There are so many way to cook eggplants – it is such a versatile vegetable. Although it can definitely stand on its own (eg steamed eggplant dishes), it often prefers to be a part of a larger dish than stand on its own.
This recipe is an Indian dish where the eggplant is grilled until cooked through, and the flesh is mixed with spices. Many cuisines have recipes that treat the eggplant in similar ways but vary the ingredients. Baba Ganoush is one example.
Bharta are North Indian (Punjabi) dishes where the main ingredient is roasted and then pureed with spices. The flavours are intensified by the roasting and the resulting dish is spicy and tangy. Baingan Bharta is so popular, though, versions exist in several states of India.
See all of our Bharta recipes here. Read all about Indian Chutneys here, and feel free to browse other Indian Chutneys recipes here. You might also like to browse our other Eggplant dishes. Our Indian recipes are here. Perhaps browse our Indian Essentials. Or find some inspiration in our Early Spring recipes.
There are many names for this dish – Baingan Bharta, Baingan ka Bhurtha, Baingan da Bhurtha or Wangyacha Bharit are just some – and many varieties across India.
The eggplant can be cooked directly over the gas ring of your stove or on a BBQ. This style of cooking gives the eggplant a wonderful smoky flavour. (Best is cooked 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.
Here, the eggplant is just sat on the gas ring. Keep turning it 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.
This recipe is great as a dip, served over rice, used as a sauce, or as an accompaniment to any spicy dish. It can be served with dal-rice, kitchari or stuffed parathas. It also goes well with Chapatti, Roti. It has the best taste!
Or eat is more Western style:
- As part of an Indian meal.
- With some flat breads, heated in the oven, and a tomato, salad greens and herb salad.
- Or maybe with some green beans.
- Sprouted mung beans with a little oil and lemon juice.
- Add any yoghurt based pachadi.
Baingan ka Bharta
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 on a low heat 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.