Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Baingan Bharta: Mashed Smoked Eggplant

Baingan Bharta is primarily a vegetarian dish that comprises bhurtha (minced vegetables) made from eggplant (baingan) which is grilled over charcoal or direct fire, to infuse the dish with a smoky flavour. This is India'a Baba Ghanoush! Traditionally this dish is served with Indian Flatbread Roti or Millet Rotis. 

A very popular dish in Western India, Baingan Bharta has an array of vegetables minced together with Baingan, which is the main ingredient. Even for people who do not like eggplant as a vegetable, this dish slips in as the pieces of eggplant are not visible!

Eggplant 1, large
Onion 1/2 cup, chopped
Green Pepper 1/2 cup, chopped
Carrots 1/2 cup, diced
Garlic 2-3 cloves, minced
Ginger 1/2 inch, minced
Tomato 1/2 cup, diced
Spring Onion greens 4-5 chopped
Spices (Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds, Asafoetida, Turmeric powder, Red chilli powder, Coriander powder)
Yoghurt 3 tbsp
Salt and lime juice as per taste

Wash and dry the eggplant. Make 2-3 vertical cuts in the body and apply a thin layer of oil on it. Roast the eggplant directly on medium flame, rotating it continuously till it is charred from all sides. This will take about 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the eggplant. Once completely charred, put the eggplant on a plate and let it cool just enough to handle by naked hand. While it is still hot, remove all the charred skin, cut off the top green portion and mash the eggplant.If there are large seeds in it, remove them too.

In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, followed by cumin and asafoetida. Once the mustard and cumin pop, add the garlic and ginger. Next add onions and cook till they are pink. Add the peppers and cook them. Put the tomatoes in next and let everything cook. Once cooked, add yoghurt and whisk well till it completely mixes with the gravy. Next add the carrots and mashed eggplant. Adjust salt and lime juice as per taste. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and mix well.

Cook till the vegetables are softened. Add spring onion greens and mix. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with millet flatbreads.

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