Roasted Eggplant Sauteed with Spices
When I was small, I hated eggplants. But, whenever my mother made baingan bharta I used to have 3-4 rotis with it. With this, I guess you can relate to how amazing this tastes. Well, baingan bharta is one of the easiest, yummiest and healthiest side dishes that you can have regularly.
What is Baingan Bharta?
Baingan Bharta is a popular Punjabi dish from the cuisine of North India. It’s made from roasted eggplant, onions, tomatoes, herbs, and spices. The eggplants are roasted or grilled over a direct flame on the stovetop or on red hot charcoal, imparting a smoky flavor and taste. I share a simply delicious family heirloom recipe for Eggplant Bharta that is not overly spiced, allowing the smoky flavors of the roasted eggplant and the tanginess of the tomatoes to shine through.
Baingan Bharta is essentially spiced fire-roasted eggplant mash. There are several ways to make this bharta [bharta=mash], but this is the most common and will be found in Indian restaurants. But as a kid, I used to eat eggplant bharta, which was basically smoked eggplant mash mixed with mustard oil, chopped garlic, and pickle masala. That is the exact recipe I would like to share with you all.
Ingredients At A Glance
Eggplant – The eggplant should be slightly firm but not hard. In other words, if you push on it with your finger and it feels very soft, or if you can puncture the skin, it’s too late. When touched, a perfectly ripe eggplant will not give as much as a ripe tomato or peach.
Onions & Tomatoes – Onions and tomatoes, like any other Indian recipe, adds the perfect balance of flavors to the dish.
Ginger & Galic – Ginger and garlic are the main aromatic ingredients. You can skip garlic if you prefer, but ginger is a must.
Red chili powder – Red chili powder adds heat as well as a nice color to the bharta.
Whole red chili – For extra heat, add whole red chilis. Adjust the quantity to your preference.
Mustard oil – Baingan bharta if made in mustard oil, tastes the best. However, you can use any other oil too.
Fresh coriander – Garnish it with lots of fresh coriander for the final touch.
How To prepare Baingan Bharta?
Place the eggplant over the gas flame and roast the eggplant over high heat. Continue to rotate the brinjal so that all sides are evenly roasted. A large round brinjal will take about 5 minutes to roast.
The skin will become charred, but this is what gives the Bharta its distinct flavor. After the brinjal has been roasted, set it aside to cool completely.
Meanwhile, you can roast the whole red chilies. Place them directly on the fire and roast them one at a time. Set them aside for now.
Once the brinjal has cooled, remove the charred skin and mash it with the roasted whole red chilies. Set it aside.
Now heat the oil in a kadai or pan.
Sauté the onions on a low heat. Cook for a minute after adding salt.
Next, add the chopped garlic and ginger and cook for two minutes or until the raw garlic ginger smell has gone away.
Mix in the red chili powder and tomatoes. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all of the water from the tomatoes has evaporated, and the tomatoes have softened.
Mix in the roasted brinjal thoroughly. Cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes or until all of the brinjal’s water has evaporated.
Enjoy with fresh coriander as a garnish!
Some Expert Tips For Preparing Baingan Bharta
- If you prefer a gravy or semi-solid consistency, add about 1/2 to 1 cup of water after adding the eggplant. I made it more like a dry curry because that’s how we like it.
- As always, taste and adjust the salt and spices to your liking.
- I left out the garam masala. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala if you like.
- You can add peas and bell peppers too.
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