Baigan Bhartha

One of our all time favorite and comfort food – the humble “Baigan Bhartha”. :))) Instead of the usual roasting over the gas, here we can use the oven to char the eggplants to perfection! try it out….

Ingredients:

Eggplant – 1 big (the japanese  eggplants) – if using the smaller long ones(the green or purple ones) -use 5 to 6 nos. (Don’t use the small purple round eggplants)

Onions – 1 large, finely chopped in a food processor

Tomatoes – 4 med, finely chopped

Turmeric (Haldi) – ½ tsp

Oil – 2 tbsps

Salt – to taste

Frozen peas – 1/2 cup

Ginger – 1tsp, finely chopped/grated

Garlic – 1 tsp, finely chopped/grated

Asofoetida (Hing) – 1 pinch

Coriander powder (Dhaniya) – 2 tsps

Cumin powder (Jeera) – 1 tsp

Garam Masala – 1tsp (use fresh ground garam masala for a wonderful taste or use whole garam masala- cloves, cinnamon, bayleaf, star anise and fennel).

Red Chili Powder – to taste

Green Chilies – to taste, finely chopped

Cilantro – 5 sprigs, finely chopped, for garnishing

Lemon juice – optional – for garnish

Method:

Pre-heat the oven at 400 degrees, rub a little oil on the eggplant, put it in a oven-proof dish and cook for 1 hour. I turn them slightly every 15 minutes. Once that is done, take eggplant out, let it cool a little and then peel off the skin (it will come off very easily). Cut cubes of the flesh, mash it and keep aside.

Heat rest of the oil in a non-stick pan on medium-to-high heat. After the oil gets hot, add asafoetida, turmeric and onions (in that order. If using whole garam masala instead of the powder later, add them now and don’t add the garam masala powder later). Give it a good stir and let it cook till the onions turn translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and let it cook till the onions start turning golden. Add the tomatoes and cook till the oil separates from the mixture…this will take a little while. Don’t forget to keep stirring, tomatoes tend to burn fast.

Add garam masala(if not using whole garam masala ingredients earlier), cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder and the green chilies. Mix . Add the eggplant cubes and mix. Add the peas and salt, mix and cover the wok, reduce to medium flame and let it cook. Once it starts boiling and the spices have all blended in well with the eggplant and peas, it is ready. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with naans, chapatis, paranthas. I also love to squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the dish– it tastes just divine on a cold winter evening with some ‘garam garam’ phulkas 😉

Bon Appetit 🙂

Tips:

  1. Use a 1 or 2” deep dish for baking; the eggplant tends to let go of a lot of juice, which can be thrown away.
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