Nothing says summer like eggplant and tomatoes, and nothing says wonderfully flavorful Indian food like this recipe. Baingan Bharta is a very common dish in India during the warm seasons. It has a smooth, creamy texture, and tastes somewhat like a Middle Eastern Bhabaganoush with much more flavor. At our home, baingan bharta is definitely a go-to dish in the summer season because it is just so delicious and fantastically easy to make. If you’ve ever had this dish at an Indian restaurant, making it at home with homegrown, organic vegetables (or from a farmer’s market) really takes it to a different level. You’ll want to eat this one night after night. Don’t forget to make extra to share with neighbors and friends too!
– 1/8 cup ghee, butter, or other unrefined cooking oil
– 1/4 tsp Asafoetida (available at Indian or Arabic Markets)
– 1 to 2 tbsp diced ginger (to taste)
– 1 cup chopped vine-ripe tomato
– 1 large eggplant (Black Beauty type), charred
– salt to taste
– 1/4 tsp pepper to taste
– 1/2 tsp turmeric
– 1/4 cup fresh, chopped cilantro + 1 tbsp for garnish
– (optional) hot chilis or bell peppers
There are two options for roasting an eggplant that I’ll go over.
Option 1. Roasting in the Oven/Broiler/Toaster Oven
Set your oven to Broil. Place your eggplant on a baking pan and put in the oven. Every 5 minutes, check on your eggplant to see if the skin is charred. If it is charred, turn it to an uncharred section. Continue roasting until the eggplant is evenly charred and the flesh is soft and juicy.
Option 2. Roasting on an Open Flame (Gas Stove) – Preferred Method
Turn your stove on to a medium flame. Using tongs, place your eggplant into the flame. When the underside of your eggplant is charred, turn it to an uncharred section. Repeat this process until the entire eggplant is evenly charred and the flesh is soft and juicy.
Cut a slit in the eggplant and scoop out the soft flesh into a bowl. Then using a fork or mashing tool, mash the eggplant. Place the charred skin into your compost bin or chicken feed pile.
Side Note: You can always prepare for this dish ahead of time by roasting your eggplant up to one day before finishing the dish
Place a heavy bottomed sauce pan on a medium flame. Add your butter/ghee/oil to the pan. Once the pan is warmed, stir asafoetida into the oil, and then add the chopped ginger. Stir the ginger in the oil for one minute.
Add your chopped tomatoes into spice-infused oil and lower the heat to a medium-low. Cover your pan with a lid, and cook for about 5 minutes. At this point, your tomatoes should have melted into a chunky sauce.
Add the roasted mashed eggplant into the tomato sauce. Also add turmeric , salt, black peppers and the optional chilis (if you want some spice).
Cook without a lid, stirring every 5 minutes. After about 15 minutes you will see the oil separate from the vegetables.
You are just about done!
Remove the pan from heat, and then top with the 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro and stir.
Place into your serving dish and sprinkle with tsbp cilantro as garnish.