Baingan Bharta is an irresistible, spicy north Indian dish of fire-roasted eggplant mashed and cooked with tomatoes and onions. It is an Indian restaurant favorite, which is not surprising because it's delicious and versatile enough to enhance nearly any meal, especially a simple Indian dinner of dal and rice. A vegan, soy-free, nut-free and gluten-free recipe.
- 2 medium eggplants (use Italian eggplants)
- 8-10 garlic cloves (crushed and left whole. Halve if very large)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
- ¼ cup cilantro (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoon grated ginger
- 4 tomatoes (finely diced)
- 1 green chili pepper (like serrano or jalapeno, finely minced. Optional)
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (use more or less depending on how much heat you like)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- Salt to taste
Roasting the eggplants on a grill or stovetop: Make slits all over the eggplant skin and insert the crushed garlic inside each until it's firmly embedded. Using a pair of tongs, carefully roast the eggplant on each side until the skin is charred and a knife inserted in the thickest part goes cleanly through.Roasting the eggplants in the oven: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut each eggplant into half lengthwise. Make slits in the flesh portion of each half and insert a garlic clove in each. Place cut side down on a foil-lined pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the thickest part of the eggplant goes cleanly through.
When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, peel off the charred skin if you roasted them over an open fire, or, if you baked them, scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Chop roughly. You can also mash the eggplant or blitz it, but I prefer chopping for the best flavor. Set the eggplant aside.
In a saucepan, heat the oil and add the cumin. Let the cumin darken slightly and then add the onions, green chili peppers if using, and half the cilantro. Season with some salt. Saute over medium heat until the onions soften and start to brown.
Add the ginger, coriander powder, cayenne and turmeric. Mix well to toast the spices, for about a minute. Then add in the tomatoes. Mix, and let them cook another five minutes or so until pulpy. You don't want to cook them for too long.
Add the chopped or mashed eggplant and mix thoroughly until it disappears into the sauce. Add salt as necessary.
Turn off the heat after five minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 955mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1332IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2mg