After lovely Padma of Padma’s Kitchen suggested I try Baingan ka Bharta, how could I resist? There are so many ways to cook this wonderful fruit, no matter what it is called – eggplant, aubergine, brinjal. What’s in a name?
This is an Indian dish, and the eggplant can be cooked directly over the gas ring of your stove. This style of cooking gives the eggplant a wonderful smoky flavour. (Better still, cook it directly over a wood fire or charcoal BBQ.)
For this dish, you can also cook the eggplant on a grill pan or under the griller or even in the oven.
But to get that wonderful smoky flavour, cook it directly over the gas ring of the stove. Just sit it on the gas ring. Keep turning every minute or so until the skin is very charred and the eggplant has collapsed.
Let the eggplant cool a little, and then strip away the skin, leaving a wonderful mush of pure smoky eggplant.
- As part of an Indian meal.
- Or with some flat breads, heated in the oven, and a tomato, salad greens and herb salad.
- Or maybe with some baked green beans, or lightly boiled broad beans.
- Sprouted mung beans with a little oil and lemon juice.
- Add any yoghurt based pachadi.
Source : inspired by Padma but adapted from other recipes
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
2 large eggplants
1 – 2 green chillies
5 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 Tblspn ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
small piece tamarind, soaked in 0.5 cup boiling water, then strained and the tamarind water and any paste you can extract is used in the recipe
0.5 Tblspns jaggery
large pinch of turmeric
1 tspn Garam Masala
1 tspn Coriander powder
2 – 3 cups water
1 Tblspn ghee
1 dried red chilli, crushed
0.25 tspn fenugreek seeds
1 tspn black mustard seeds
2 tspn cumin seeds
(Add 1 large pinch asafoetida if you want to leave out the onions and garlic)
After cooking the eggplant on the stove, in the oven or under the griller, peel the skin off and mash the eggplant flesh thoroughly.
Chop the chillies and onion finely.
Chop the garlic and ginger together to form a paste.
Sauté the onions and chillies until the onions are translucent.
Add the garlic and ginger paste and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the turmeric and after 0.5 minutes or so, add the eggplant flesh, diced tomatoes, jaggery, tamarind, salt and coriander powder.
Cook for half an hour, or longer if you have time, to allow the flavours to develop. Add water if necessary to keep a nice moist mixture.
Add the garam masala about 10 minutes before the end of cooking.
Heat the ghee in a frying pan. Add the tadka spices, allowing the mustard seeds to pop. Pour the spices and ghee onto the eggplant dish, stir, add the coriander leaves and serve.
You can stir through some curd or yoghurt if you wish.