Mashed Roasted Eggplant – “Baigan Ka Bharta”

“Baigan Ka Bharta”- Serves 3 
“Baigan bharta” or roasted eggplant is one of many popular vegetarian Indian dishes. In Indian cooking, there are many different ways in which eggplant may be prepared. I’ve chosen our family recipe as shared by my mom-in-law. In this version, eggplant is roasted slowly over the gas. The eggplant is then mashed and added to a tomato based curry. You could also use the oven to roast the eggplant at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. If roasting in the oven, use a fork to prick the eggplant all over and apply oil.

This delicious dish can be enjoyed with chappatis or toasted pita.


Ingredients:

  • 1 small eggplant ( approximately 3/4 pound)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly smashed with a mortar-pestle
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion chopped , ( 1 cup)
  • 2  medium sized tomatoes chopped, (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste (optional, gives color)
  • 2 green chillies chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilly powder
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • salt to taste
  • fresh cilantro/ coriander leaves for garnish

Method:

Prick the eggplant with a fork or give a small slit on one side of the eggplant and start roasting on low fire on the gas. This will take 20 to 25 minutes.

The eggplant skin will get charred and the eggplant starts to soften up. Set aside to cool. Peel the outside skin and mash it in a plate. Reserve any juices that come out.

Note for roasting in the oven: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Apply oil on the outside of the eggplant and prick it a couple of times with a fork. Place it on a sheet tray and bake for 45 minutes. Cool, peel and mash. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a vessel. Add garlic and stir for a minute. The garlic should not burn. Then add ginger and green chillies and fry for another 30 seconds.

Add the onion. Caramelize the onions to a dark brown color. To help them brown faster, add a dash of salt. This should take 15 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and tomato paste (if using) and let it cook. Cook for another 8 minutes or until the oil starts to separate.

Add the mashed eggplant, coriander powder, turmeric, red chilly powder, garam masala and salt to taste . Mix this well. Cover and cook on low heat for for 5 -10 minutes.

Serve hot with “chappati ” or pitas.

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