Are you looking for a side dish to pair with your Indian curries and mains? This baingan bharta recipe is an absolute must-try. The complex blend of smoky and tangy flavors in this roasted mashed eggplant recipe will have you thinking it took hours to make the dish, but in reality, it is super easy to make.
So let's dive right into it, shall we?
What is Baingan Bharta?
Baingan bharta quite literally means smashed eggplant, and is exactly what it sounds like. The glorious purple-hued veggie is first roasted on an open flame till it gets that nice char on its outside and is then sautéed with onions, tomatoes, and spices.
Is Baingan Bhrata Healthy?
Yes. As a low-calorie and low-fat food, it is often considered a healthy dish. What you serve alongside the baingan bhrata is what will determine if the meal itself would be considered healthy.
Where is Baingan Bhrata From?
Generally, this dish is considered a South Asian recipe, but in particular, it is most often seen in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. This version is one found often in Indian kitchens.
How Do I Pick the Right Eggplant?
By now, you already know that the eggplant is the hero of the dish, and naturally, choosing the right eggplant to whip up this recipe is super important to get the perfect texture and flavor. Here are a few things you must keep in mind while buying the eggplant.
Always choose a large eggplant that has a uniform purple color. Run your hands over the eggplant to check for any bumps or pits, and scan for any discoloration or spots. Such eggplants tend to have a better texture have a more intense flavor.
Avoid choosing eggplants that have brown streaks on them, since they have more seeds. If, after the roasting process, you find seeds, scoop them out using a spoon.
Remember to have the eggplant at room temperature before you grill it.
Ingredients You’ll Need
You'll just need some basic pantry essentials to whip up this easy Baigan bharta recipe.
For the Roasted Eggplant
- Green chiles (whole)
For the Baingan Bharta
- Cumin seeds
- Turmeric powder
- Red pepper flakes
- Cumin powder
- Coriander powder
- Corander leaves
Kitchen Tools Needed
How to Make Baigan Bharta
Cut 2 deep vertical slits in the side of the eggplant. Stuff the garlic cloves and green chiles into the slits so they are deep inside the vegetable and won't fall out when roasting.
Over an open flame roast the eggplant for 8 to 10 minutes, until it softens and is nicely charred on the outside. Set it aside to cool.
Once the eggplant is cool, carefully peel off the skin and discard.
Mash the eggplant with garlic and green chiles until mostly smooth.
In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add in the cumin seeds. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the seeds crackle.
To the skillet, add the onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring regularly, until they are translucent.
Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, red pepper flakes, cumin powder, coriander powder, and salt then stir to combine well. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes until tomatoes have softened.
Add the mashed eggplant mixture to the pan and stir to combine.
Cook for an additional 2 minutes to heat through and combine flavors.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Serve with roti, onions, or dal.
Tips & Tricks to Nail the Baingan Bharta Recipe
And of course, you wouldn't want to miss out on some handy tips and tricks which will ensure your Baingan bharta recipe is a success!
- You might come across recipes that run you through the process of making the Baingan bharta in a microwave or oven, or even an Instant Pot for that matter. While you can obviously give them a try, roasting the eggplant on an open flame is what gives it that unique smoky flavour.
- Patience is key when it comes to roasting the eggplant. Depending on the size, it will take anywhere between 10-15 minutes to completely roast the eggplant until the inside is cooked and tender too. The ideal stage is when the charred skin begins to fall off the eggplant.
- To check if the eggplant is cooked or not, pierce a fork or a knife through its centre. If there is some resistance, you might want to give it a few extra minutes to cook completely.
- If you're roasting your eggplant in an oven, but still don't want to miss out on the charred flavor, you can heat a 2-3 inch peice of charcoal, place it in a small bowl, and then place the bowl inside the pot with the finished Baingan bharta. Then, add a few drops of oil on the peice of charcoal and quickly cover the pot with a lid, letting it rest for 10 minutes until the Baigan bharta has imbibed the smoky flavor.
- If you're a fan of bolder flavours, you can also add in a couple of pinches of garam masala to the roasted eggplant mixture while cooking.
- If you've got spring onions, chop them up and add them into the Baigan bharta mixture towards the end. This adds a nice pop of color and a touch of freshness to the dish.
How Do I Store the Leftovers
Storing the leftover Baigan bharta is super easy. All you need to do is transfer it into an airtight container and refrigerate it. It can stay fresh in there for 2-3 days. You can also choose to freeze it for up to a month.
What to Serve with Baingan Bharta
Baingan bharta turns out to be a delicious side that can be paired with pretty much any Indian curry or dish. Here are a few ideas to get you going.
- Serve it with piping hot rotis (Indian flatbread) or parathas with a simple sliced onion salad on the side. You can also substitute with naan if that's what you prefer.
- If prefer rice, you can serve it with some steamed Basmati rice or some spicy lemon rice.
- Since Baingan bharta is essentially a Punjabi recipe, you can pair it with any other Punjabi dish like some Punjabi egg curry or even some creamy palak paneer.
- And of course, don't forget a sweet yogurt based mango lassi to compelement the tanginess of the Baingan bharta.
- End the meal with a simple Indian dessert of gajar ka halwa or sabudana kheer.
Easy Baingan Bharta Roasted Mashed Eggplant Recipe
- Medium to Large Skillet
For the roasted eggplant
- 1 large Eggplant
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 3 Green Chilies
- Cut 2 deep vertical slits in the side of the eggplant. Stuff the garlic cloves and green chiles into the slits so they are deep inside the vegetable and won't fall out when roasting.
- Over an open flame roast the eggplant for 8 to 10 minutes, until it softens and is nicely charred on the outside. Set it aside to cool.
- Once the eggplant is cool, carefully peel off the skin and discard.
- Mash the eggplant with garlic and green chiles until mostly smooth.
- In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add in the cumin seeds. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the seeds crackle.
- To the skillet, add the onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring regularly, until they are translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, red pepper flakes, cumin powder, coriander powder, and salt then stir to combine well. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes until tomatoes have softened.
- Add the mashed eggplant mixture to the pan and stir to combine.
- Cook for an additional 2 minutes to heat through and combine flavors.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves then serve with rice, dal, and roti.