I, like a lot of my childhood friends, grew up not liking ‘baingan’ or the eggplant (brinjal). My mom would keep on trying to make me like it, making a lot of variants of this vegetable, but to no avail. And one fine day, I don’t remember when, I suddenly started absolutely loving the ‘baingan bharta’. And am I glad of that now! Now, I am waiting for the day when M, will also have a realization like I did. But guess, I am probably having to pay for all the trouble I gave my mom over eggplant. Sigh! 😉
Yup. I will not waste further time being a drama queen and get to the recipe at hand. ‘Baingan Bharta’ is very similar to the Arab dish ‘Baba Ghanoush’ in the basic cooking methods employed. The large eggplant is roasted over open flame, then mixed with chopped onions and tomatoes, seasoned and served. While baba ghanoush is served with pita bread or khubz, the baingan bharta is served with the quintessential Indian bread- the chapati.
There are a lot of variants of the baingan bharta or vangyache bhareet (as it is known in Marathi)- with or without tomatoes, the one where the eggplant and onions are cooked, roasted eggplant simply mixed with onions and tomatoes with tadka added on top or with curd added to it. Make it the way you please, it tastes delicious! The recipe given here is one that would be made in a Gujarati or Maharashtrian household.
You will need:
1 large eggplant, roasted on open flame, peeled and chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cooking oil
salt to taste
2 green chillies chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp grated jaggery (optional)
– Wash and dry the eggplant. Smear a little oil over its surface before roasting on an open flame. Roast on a high flame. Once completely roasted on all sides, hold it under cold tap water so that the skin peels off immediately. Do not remove the stem before roasting, it helps to handle the eggplant better. Chop off the stem and peel the eggplant and chop vegetable.
– In a non stick pan or kadhai, heat the oil and add mustard seeds to it. Once the seeds sputter, add the turmeric, onions and saute. Next add the chillies, red chilli powder and tomatoes and saute a bit. You do not need to cook the onions and tomatoes completely as it needs to have a little crunch in it.
– Then add the roasted chopped eggplant and stir well. Season with salt. Add the jaggery in the end and stir for a minute.
– Garnish with coriander and serve hot.