baingan bharta -fire roasted eggplant curry

December 6, 2016

 

My dad used to work in a bank that had branches all over the country. My parents are from south India. They lived in many towns in north India over the span of his career. Food habits are very different in different parts of India. South Indians are predominantly rice eaters and north Indians are wheat eaters. My parents would rent a home wherever they moved and my mom would make friends with the landlady and neighbors. She would spend many hours having wonderful conversations with them, sipping tea and sampling their dishes. She picked up quite a few north Indian recipes and they have become a staple in our home now.

Eggplant is a bland vegetable and is like a sponge as far as absorbing different flavors. My mom used to make at least  ten different eggplant preparations on a regular basis. Baingan bharta is one of my favorites.

I can't stress enough the importance of picking fresh vegetables. This is true especially with eggplant.  An eggplant is fresh when it has bright shiny skin, a fresh green stem and no dents or brown spots and feels heavy for it's size. If you buy eggplant, use it within the next few days. If it gets old, it gets brown and rubbery when cooked . Give it it's due respect and cook it and savor it while it is fresh.

 

Baingan ka bharta is a fire roasted eggplant curry cooked with onions and tomatoes, spiced with ginger and green chillies. In restaurants, they add green peas and lots of spices and make it creamy and rich. I love the simple home made version.

 

Take a nice fresh eggplant and poke it several times with a knife and rub oil all over it.

 

 

It is a messy job to roast eggplant directly on the flame and I have been tempted a few times to microwave(9 to 10 minutes) the eggplant. It cooks it alright but does not give it a smoky flavor. One tip that helps contain the mess is to cover the area around the burner with aluminum foil.

Place the oiled and poked eggplant directly over fire and roast it. Keep turning it every few minutes so it roasts evenly.

 

 

 

Once it looks almost burnt on the outside and wrinkled, keep it in a dish and cover it for a while. This makes it easy to remove the burnt skin. Once it rests for a while, some of the juices will settle at the bottom, you can discard the liquid. Some of it can be retained.

 

 The other ingredients used are onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chillies, cilantro, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander powder and salt. Oopsie daisy! I forgot to include turmeric and coriander powder in the picture!

 

 

 

Take a sauté pan and add a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is warm, add cumin and mustard seeds, when they start sizzling and spluttering, add thinly sliced ginger, garlic and coarsely chopped green chillies.  Once they start sizzling, add onions and some salt. The salt helps the onions cook fast.

 

 

 

Once the onions are translucent, add tomatoes and turmeric and coriander powder.  Cook till tomatoes soften.

 

 

Meanwhile, remove the burnt skin on the eggplant. If a few specks of the burnt skin remain, that's okay. Mash it gently with a fork and set aside.

 

 

 

Once the tomatoes soften, add the eggplant and mix well. Add salt to taste, mix well and check seasoning, if it needs more spice, you can add some chilli powder.  Add finely chopped cilantro and stop cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

eggplant 1

medium sized yellow onion diced small

medium sized tomato diced small

ginger sliced thin and long 1 tsp

garlic 3 cloves coarsely chopped

green chillis 2 cut in 3-4 pieces each

cumin seeds 1/2 tsp

mustard seeds 1/2 tsp

turmeric 1/2 tsp

coriander powder 1/2 tsp

cilantro 1 tbsp. finely chopped

salt to taste.

 

Procedure:

  1. Take a nice fresh eggplant and poke it several times with a knife and rub oil all over it. Place directly over fire and roast it. Keep turning it every few minutes so it roasts evenly. Once it looks almost burnt on the outside and wrinkled, keep it in a dish and cover it for five minutes or till it is cool enough to handle.

  2. Take a sauté pan and add a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is warm, add cumin and mustard seeds, when they start sizzling and spluttering, add thinly sliced ginger and coarsely chopped green chillies.  Once they start sizzling, add onions and some salt.

  3. Once the onions are translucent, add tomatoes and turmeric and a teaspoon of coriander powder.  Cook till tomatoes soften.

  4. In the meanwhile, remove the burnt skin on the eggplant. If a few specks of the burnt skin remain, that's okay. Mash it gently with a fork and set aside.

  5. Once the tomatoes soften, add the eggplant and mix well. Add salt to taste, mix well and check seasoning, if it needs more spice, you can add some chilli powder.  Add finely chopped cilantro and stop cooking.

Enjoy it with roti or steamed rice!

 

 

 

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Hi There

I'm Sirisha. I cook simple vegetarian food. You will find Indian vegetarian family recipes and will be privy to my experiments. Happy cooking!

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