Food & Drink Magazine

Baingan Bharta ~ A Punjabi Classic with Spicy Roasted Eggplant and Peas

By Weavethousandflavors

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Stir up those taste buds with this wonderful North Indian dish of spicy roasted eggplant.

Tempered with cumin seeds, sauteed with onions & tomatoes and a scatter of peas, it makes a delightful addition to a North Indian dinner and just as good on it's own.

Be sure to serve it with a traditional North Indian bread like   parathas, naan & rotis.  

Whole wheat pitas warmed up will serve just as well in a pinch.

Traditionally in the villages of the Punjab, the eggplants are roasted on charcoals or in a tandoor (earthen oven) giving it a wonderful smoky flavor.

However in the modern home kitchen, this is best emulated using either of these methods:

  • Placing the eggplants over an open gas stove flame and roasting the eggplant until the skin bubbles and chars on all sides.
OR
  • Using the oven broiler.
I really like the mess & fuss free broiler pan method that also has the added advantage of being hands free leaving your hands to prepare the rest of the ingredients while the eggplants are merrily doing their thing in the oven.

So here goes, a true blue Punjabi classic!

 Gather the ingredients:

 2 large & glossy purple eggplants (not Asian), 2 medium or 1 large yellow onion, 3 plum or 2 large tomatoes, 1-2 Thai green chillies, 1-1/2 ” fresh ginger root, 1-1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 3 stalks green onions, ¾-1 cup frozen peas, 1-1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp red chilly powder (more or less as desired), 1 tsp ‘garam masala’ powder, ¼ cup milk, ¼ cup vegetable oil, 1 tbs pure ‘ghee’ (clarified butter)

Heat the oven to the hottest setting or 'broil' setting.

Baingan bharta-collage1

Line a jelly roll pan with Aluminum foil. Spray some non-stick baking spray over the sheet.

Eggplant: Place the whole eggplants on the sheets. Broil for 15 minutes or so. Turn over and broil until the till the  eggplants are completely roasted and shriveled up – total of approx 30-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or place in a zip-loc bag and rest for another 10 minutes. Cook's tip - This continues to steaming the eggplant and the skin will enable to skin to peel off easily.

Peel the skin off using a butter knife and roughly chop the eggplant with kitchen shears or a sharp knife, conserving all the eggplant juices. Cooks Note - It is easier to use kitchen shears than a knife because the eggplant is so mushy at this point.

Prepare the other ingredients while the eggplants are roasting:

Baingan bharta-collage2

Onion
- Peel and finely chop the onions

Tomatoes - Wash and dice the tomatoes. Reserve all the juices.

Ginger - Wash the fresh ginger root & finely chop. No need to peel.

Thai Green Chilly - Wash and slit down the middle lengthwise.

Cilantro - Wash and finely chop the leaves, discard the stems and keep in a bowl of water.

Baingan bharta-collage3

On medium heat, in a large sauté pan or kadhai , heat the oil till very hot but not fuming. Add the cumin seeds first to flavor the ghee and then immediately add the onions, ginger & green chilly.

Sauté the onions for approx 5-7 minutes till soft and just beginning to color at the edges. Add the tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes. Add the turmeric powder, red chilly powder, salt & stir.

Sauté the tomatoes for 5-6 minutes until you begin to see the fat simmer around the edges.

Add the roasted eggplant with all the reserved juices. Using the sharp end of the metal spoon, break down the egg plant till it is mushy and homogenous.

Add the peas and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes to soften the peas.

Increase heat to medium, add the chopped green onions, milk, garam masala and stir to combine. Taste and adjust all seasonings.

Sprinkle the dish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

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The roasted eggplant is resplendent with the flavors from the cumin and tomatoes. The light spices and the touch of milk lends a creamy and smooth finish to the dish.

We had a simple dinner of the Baingan Bharta with hot fresh parathas and it was well received by the kids as well (Whew!) Serve these with wedges of warm whole wheat pita if you're in a pinch.

Recipe for

Baingan Bharta ~ Roasted eggplant with peas and spices

 Serves 4

Preparation time : 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

2 large & glossy purple eggplants (not Asian)

2 medium or 1 large onion

3 plum or 2 large tomatoes

1-2 Thai green chillies

1-1/2 ” fresh ginger root

1-1/2 tsp cumin seeds

3 stalks green onions

¾-1 cup frozen peas

1-1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp red chilly powder (more or less as desired)

1 tsp ‘garam masala’ powder

¼ cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 tbs pure ‘ghee’ (clarified butter)

Preparation:

Heat the oven to the hottest setting or 'broil' setting. Line a jelly roll pan with Aluminum foil. Spray some non-stick baking spray over the sheet.

Eggplant: Place the whole eggplants on the sheets. Broil for 15 minutes or so. Turn over and broil until the till the  eggplants are completely roasted and shriveled up – total of approx 30-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or place in a zip-loc bag and rest for another 10 minutes. Cook's tip - This continues to steaming the eggplant and the skin will enable to skin to peel off easily.

Peel the skin off using a butter knife and roughly chop the eggplant with kitchen shears or a sharp knife, conserving all the eggplant juices. Cooks Note - It is easier to use kitchen shears than a knife because the eggplant is so mushy at this point.

Prepare the other ingredients while the eggplants are roasting:

Onion - Peel and finely chop the onions

Tomatoes - Wash and dice the tomatoes. Reserve all the juices.

Ginger - Wash the fresh ginger root & finely chop. No need to peel.

Thai Green Chilly - Wash and slit down the middle lengthwise.

Cilantro - Wash and finely chop the leaves, discard the stems and keep in a bowl of water till ready to use.

Method:

On medium heat, in a large sauté pan or kadhai , heat the oil till very hot but not fuming. Add the cumin seeds first to flavor the ghee and then immediately add the onions, ginger & green chilly.

Sauté the onions for approx 5-7 minutes till soft and just beginning to color at the edges. Add the tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes. Add the turmeric powder, red chilly powder, salt & stir.

Sauté the tomatoes for 5-6 minutes until you begin to see the fat simmer around the edges.

Add the roasted eggplant with all the reserved juices. Using the sharp end of the metal spoon, break down the egg plant till it is mushy and homogenous.

Add the peas and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes to soften the peas.

Increase heat to medium, add the chopped green onions, milk, garam masala and stir to combine. Taste and adjust all seasonings.

Sprinkle the dish with chopped cilantro. 

Enjoy!


  



  


 

Baingan Bharta ~ Roasted eggplant with peas and spices

 Serves 4

2 glossy eggplants (not Asian)

1 medium/large onion

2-3 tomatoes

1-2 Thai green chillies

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled

1” fresh ginger root

1-1/2 tsp cumin seeds

2-3 stalks green onions

¾-1 cup frozen peas

1-1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground turmeric

¾-1 tsp red chilly powder (more or less as desired)

¾ tsp ‘garam masala’ powder

2 tbs milk

3 tbs vegetable oil

1 tbs pure ‘ghee’ (clarified butter)

Preparation:

Heat the oven to the hottest setting or 'broil' setting.

Line a jelly roll pan with Aluminum foil. Spray some non-stick baking spray over the sheet.

Eggplant: Place the whole eggplants on the sheets. Broil for 15 minutes or so. Turn over and broil for another 15 minutes or so. Keep broiling until the till the eggplants are completely roasted and shriveled up – approx 30-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and rest for another 10-15 minutes. Cook's tip - This continues to steaming the eggplant and the skin will enable to skin to peel off easily.

Peel the skin off using a butter knife and roughly chop the eggplant with kitchen shears, conserving all the eggplant juices. Cooks Note - It is easier to use kitchen shears than a knife because the eggplant is so mushy at this point.
 While the eggplants

Prepare the other ingredients while the eggplants are roasting:

Onion - Peel and finely chop the onions

Tomatoes - Wash and dice the tomatoes. Reserve all the juices.

Ginger - Wash the fresh ginger root & finely chop. No need to peel.

Thai Green Chilly - Wash and slit down the middle lengthwise.

Cilantro - Wash and finely chop the leaves, discard the stems and keep in a bowl of water till ready to use.

Method:

On medium heat, in a large sauté pan or kadhai , heat the oil till very hot but not fuming. Add the cumin seeds first to flavor the ghee and then immediately add the onions, garlic, ginger & green chilly.

Sauté the onions for approx 5-7 minutes till soft and just beginning to color at the edges. Add the tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes. Add the turmeric powder, red chilly powder, salt & stir.

Sauté the tomatoes for 5-6 minutes until you begin to see the fat simmer around the edges.

Add the roasted eggplant with all the reserved juices. Using the sharp end of the metal spoon, break down the egg plant till it is mushy and homogenous.

Increase the heat to medium-high, saute for a few minutes until all excess juices have evaporated.

Add the green onions, peas, milk and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Sprinkle the dish with chopped cilantro. 

Enjoy!


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