Baingan Bhartha (mashed eggplant) pronounced bane-gun baar-tuh is generally associated with North Indian food. It is usually prepared by roasting a whole Baingain (eggplant) with skin and stem intact over an open fire or charcoal imparting a delicious smoky flavor. The eggplant is then cooled, skin is peeled off and stem cut off. The eggplant is then mashed and roasted with spices. It’s vegan, gluten-free and absolutely delicious!
I avoided making this dish for many years because it seemed like a lot of work to roast and eggplant over a direct flame. Recently, I got an intense craving for this dish. So, I decided to take a chance and pop an eggplant in the oven. What do ya know!! It worked out perfectly. I’m sure roasting an eggplant over charcoal or over open flame tastes divine BUT I can tell you, roasting it in the oven tasted quite good too! I like that you can eat it as a traditional Indian dish or with a fusion Indian twist as bruschetta over Italian bread.
Here’s my recipe for Baingain Bhartha. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Egglant: 1 medium(ish) to slightly large
Olive oil: 2-3 Tablespoons and a little extra to coat eggplant
Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
Ginger powder: ½ teaspoon
Jalapéno or long asian pepper: ½ thumb size, deseeded for medium spicy heat and diced. Add more or less to customize the heat.
Purple onion: 1 cup, finely diced
Tomatoes: 1 ½ cups
Anar Gourmet Food curry powder: 1 ½ teaspoon
Salt: 1 ½ teaspoon
Coriander (ground): ½ teaspoon
Lemon juice: 1-2 teaspoon freshly squeezed, (optional) for slightly tangy taste OR Tamarind juice
Tamarind powder/pulp/paste: (optional) to be used instead of lemon juice.
- If using powder: dilute ~2 teaspoons of tamarind powder in 1/8 cup water. Pour tamarind water into curry.
- If using pulp: dilute a small thumb nail sized pulp in 1/8 cup water, mash pulp with fingers to get concentrated juice. Use a strainer or catch seeds in hand when pouring juice into curry.
- If using paste: dilute ~2 teaspoon paste in 1/8 cup water and pour juice into curry.
Cilantro: ~ 1 Tablespoon for garnish (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the eggplant, pat dry with paper towel.
- Rub olive oil over entire whole eggplant. Place eggplant in baking tray over aluminum foil (preferably parchment paper). Roast eggplant for ~45 mins -1 hour until a knife is easily inserted into eggplant without resistance.
- Remove baking tray with eggplant from oven with oven mitts and let cool.
- Once eggplant is cooled, peel off skin and chop off and discard stem.
- Place eggplant in bowl and mash well with fork or potato masher until it is puréed, set aside. (You could also purée it in a blender for a smoother, less “stringy” texture).
- Heat olive oil in quart pot on medium heat.
- Add garlic, ginger and jalapéno. Saute for 1-2 minutes till garlic is light brown but not burnt.
- Add onions, mix well with spices and sauté for ~ 5 mins, till softened but not fully brown.
- Add tomatoes, mix well with onions and spices sauté for 5-7 mins until they are soft. Mash with spoon to further soften, if necessary.
- Add mashed and roasted eggplant, mix well.
- Add curry powder, coriander and salt, mix well.
- Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for ~5-7 mins.
- Add tamarind juice if tangy taste is desired (optional), simmer for ~3- 5 mins. Stir to make sure eggplant is not burning or sticking to bottom of pot.
- Turn stove off.
- Transfer to serving bowl.
- Sprinkle lemon juice (optional) instead of tamarind juice if tangy taste is desired and NOT using tamarind juice. Mix well.
- Sprinkle on cilantro as garnish (optional)
Serve with hot with naan, chapati/roti or Italian bread for an Indian style bruschetta.
Download the recipe HERE