Baingan ka bharta

Baingan ka bharta is one of my all time favorite Punjabi dish. Traditionally it was slow roasted over coals till the skin was burnt and the insides cooked. It was mashed with other vegetables, hence the name “bharta”. The signature of the dish is its burnt flavor.  Today either cooked on the stove top or micro wave oven, the flavors still remain tantalizing to taste buds. I prepared a very basic recipe for lunch today and we had it with curd, chapattis and radish slices.
Preparation time and cooking time: 35 - 40 minutes

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup peas boiled in salt water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 4tbsp beaten curd
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Pierce the eggplant at several places with a sharp fork. Place it on a baking sheet. Bake 20 to 30 minutes till tender (the skin looks shrinked). Remove from heat; cover it with foil till it cools. This way the skin comes off easily. Mash it well leaving no lumps.
  • Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add chilies, ginger and fry for 2 minutes. Add the onions and. Cook them till they turn light pink.
  • Add Garam masala and tomatoes into the saucepan, and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with salt, add the mashed eggplant and peas.  Cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove cover, reduce heat to low, add the beaten curd and continue cooking about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and a dollop of butter to serve.
Tip: For the classic burnt taste I usually place the roasted eggplant on a wire mesh over the burner for 5 minutes and then cool it. It can be cooked over the stove top or in the microwave oven for 15-20 minutes. Diced mushrooms or even carrots may be added.