Roasted Eggplant Curry (Baingan Bharta)
Baingan Bharta is a traditional north Indian recipe where the eggplant is roasted on an open flame or tandoor until charred. It is then sauteed with onion, garlic, chillies and tomatoes along with a few basic spices and served with Indian roti or pita bread.
The recipe of baingan bharta is very similar to that of baba ganoush, where the eggplant is roasted and then seasoned with lime, sesame and olive oil.
Roasting eggplant in grill/tandoor or open gas flame gives a nice smoky charred flavor. This process is slightly messy. Since I do not have a gas stove/range, I prefer to use oven which works perfectly fine sans the smokiness. In this recipe, I am sharing the oven method, which is easy and mess free.
2 medium sized eggplants
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 green chillies, finely chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 medium size yellow onions, finely chopped
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt (or as needed)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- Wash and pat dry the eggplants. Using a pairing knife, prick on all the sides and broil on high for 15-20 minutes turning the eggplant every five minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with lid or wrap for 5-10 minutes. Peel the skin from the eggplant and trim the stem. Mash the eggplant pulp with a fork or potato masher. Keep it aside.
- In a pan, heat oil on medium flame. Add cumin seeds, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Saute for a few seconds and add the onions. Saute until the onions have lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes.
- Move the onions to the edges of the pan, now add the tomatoes in the centre. Sprinkle some salt over the tomatoes and cover the pan with a lid for 2 minutes. This helps in cooking the tomatoes faster. Remove the lid and mix all together. Saute until the tomatoes are fried well.
- Add the spices – turmeric powder, chilli powder and garam masala powder. Saute for a few seconds and add the mashed eggplant pulp. Sprinkle half of the chopped cilantro and combine everything together. Cook on medium-low flame for another 5 minutes with frequent mixing in between to avoid sticking or burning.
- Garnish with leftover cilantro and serve with roti, naan or pita bread.