Baingan ka Bharta or Roasted Aubergine Mash

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My frugal meal

Baingan ka Bharta or Roasted Aubergine Mash is served as a main course with flat bread (roti) or tandoori roti and even steamed rice.I know most of you will look at the recipe and roll your eyes, thinking that it is way too complex; welcome to my blog and the whole idea behind it.I love minimalism and figuring out new, easy ways to make yummy recipes.

It can also be eaten with toasted bread. It is one of my favorite vegetable curries and I simply love to eat it mixed with a bowl of rice. I abhor the regular brinjal curry but find this bharta irresistible.

Baingan bharta  or Baingan da bharta as we call it in Punjabi is a South Asian dish bearing a likeness to Baba Ganoush. Baingan bharta is a part of the national cuisines of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Baingan is called by a variety of names like brinjal, aubergine and eggplant, this wine-colored fleshy vegetable is versatile and fun to cook w. Dish-up a very traditional bharta with it or make kaccha or raw bharta or even a yoghurt dip or raita like my mom used to during summer.

I remember, my mom roasting the aubergine in a clay oven or angeethi as she called it, over charcoal. It was one of my mom’s master dishes, always a winner. So, I learnt it from the master herself! This method makes the aubergine get infused with the distinct smoky, aromatic charcoal flavour. But this is not possible nowadays as we do not have charcoal ovens or charcoal burners in our kitchens.

To get this smoky flavor, I suggest roasting the aubergine on the gas flame rather than in the oven or microwave oven. While roasting the aubergine, the juices may leak and block the holes of the gas burner. To avoid this, I take an old griddle and roast the aubergine on it. (You can check it out in the picture) Bharta is an exceptional, simple Punjabi recipe with minimum use of masala and spices; not even turmeric is used. I love it with green peas, but you can make it even without them.

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Recipe for Baingan ka Bharta or Roasted Aubergine Mash

Ingredients

½ kg Aubergine

1 tablespoons Oil or ghee which makes it tastier

1 Onions chopped

1 cm Ginger 2 slivers

2 tomatoes chopped finely

1Green chillies slit

¼ cup green peas

½ tsp Red chilli powder

Salt to taste

Fresh coriander leaves chopped

Method

Wash, pat dry and prick eggplants (you can even pierce garlic flakes so that it garlic flavor gets infused into it). Apply a drop of oil all over the brinjal and roast it over an open flame or on a griddle like I do. Turn after 2 to 3 minutes on the flame, so that it’s evenly cooked. Roast the aubergine till it’s completely cooked and tender.

Cool it by dunking it in water. Peel the skin from the roasted and smoked eggplant skin (it comes off easily) and slice it open. Check that the aubergine is clear of any bug. Mash the pulp completely or chop it with a knife.

Heat the oil in a kadhai. Add onions and sauté until translucent or pink. Do not brown them.

Add slit green chilli and peas, sauté till peas are done.

Add in the chopped tomatoes and sauté till the oil starts separating from the mixture.

Now add the red chilli powder. Stir and mix well. Add the chopped or mashed aubergine.

Mix the chopped aubergine well with the onion-tomato masala mixture.

Season with salt. Stir and simmer for a couple of minutes more.

Finally, garnish the curry with coriander leaves. The final result is so colorful and vibrant. I like the play of colors…..red of tomatoes, green of chilli, peas and coriander,

Serve hot with rotis or flat bread or steamed or jeera (cumin) rice.

How does it taste? Super creamy, slightly savory and spicy and hardly requires any oil.

Tips: Pierce a toothpick to check if the aubergine is roasted well and done, just like you would in a cake.

While buying the aubergine, go for the ones which are lightweight as a heavy brinjal may be loaded with seeds in it and this can spoil the taste of the bharta. Some aubergines have more seeds than others – and the fewer seeds the better flavour and texture of the bharta.

Choose an eggplant which has a white dimple at the bottom rather than a slash. If there is a long brown slash then it will have more seeds. The aubergine with the dimple is said to be male while the one with the slash is said to be female. I do not know how far this is true as most of the aubergine we get in south India have lots of seeds.

Baingan ka Bharta or Roasted Aubergine Mash is quite simple to make, so please give it a go.

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