Eggplants, in general, are delicious to me! But roasted eggplants are at a different level of deliciousness. That earthy, semi-soft texture and flavor work so well in so many different type of cuisines.
But when you pair roasted eggplants with Indian spices and herbs, you will have changed your perception of just how good Indian food can be! Imagine a plate of roasted eggplant (or bhaingain) that has been roughly mashed with fresh tomatoes, onions, fenugreek and cilantro and cooked in a spicy sauce bursting with Indian spices. Then eat that with some cool yogurt and either a hot butter naan or freshly made wheat roti. Now THAT is some seriously delicious food in front of you!
Bhaigan Bharta is dish that is not only beautiful to look at but absolutely delicious! The eggplant is half-roasted and then recooked in a thick sauce made with fresh vegetables and seasoned with many different spices and herbs. The eggplant is cooked low and slow and all the seasoning from the sauce caramelizes a bit on the eggplant, giving it a really incredible flavor and texture! What I also do is roughly mash the eggplant a bit so you get a creamy eggplant texture mixed in with chunky eggplant pieces. It becomes a “meaty” dish that is hearty, comforting and the epitome of Indian comfort food.
It can be eaten with any type of Indian bread or with an Indian version of sticky rice with lentils called “Kichdi.” Once you’ve tried this dish, you will understand why so many people love it, whether they make it at home or have it in an Indian restaurant!
Baingan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Curry)
- Masala Mix:
- 2 tomato (finely diced)
- 2 Tbsp. fenugreek leaves (fresh or dried)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1.5 tsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. coriander powder (freshly ground if possible)
- 1 Tbsp. cumin powder (freshly ground if possible)
- 1.5 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 Tbsp. of freshly chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
- 1 Tbsp. garlic paste (minced garlic works too)
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- Sauté Mix:
- ¼ cup oil
- ¼ cup tomato paste (4 Tbsp.)
- ¼ tsp. asafetida
- 1 cup water (1.5 cups for a more liquid curry sauce)
- 10 baby eggplants
- 1 medium onion (finely diced)
- ¼ cup cilantro (for garnish)
NOTE: You may use 1 large eggplant or 2 medium size eggplants in place of the baby eggplants, if preferred. Cooking steps will remain the same.
- Clean eggplants and remove the leaves and thin part of the stem.
- Once cleaned, cut the eggplants by making a crosscut ¾ down the middle, keeping the whole vegetables intact. (You should be able to open and see them split in fourths till the middle.
- Place eggplant on foil-lined baking sheet and broil on lower rack for about 15-20 minutes, flipping eggplant once onto other side during the cooking time. (Eggplant should soften a bit, but not be fully cooked.) After time, remove from oven and set aside.
- In a large shallow pan or deep pot, add oil and heat on medium. Once oil is hot, add asafetida, onions, and tomato paste. Allow to cook for about 30seconds 1 minute.
- Add in tomatoes, fenugreek, salt, chili powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, 1 Tbsp. cilantro, ginger, garlic, sugar, and garam masala, and allow to sauté for about 2-3 minutes. (A thick sauce should begin to form.)
- Once sauce has formed, carefully add eggplants individually into the pot. (Do not dump all eggplants into pot all at once, as they will break.)
- Cover pan/pot and allow to cook for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat (stir in between)
- Open pot add 1 cup water. Cover and allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes or until everything is fork tender.
- Once eggplant is tender, remove from heat. Carefully transfer to serving dish and garnish with extra cilantro.
- Serve hot with desired Indian bread, rice, and plain yogurt on side.
What do you think?
Let me know your thoughts on this recipe. Comment below or tag me with your own Baingan Bharta pics on IG @cmspiceculture.