Prick the eggplant with a fork and using large tongs, roast it over a charcoal fire or over the stove-top, or in an oven at 400 F till the skin is charred almost 80% over, and the vegetable is soft. (The eggplant cooks while you char the skin, and turns soft)
  • When slightly cool, peel off the eggplant skin (I leave a few charred bits in as it adds flavour). Roughly chop the flesh and mash with a fork
  • In a pan, heat oil, and when hot, throw in the mustard seeds. When they sputter, add chopped onions, garlic, curry leaves and stir
  • When the onions turn translucent to a light golden brown, add spice powders and stir for a few seconds
  • Add peas and tomatoes, if using them (I did, as you can see by the photograph)
  • Fold in eggplant mash and add salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes or until well heated through 
  • Add chopped green chillies, cilantro and the garam masala. Mix, and take off fire
  • Garnish with coriander leaves
  • Serve with roti and yoghurt, or as a side-dish with rice and daal or curry

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