|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
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. Serve it with hot chapatis and your favorite daal dish.
- 3 medium-sized eggplants (roughly 1 pound/500 grams)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste (or finely chopped garlic)
- 1-inch piece ginger (finely grated)
- 2 large tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoons fresh green coriander (finely chopped)
- Optional: 2 green chilies
Punjabi baingan ka bharta requires that the eggplant is roasted. This can be done in several different ways. The first is to roast it on a gas cooktop by just placing the eggplant straight on 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. A good sign to watch for is that the eggplant seems to 'cave in' on itself.
Or, you can grill the eggplant in your oven broiler or on your barbecue grill. Again, keep turning periodically till all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft.
The third method is to roast the eggplant in your oven till all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft.
Once the eggplant is roasted, allow to cool fully and then peel off and discard the charred skin.
Once cool, coarsely mash it and keep aside for later use.
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.
Add the onions and fry until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and the ginger and fry for 1 minute.
Add the tomato, optional green chilies, and all the powdered spices, including the 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.
Now add the eggplant and mix well. Add the chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) and stir. Cook another minute and turn off the heat.
Serve hot with chapatis or rice and your favorite daal dish.
A variation is that only the eggplant is cooked, with the other ingredients added to the mashed eggplant. In this version, you would mash a large eggplant that has been roasted, cooled, and peeled. To it you would 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.