Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Baingan Ka Bhartha Recipe

Baingan (aka Aubergine, Eggplant, Kathirikai, Bhaingan, Brinjal) is one of my favourite vegetables to play around with. If cooked adequately, there are so many dishes you can make - eggplant parmigiana, lasagne, smoked eggplant curry, gojju/gotsu, morr kozhambu/kadhi, vatha kozhambu, and one of my husband's favourites - Baingan Ka Bharta. Not only is it vegetarian, it's vegan!


It was my husband's birthday a few days ago, and he was lucky enough to have two birthdays - his star birthday (by nakshathiram) and his actual birthday, which were on the 2nd and the 3rd. We had a large aubergine sitting in the vegetable stand, and instead of making the usual kathirikai-kaai or gojju, I thought I'd mix it up a little. He loves this dish, but moreover, he loves anything spicy.

It's unfortunate that I was told by my guru once that Baingan isn't very good for you, because for people with sensitive skin, such as myself, it aggravates skin conditions. So around here, we keep Baingan to a minimum, but when we do have it, we go all out!!

Preparing this dish is quite time consuming, but it's worth all the effort taken. Please bear in mind that to create this dish, you will require a gas stove, as you will need to burn the skin off the large eggplant whilst it's cookin' and smokin' inside.
The smoky aroma that this dish emanates is simply mindblowing, so much so, that it's almost too difficult to wait till it's ready to dive in! This dish is best served with some warm parathas, naans or kulchas. Funnily enough, it's okay to prepare this dish a day early, because by the next day, the flavours are so well drunken into the eggplant over a few hours, that it tastes even better! 

You see, the best thing about this recipe, given to me by my dearest mother, is that it's made with all natural ingredients. No boxed masala, no canned tomatoes, and no artificial flavours or colours. You're simply getting the right flavours to complement the smoky baingan. Ah, we've achieved the yum.


1 large eggplant/aubergine
2 large tomatoes (or 3 small)
1 large onion
1 teaspoon of jeera (cumin seeds)
2 tablespoons of oil (I used olive oil, but almost any type of oil is fine)
2 green chillies, chopped very finely
1/2 teaspoon of hing/asafoetida/perungayam
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of kashmiri/red chilli powder
1 teaspoon dhania/coriander powder
Salt to taste

1. Poke two forks/knives/skewers into the top of the large eggplant, and place it directly on the flame as shown in the above picture. Make sure it roasts really really well, all around, such that it will literally appear burnt at the end of it. Make sure that you not only roast the bottom, but also the top. All of it should be well cooked. See:

2. After it's nicely barbequed, place the eggplant on a plate and let it cool for just 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, chop the onions, green chillies and tomatoes and keep aside (separately).

4. Now, take the large eggplant, and place it in a bowl of cold water. Slowly and carefully, peel off the skin so you are left with just the top of the eggplant and the flesh inside. Cut off the top. Now, place the flesh in a bowl and mash it till it looks like this:

5. In a cooking pot, add the oil and let it heat up. Once it's hot, add the jeera and allow it to splutter. Then add the chopped onions and green chillies. Also add the turmeric, hing and chilli powder. Allow to cook for a few minutes.

6. Now add the tomatoes, and allow it to cook until the raw smell of the tomatoes disappears.

7. Add the mashed eggplant, and mix it really well such that it blends very well. Mash it some more if need be.

8. Add the dhania powder and salt to taste.

9. Allow it to cook for about 10 minutes on a medium flame, with a lid on top. 

After this, taste it to check whether it is too spicy. If so, add 1/2 a cup of milk and allow it to boil till it's almost evaporated. This will reduce the spiciness. If you don't want to add milk, you can always add 2 tablespoons of yoghurt after you have turned the flame off, and mix it into the dish to reduce the spiciness. This has always worked wonders for me. 

If you are vegan simply add a little soy milk instead, but right at the end. Don't let it boil. Simply fold in with the curry.

10. Once it is well cooked, turn off the flame and serve hot with kulchas/parathas/naans.

I'm enjoying this delicious curry with some parathas, listening to one of our favourite tunes - Tere Bina from Guru. Only the sweet voice of Chinmayi and the tough-romantic voice of A.R Rahman can do justice to such a blissful moment. Happy Birthday Hubby.



Tags: baingan bhartha bharta eggplant aubergine kathrikai kathirikai subji sabzi curry vegetarian vegan indian india recipe dish cooking instruction step