Baingan Bharta/Roasted Eggplant Curry (Photos courtesy Sowmya’s Spicy Corner)

Recipe Corner: Sowmya’s Spicy Corner – Baingan Bharta/Roasted Eggplant Curry

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Baingan Bharta/Roasted Eggplant Curry is a delicious and smoky North Indian variation of the Mediterranean baba ganoush. This simple dish has unique smoky flavors that come from grilling the eggplant on direct fire or charcoal. The grilled eggplant is then chopped or mashed, spiced up and cooked to a delicate finish. This baingan bharta/roasted eggplant pairs well with Indian flat breads like roti/paratha and steamed white rice. Paratha is made from a simple dough of flour, salt, oil, and water. The dough is divided and each piece is rolled out and smeared with a generous amount of ghee, butter, or shortening, and sprinkled with flour to help provide definition between the layers.*

Paratha is a type of flaky, layered flatbread common throughout South Asia. They can be simple — layered with your choice of fat (such as ghee, butter, or shortening) and rolled into a variety of shapes (such as square, round, or triangular) — or they can even be stuffed or filled, such as in aloo paratha or Mughlai paratha.

“Paratha, while definitely bread, is not baked the way that naan is. Rather, it’s fried in a tawa, a stone frying pan, using butter or cooking oil. While naan is generally rolled out once and slapped up against the side of the tandoor, paratha often gets rolled out multiple times, creating a very flaky bread,” says the Little India Restaurant in Denver, Colorado.**

“The word ‘baingan’ refers to eggplant/brinjal and ‘bharta’ means mashed. So baingan bharta refers to eggplant mash. The taste of this dish depends on how well you roast the eggplant. This curry tastes good even without the smoky flavors but if you can infuse some smoky flavors into the eggplant, then it tastes heavenly and delectable,” says Mrs. Sowmya Raghavan at Sowmya’s Spicy Corner, where she features many authentic vegetarian recipes.

Baingan Bharta/Roasted Eggplant Curry (Photos courtesy Sowmya’s Spicy Corner)

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant

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1 medium onion

1 medium tomato

1 1-inch piece ginger

5 to 6 cloves garlic

1 green chili

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Salt to taste

Coriander leaves to garnish

2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons oil, more to taste

Preparation:

Greasing the eggplant – Wash and pat dry the eggplant with a kitchen towel. Grease the eggplant with oil. Greasing the eggplant helps in getting a smoky flavor when cooked on fire. Make small slits on the eggplant using a fork or knife. Making small slits this way will allow the heat to penetrate inside so that the inside of the eggplant gets cooked evenly.

Roasting the eggplant – Place the greased eggplant directly on fire and roast it on medium flame. Keep flipping the eggplant frequently using tongs from side to side so that all the sides are uniformly roasted. As and when the eggplant gets roasted, you will start seeing brown/black spots on the skin. Continue to roast the eggplant until the outer skin wrinkles completely and the inner fleshy part is soft and tender. Roast the eggplant until it almost collapses. Insert a sharp knife to check if the fleshy part  is cooked well. Once it is done, turn the heat to high and roast it for about 30 to 60 seconds.

Roasting on high heat at the end will give a smoky flavor to the dish. Switch off the flame and place the roasted eggplant on a plate and allow it to cool. The whole process of roasting the eggplant might take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Peeling/chopping the eggplant and preparing the veggies: Peel the outer skin of the eggplant carefully and discard the skin. Chop or mash the fleshy part of the eggplant into small pieces and keep it aside.

Finely chop the onion and tomato. Grind the green chili, ginger and garlic to a coarse or fine paste.

Spice up the roasted eggplant. Heat a pan and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is warm enough, add the chopped onion. Sauté until the onion is transparent. Add the ginger-garlic-green chili paste and cook for about a minute until the raw flavors go off. Add the chopped tomato and mix well. Cover the pan and cook on low-medium heat until the tomatoes are soft and  mushy.

Add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and kashmiri chili powder. Mix well and cook for a minute in low flame. Add a little water and mix well. Now add the chopped eggplant and mix well. Add salt. Check for spice level, and add more chili powder if needed. Add garam masala powder and cook for 2 minutes. Add a little water to get the desired consistency.

Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves. (Note: Garam masala is a warm, fragrant spice blend with lots of layers of flavor. Not every blend will taste the same, but you’ll likely get hints of cinnamon, cloves or peppercorns. Try a pinch on roasted vegetables-you’ll really taste it.)

Serve this dish with Indian flat breads like roti/paratha and steamed white rice.

*See: https://www.thekitchn.com/parathas-recipe-23280232

**See:
https://www.littleindiaofdenver.com/blog/paratha-vs-naan/#:~:text=Paratha%2C%20while%20definitely%20bread%2C%20is,creating%20a%20very%20flaky%20bread.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves 2 to 4.

Notes:

Variation – If you prefer to add green peas, add them after the tomatoes are cooked.

Green chilies give a nice flavor and taste to this dish. If you prefer green chilies over red chili powder, you can add more green chilies and reduce the quantity of chili powder. You can also use jalapeno or serrano pepper, if desired.

Choose the round/globular Italian type because it is best for grilling/roasting and yields the most eggplant pulp after you remove the burnt skins. While roasting the eggplant, keep the heat setting to medium initially. This will allow the eggplant to cook uniformly. If the heat is on high initially, then the skin of the eggplant will wrinkle before the inside fleshy part gets cooked.

Variation – While making slits in the eggplant, you can insert 2 or 3 garlic cloves inside the eggplant. This will allow the garlic to get roasted on direct flame which in turn enhances the flavor of the dish.

Mrs. Sowmya Raghavan at  <https://sowmyasspicycorner.com/> Sowmya’s Spicy Corner

Sowmya’s Spicy Corner – A vegetarian food blog with delicious and heartwarming recipes, and step by step instructions.

For this recipe and more, see:

https://sowmyasspicycorner.com/2022/02/25/baingan-bharta-roasted-eggplant-curry/

https://www.pinterest.ca/raghavan07610081/

https://www.pinterest.ca/raghavan07610081/my-recipes/

https://www.pinterest.com/raghavan0761/vegetarian-recipes/

For Roasted Eggplant Chutney, see:

https://sowmyasspicycorner.com/2021/03/22/roasted-eggplant-chutney-kathirikkai-thogaiyal/

Also:  https://janeammeson.com/2022/06/10/eggplant-curry-recipe/

Also: https://pipingpotcurry.com/baingan-bharta/

 

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