Baingan Bharta, or Smokey Eggplant Curry, is a north Indian dish made by grilling whole eggplant over charcoal or direct fire.
The charred outer skin is removed and the remaining portion is mashed and cooked with a spiced mixture of tomato gravy.
Surprisingly, this dish does not taste like eggplant. At all.
So much so that even my never-eggplanter cousin enjoys it.
The cooking is pretty straightforward – grill the eggplant, remove and discard the charred skin, mash the eggplant, prepare the tomato masala gravy, mix them, and cook.
This baingan bharta is best served over rice, or roti, or chapati.
Let’s do this!
Delicious Baingan Bharta (Smokey Eggplant Curry)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cloves garlic (whole)
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 whole green chilies
- 1 inch ginger minced
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 4 medium tomatoes chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1/4 cup cilantro (freshly chopped)
- 1 eggplant (whole, round)
Using a sharp knife, make 4 vertical slits (1/2 inch deep) in 4 opposite directions of the eggplant. Stuff 2 garlic cloves + 2 green chilies in the slits; one in each slit.
Transfer the eggplant to a stovetop/grill and roast over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the skin is completely charred, and the eggplant turns soft and 'pulpy'. Make sure you turn the eggplant every 2 minutes so as to roast it evenly.
You can also use an oven if you want (although it won't have that authentic smokey profile). Simply roast for 40 minutes at 500 F (250 C), flipping halfway. Then broil for 5 minutes.
Once roasted, let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Then peel and discard the skin.
Mash the eggplant using a potato masher and set aside.
Set a pan over medium heat. Add oil. Once it's hot, add garlic cloves (fresh) + roasted garlic cloves + roasted green chilies + ginger and stir-saute for 1-2 minutes.
Add onion stir-cook for 1-2 minutes, or until translucent. Then add tomato + turmeric powder + Kashmiri red chili powder + cumin powder + coriander powder + salt. Stir well. Cover the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the tomato is mushy. Stir occasionally.
Next, add the mashed eggplant. Mix well, cover the pan, and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Stir occasionally.
Turn off the heat. Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro and mix well. Serve with rice, chapati, or roti.