Roasted Eggplant Curry

Baingan Bharta Recipe

Eggplant is a fruit! Did you know that? I was so surprised when I learnt that a few years ago. Eggplant is known for its meaty goodness and its ability to absorb so much flavor. It can be used in any course of the meal from appetizer to …well….I haven’t tried an eggplant dessert yet, so I’ll say entrée ! The taste of the eggplant dish depends very much on 1. the variety of eggplant we use, 2. how we choose to cook it, and, 3. what spices we use to add flavor to it.

I like eggplants the most when they are fire roasted. The flavor the bigger eggplants like the American/Globe or Italian eggplants get when they are roasted in the oven or the flame of a gas stove is my favorite. Kids love a mean eggplant parmesan, which again uses the meatier eggplants. Right after, in a very close second place come the Japanese eggplants….the magic of these subtle eggplants in some soy, ginger, garlic based sauce is pure yum!

The South Indian cuisine uses a whole new variety of eggplants that are small and firm. Smaller eggplants are usually pan fried and then coated in a lot of aromatics. The type of eggplant used varies from recipe to recipe. This curry, typical to the Punjabi cuisine uses the bigger and meatier eggplants, that are fire roasted. In the South, this particular method is used to make chutneys/thogayal/raita/pachadi.

A smoky roasted eggplant curry – Baingan Bharta

Baingan Bharta is fire roasted eggplant, mashed and added to a curry base. Add some yogurt or tomatoes or lemon juice for a mild tang, some cinnamon for that hint of sweet sensation it can bring to a dish and keep it as mild or as spicy as you’d like it to be ! This is how we like it, so this is how I make it, but please feel free to change it up with flavors of your choice. If using tomatoes, add them right after the onions. If using yogurt, beat it well and add it once the onions cook or in the end. Mix well quickly as soon as you add it so that you do not curdle the yogurt.

Ingredients :

  1. American or Italian Eggplant – 1 – oven roasted
  2. Frozen Green peas – 1/4 cup – optional
  3. Onion – 1 medium
  4. Ginger Garlic paste – 1 teaspoon or to taste
  5. Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon or to taste
  6. Cinnamon powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  7. Garam masala – 1 teaspoon
  8. Green chili – 1 slit – optional
  9. Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  10. Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  11. Salt to taste
  12. Oil – 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon
Roasted Eggplant Curry

How to :

  • To roast the eggplant in an oven, preheat the conventional oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Wash, dry and cut the eggplant in half vertically.
  • Apply some olive oil on both sides and place them on a greased (I have used a greased aluminum foil on my sheet) baking sheet.
  • Once the oven is preheated, place the eggplants face down on the baking sheet and put it in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, when you see nice golden brown color on the eggplant, flip it over and roast it for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven when it is completely roasted, cooked well enough throughout.
  • Once it cools down just enough to be able to handle it, peel the purple skin off and throw the meat into a bowl and mash well.

For the curry Base :

  • In a pan, add oil and heat it up on medium heat. To this, add the slit green chili and onions and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Then add the ginger garlic paste. Saute for 2 minutes
  • Now add the mashed eggplant and all the spice powders.
  • Add salt to taste, then the green peas.
  • Let it cook and come together or about 5 minutes. Cover and let it do its thing.
  • Turn off the stove and add the lemon juice.
  • Garnish with cilantro if you desire.

We ate it with rotis, beet greens sautéed in garlic and some plain yogurt. A weekend Thali meal, followed by a peaceful siesta!!

Make it your own and enjoy!! Thank you for stopping by !!

A new addition to the kitchen added the much needed traditional flavor to this dish, please find picture below: this is completely optional.

A stainless steel grill pan, typically used on an outdoor grill, makes for a great indoor stove top grilling tool as well. Loved the smoky flavor this added to the curry, a flavor that is a big part of this dish.

I hope you will give this a try as well. Thank you.

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