- 1 kg Eggplants
- 2 tbsp oil
- 10-12 fenugreek seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 large red onions, diced
- 2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
- 2 green chilli peppers
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1-inch piece ginger root, chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
Baingan Bharta is a very popular North Indian eggplant (aka aubergine) dish and its preparation varies depending on where you live in South Asia. The core of Baingan Bharta, however, is the same everywhere — you must roast the eggplants.
I’ve seen people roast eggplants in a tandoor (clay oven), on a grill, wood fire, or if you are a city dweller like me, in the kitchen oven. This is not a terribly complicated dish to make, but like most South Asian dishes, requires a little bit of time and patience.
Rinse the eggplants in cold water and then pat them dry with a paper towel. Most people roast them whole — prick them with a knife in a few places — but I like cutting mine into halves and broiling them in the oven. You can pour some olive oil all over the eggplants and then roast them until they start to shrink. If you’re roasting them on a flame, you should frequently turn them every couple of minutes to make sure they are evenly cooked.
How do you know if they’re done? Use a fork and try to pierce through the eggplants — if they go through easily, that means they’re done. Let the eggplants cool completely before you peel the skin off. Mash the pulp in a bowl.
In a wok, heat some oil and add the cumin seeds. Once the seeds start to sizzle, add the chopped onions and stir. While the onions are still translucent and before they brown, add garlic, ginger and green chilli and stir. Cook for about 2 minutes and then add the red chili powder and turmeric. Then put the mashed roasted eggplant and cook under medium flame for about 10 minutes while stirring continuously — you don’t want it to burn.
Add salt, garam masala and the chopped tomatoes and stir again, cooking for about 5-7 minutes until the tomatoes soften and start blending into the eggplant.
Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve it hot with rice, roti, paratha, or whatever carbs you are in a mood for.