Baingan Bharta (Roasted eggplant with Indian spices)
My love affair with this vegetable began more than two decades ago. It was introduced to me as “katharikai Poriyal” i.e. stir fried eggplant. Since then I’m in love with this vegetable and our affair continues with many new experimentations
The other authentic Sri Lankan way of cooking eggplant is to make fried chips and serve it in hot and sour spicy gravy. Eggplant’s bland and mildly sweet flesh enables it to easily absorb flavors. Hence the best way to cook them is to blend with different strong flavors.
Another method I recently discovered from a TV show is to make Chinese style eggplant with spicy chili sauce. I love all these methods of preparing eggplant it’s hard for me to pick the best among these.
I have tried Baingan Bharta in North Indian restaurants. Recently when I started experimenting with roasting vegetables I decided to prepare this curry. This method requires roasting the eggplant till its skin turns black and blistered. Roasted eggplant flesh is cooked with spice paste.
You can serve this curry with Indian flat bread, I love to have it with fragrant Basmati rice or it can also be spread on bread ( I liked it so much, I spread it on pizza crust) or also can be served as a dip with tortilla chips.
I will continue to try new recipes with eggplant. Every time I have tried, it turned out to be scrumptious & irresistible. Stay tuned for more eggplant recipes here.
1 medium size eggplant
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp coriander seeds
4 dry red chilis
handful of curry leaves
To make the sauce
1 large onion
1 large tomato
3 cloves of garlic
1 small piece of ginger
4 green chilies (optional use according to your spice level)
To prepare the curry
4 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp full cream (optional)
1tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi) (optional)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Amchar powder (dry mango powder)- if you don’t have this, you can use lemon juice – See more at: http://web.archive.org/web/20130720190015/http://www.amisvegetarian.com/2012/08/baingan-bharta-roasted-eggplant-with.html#sthash.NZSxEqfZ.dpuf
Preheat oven at 250C-celcius. Slice eggplant into 2 halves lengthwise. Fully brush olive oil into the skin and roast in oven for 20 minutes till skin is blistered and darkened. Please note roasting time may vary depending on your oven, so please keep an eye on it. Remove from oven and set it aside to cool.
Dry roast coriander seeds and dry red chilies till they are fragrant. Just before turning off heat add curry leaves and roast. Leave it to cool and grind it using dry grinder.
Separately use a food processor and blend wet ingredients such as onion, tomato, green chili, garlic and ginger. Blend it to a coarse paste. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan add this paste. Cook till its aromatic, dry and oil starts to separate. You may want to close the lid as this paste may spit out.
Scoop out flesh from eggplant, mash with fork till it has a coarse texture.
Once the paste is aromatic add dry ground mixture, mashed eggplant, cream, dried fenugreek leaves and salt to taste. Mix well and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Turn off heat and add amchar powder or lemon juice. Serve with your choice of main meal. I prefer to have it with Basmati rice and some plain yogurt.