Punjabi Eggplant (Baingan Bharta)

Punjabi eggplant in a white ramekin
The Spruce
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 100 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
279 Calories
11g Fat
48g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 279
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 141mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 18%
Dietary Fiber 14g 49%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 22mg 110%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 882mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Punjabi baingan ka bharta is just one of several versions of eggplant bharta in Indian cooking. The word bharta (pronounced BHURR-taah) refers to dishes in which the ingredients are roughly mashed either before or after the dish is prepared.

Bhartas are largely North Indian in origin and made from all sorts of vegetables. This version of baingan ka bharta is also really easy to make and requires roasting an eggplant and then cooking it with onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and lots of aromatic spices, such as cumin and coriander. The recipe calls for garlic paste, which is easy enough to make yourself, or you can often find in the produce section, in jars or tubes. Serve it with hot chapatis and your favorite daal dish.

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Click Play to See This Punjabi Style Eggplant Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 3 medium eggplants, about 1 pound

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste, or finely chopped garlic

  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated

  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 2 green chiles, optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Punjabi eggplant recipe ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Punjabi baingan ka bharta requires roasted eggplant. This can be done in several different ways. The first is to roast it on a gas cooktop by placing the eggplant straight over the burner and keeping the flame on low setting. Keep turning and cooking until all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft; the eggplant will seem to 'cave in' on itself.

    Punjabi eggplant roasted on a cooktop over gas
    The Spruce
  3. Or, you can grill the eggplant in your oven broiler or on your barbecue grill. Again, keep turning periodically until all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft.

    Punjabi eggplant grilled in a grill pan
    The Spruce
  4. The third method is to roast the eggplant in your oven until the eggplant skin is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft.

    Punjabi eggplant broiled in white casserole dish

    The Spruce

  5. Once the eggplant is roasted, allow to cool fully and then peel off and discard the charred skin.

    Punjabi eggplant roasted, peeled, and cut in half

    The Spruce

  6. Once cool, coarsely mash it and keep aside for later use.

    Coarsely mashed roasted eggplant in a white casserole dish

    The Spruce

  7. Now set up a pan on medium heat and add the cooking oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds and cook till the spluttering stops.

    Cumin seeds becoming aromatic in oil in a skillet

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  8. Add the onions and fry until soft and translucent.

    Onions and cumin seed in skillet

    The Spruce

  9. Add the garlic and the ginger and then fry for 1 minute.

    Garlic and ginger added to onion and cumin in a skillet

    The Spruce

  10. Add the tomatoes, optional green chiles, coriander, ground cumin, and garam masala. Stir well and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent the spice mix from sticking to the pan. Sprinkle a little water if needed.

    Punjabi eggplant with onions, garlic, ginger, spices in a skillet

    The Spruce

  11. Now add the eggplant and mix well. Add the chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) and stir. Cook another minute and turn off the heat.

    Punjabi Eggplant recipe
     The Spruce
  12. Serve hot with chapatis or rice and your favorite daal dish.

    Punjabi Eggplant recipe
     The Spruce

What Does Baingan Mean?

Baingan is the Hindi for eggplant/aubergine, which is native to the Indian subcontinent in southern Asia.

Recipe Variations

  • One variation involves only cooking the eggplant and adding the ingredients to the mashed eggplant. Then add 1 large finely chopped onion, 1 large finely chopped tomato, 7 to 8 cloves of finely chopped garlic, 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves, 2 tablespoons mustard oil, salt to taste, and the juice of half of a lime. Serve as with the cooked version.
  • For a spicier dish, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red chili powder.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds to the oil along with the cumin seeds.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate leftover baingan bharta in a covered container for up to 3 days.
  • If you plan to freeze the eggplant dish, leave out the fresh cilantro. Transfer the baingan bharta to airtight containers or a zip-close bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop until the dish is hot (at least 165 F). Add the chopped cilantro just before serving.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.

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