Baigan ka bharta ~ Smoked eggplants, North-Indian style | Vegan | Gluten & Grain free

I hate brinjal.

I love Baigan ka bharta – It is the exception to the rule. I like the aroma of burnt and charred aubergines. I love the way it looks after it is prepared. My husband who never ate brinjals before marriage now makes baingan ka bharta even when I am out of town.

Tip from my local vegetable vendor

The brinjals selected for bharta must be large in size but light in weight. Weigh the brinjal in your palm and try bouncing it slightly. If it is light and yet large sized, you have got a really good one – the lesser the seeds the lighter the brinjal weighs. When I first started making this dish I would select randomly and end up getting eggplants full of seeds and hardly any flesh, until a thelewala (cartvendor) told me the secret to good aubergines.  I just found that they are low in calories and containmostly water with some protein, fibre and carbohydrates and no fats.

Recipe: Baigan ka bharta ~ Smoked eggplants, North – Indian style recipe
An everyday North Indian dish
Pairing ideas – Serve with any flatbread like Phulka or pita. It is not generally served with rice but tastes very good mixed with some rice, and a little oil, with chips on the side (if you like it).

Ingredients
Serves 4

Bharte ka baigan (Large brinjals) – 2 (about 600g)
Garlic (Grated) – 3 pods
Ginger (Grated) – 1 inch
Onion (Finely chopped) – 2 medium
Tomato (Roughly chopped) – 1 medium
Coriander (Washed and chopped) – About 6 to 7 stems
Sunflower / Mustard oil – 2tbsp.

Method

Smear a drop of oil all over the brinjals and place them on medium fire to burn all the sides until uniformly charred. The skin should become dry and crack. Turn it till done all over and put off the gas.

Rest the brinjals over a jaali (flat sieve) on a plate so that the juice gets collected in the plate and the skin doesn’t get wet while you wait for the brinjals to cool.

Peel off the charred skin without letting the flesh stick to it. If it is still purple and does not come off easily it means that the brinjal is under cooked.

Chop the brinjals roughly and set aside.

Heat 2tbsps. of oil (If using mustard oil – heat the oil to smoking point, cool completely so that the smell disappears and use after reheating). Crackle jeera and pop in the slit green chillies. Saute for till the green chillies change colour and then add the ginger and garlic. Saute for a second and add the onions.

Fry for a while till the onion turns transparent and then add the chopped brinjals. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Mix well. Add the tomatoes and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the reserve brinjal juice. Remove from fire and serve garnished with chopped coriander. This is my lunch for the afternoon. Rotis with baigan ka bharta – I forgot to add the coriander in the pic – sorry!

Variation:

I like the tomatoes to retain their firmness and colour so I add them towards the end. It is usually added after the onions and fried till soft. The chilly powder and turmeric powder (You may also add coriander powder) is added at this stage. The chopped brinjals are added and fried well till oil separates. You may add a little oil if you so desire (Did I not say they are low in calories and contain no fat?!!).

In the bharta I make, the spices are less and the vegetable retains its distinct aroma, but if you are fond of spicy food go in for the variation.

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  1. cuisine by monsoon

    I love eggplants and I’m always looking for a new recipe to prepare them. I’ll give this one a go.

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