Baingan ka bharta

Baingan bharta (eggplant curry) is a very popular Punjabi vegetarian dish enjoyed in all of North India and some other places. Baingan ka bharta has a very smoky flavour and taste because of the roasting of baingan (Aubergine/Eggplant) on direct gas fire. Traditionally, the baingan is roasted on fire, skin peeled off, chopped and then added to an onion and tomato curry. The smoky mashed baingan curry goes very well with roti/chapati/naan and a simple salad.

Ingredients

  • Brinjal (Aubergine) big size – 1 or about 200 gms
  • Oil – 5 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 3/4 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Onion – 2 or 280 gms
  • Tomatoes (large) – 3
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Green chillies – 1
  • Water – 1/2 cup
  • Kitchen king masala – 3 tsp
  • Garam masala – 3/4 tsp
  • Peas – 1/4 cup
  • Salt - as required
  • Coriander leaves (roughly chopped) – 1/3 cup

Method

  • Chop onions, tomatoes, green chilli and coriander leaves. Keep them aside.
  • Roasting baingan

  • Rinse the baingan in water and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Prick the baingan all over.
  • On gas fire

  • Roast the baingan on a medium to low flame for about 15 mins. Turn every 1–2 mins for even roasting. Cook until the skin is charred and the inner flesh cooks and is soft.
  • In oven

  • If cooking in oven, apply oil all over the baingan and prick all over with a fork.
  • Place the baingan on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 200°c for about 40-45 mins or until the skin is blackened, shrunk and the baingan is soft.
  • Pierce the baingan with a knife or fork to check whether it is cooked/soft or not. Cook more if needed.
  • The baingan will be very hot when coming out of the oven. You can cover it with some foil for a few mins. This will loosen the skin of baingan a bit.
  • Peel the skin. If a few bits remain, you can leave as-is or rinse with water to remove those left over burnt skin.
  • I have left mine as-is to get more of the smoky flavour and taste. Cut the stem off and chop or crush the baingan flesh coarsely. Keep aside.
  • Curry

  • Heat the vessel and add oil. When it gets hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and stir for a few seconds.
  • Add chopped onion and cook for about 5 mins or until golden, soft and transparent.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste and saute for about 2 mins. Then add chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Mix well and stir for a few seconds on a low flame.
  • You can add a little water to avoid burning of the spices.
  • Add tomatoes and cook for about 15 mins on a medium flame with closed lid until soft and oil separates. Stir occasionally.
  • Saute the onion and tomato mixture on a medium to low flame for about 5 mins.
  • Add kitchen king masala and chopped green chillies. Mix well and cook for about 10 mins on a low flame. You can add 1/4 cup of water if the curry gets too dry.
  • The dry spices have to be cooked well with the onion and tomato curry until the oil starts to separate.
  • Add baingan, peas, garam masala mix and salt. Cook for about 4 mins on a medium flame. Then cook for another 10 mins on a low flame with the lid closed.
  • Add coriander leaves and mix. Simmer for about 5 mins with closed lid.
  • Serve with plain roti/chapathi/jeera rice and salad.

Notes

  • The consistency of baingan bharta depends on you as to how dry or wet you want it to be.
  • You can add spices after adding tomatoes to avoid the spices from getting burnt.
  • You can reduce the spices, if needed, according to your taste.
  • If you do not have kitchen king masala, you can avoid it and add a little more of the garam masala.

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