I used to be a dedicated eggplant-hater. That’s because every eggplant dish I ever ate growing up was too greasy and spicy.

Over the past three years, I’ve begun to like them. I started slowly with Baba Ghanouj (which I love) and then to some Indian dishes like Gotsu and Yennegai. I didn’t really dig those, but this one’s a winner. In this dish, as in Baba Ghanouj, the eggplant is broiled for that unique smoky flavour.

Baingan ka Bharta (in Hindi, baingan = eggplant, bharta = mashed) is a delectable classic from North India. The flavour was enhanced by the onions and peas freshly harvested from our garden.

For an authentic smoky flavour:
- Cook the eggplant whole directly on an open flame (traditionally it’s done on charcoals) or broil it in the oven (as I did). Steaming/boiling does not yield the same taste.

- Remove the eggplant’s seeds. That’s where all the bitterness lies.

- Use ghee (clarified butter) or butter, raw mustard oil or a combo. The mustard oil imparts a nice pungent aroma.

- Use smoked paprika or chipotle chillies in adobo sauce. Paprika also imparts a bright red colour. If you don’t have either, use Kashmiri chilli powder (deghi mirch).

BAINGAN Ka BHARTA (Smoky Spiced Eggplant)

(Serves 4)

Cut
1 Italian eggplant

in half and place it on a cookie sheet lined with foil or silicone. If using foil, oil it. Place the eggplant halves cut side down and oil the skin. This helps it loosen better later. Broil on HIGH for between 14 and 20 minutes (it depends on how big the eggplant is). The skin will char and turn crackly.

Mine was medium and took about 15 minutes.

Let it cool for a few minutes. Then peel off the skin and remove and discard the seeds. Chop the pulp coarsely and set aside.

I got 1.5 cups of pulp.

Heat
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) and 2 tsp raw mustard oil

in a big pan. You can use all ghee/butter or all mustard oil.

Add
3/4 tsp cumin seeds.

When they sizzle, add
1/2 cup chopped red onion (or shallots)
1/4 cup chopped spring onion whites
half tsp ginger
a dash of sea salt

and cook on a medium flame until the onions start turning golden. Add

1 tbsp roasted garlic paste
1/3 tsp turmeric
half tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
half tsp garam masala powder
(or equal parts cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)

stir just until the spices release their aroma and add

1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves

Cook on medium until the tomatoes have softened and everything starts to come together into a pulpy mass.

Add
2 chopped green chillies
half tsp smoked paprika powder
the eggplant pulp
about a cup of water

Cook covered on medium for five minutes. Mash the whole mixture with a potato masher until there are no big chunks.

Check for salt/seasonings. If it’s too spicy, add a dash of organic sugar or jaggery.

Add a handful of fresh peas or frozen (no need to thaw) if you wish.

Let it cooked covered for another few minutes until the peas are done.

Turn off the heat and add
one tsp ghee/mustard oil.

Stir and check for tartness. If you want it tarter, add

a dash of lime juice (or a couple tablespoons of organic plain yogurt).

Garnish with
spring onion greens.

J’s dinner: Baingan ka Bharta with hot thin rotis and a cup of plain yogurt.

Day 12 of 20 of the Eat to Live vegan detox plan.

MENU

July 21 (Day 12)
Breakfast:
Black tea with almond milk
Oat and ragi porridge with mango and almonds

Mid-morning:
a few sugar-free dark chocolate raisins
1 apple with 1 tbsp peanut butter

Lunch:
1 cup rice-lentil khichdi
half cup beet-apple salad
1/4 cup spiced chickpeas (sundal)

Mid-afternoon:
Mocha Protein Shake
6 oz. coconut water

Dinner:
1/2 cup spiced chickpeas mixed with pea and rice protein powder
1/4 cup Baingan Bharta (Smoky Spiced Eggplant)
1/2 cup steamed broccoli

EXERCISE

2 hrs. taekwondo

- b.

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10 Comments

  1. RV says:

    Such a tempting palette.

  2. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Lovely clicks. You made the humble Baingan look so sensuous! Nice to be here, best wishes.

  3. Simona says:

    Beautiful photos! I love eggplant, though I agree with you that often eggplant dishes are too greasy. J’s dinner looks very nice.

  4. Rosa says:

    Oh, I love eggplants and this dish looks fantastic! Perfect with rotis and yogurt sauce.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  5. Anjali says:

    First I thot, good to see Bee back to normal food :)

  6. M says:

    Hey Bee- the baingan bharta looks delicious. And good going about your detox-diet. :)

    I recently cam to know about this video on youtube about soy milk. Among food bloggers I know that you and vaishali of earthvegan are into vegan eating. I personally also am fond of soymilk. SO if you have any information about the video kindly do share. It will be highly appreciated.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ_dYgWQw-c

    Thanks,
    M

    • jai bee says:

      i eat soy maybe once a week ‘cos i don’t like it. i don’t know if it’s good or bad for you. when i eat soy it’s organic non-GMO. i prefer almond milk.

  7. Priya Menon says:

    HI BEE , LOVE UR SNAPS :) . WE LOVE BRINJAL . I TOO BROIL THE BRINJAL IN THE OVEN ; BUT FOR EXTRA FLAVOR I PUNCTURE THEM WITH A FEW CLOVES .WHEN I MASH THE BRINJAL I REMOVE THE CLOVES .:)

  8. Gini says:

    Sounds delicious. Plenty of tomatoes and eggplants to be used up from our CSA share.

  9. [...] precious to spend slaving in the kitchen. Yesterday we stuck some potatoes in the oven and made a Baingan Bharta that took two minutes – literally. Truth be told, it was much tastier than the Baingan Bharta [...]



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