Baigan ka bharta - Roasted eggplant
The Rotterdam Blaak farmer's market downstairs is one of my favorite places to visit every week. I love the chaos, the crazily packed truckloads of vegetables, and the randomness of the market. I bought some really nice and chubby eggplants from the market recently and decided to cook them for dinner. There are way too many things that one can prepare with eggplants, but baigan ka bharta is my favorite recipe. I grew up with two varieties of the recipe and could never establish what influenced my Mom's decision for which one to pursue for meals. I tend to stick to the tomato based bharta just because I am totally deprived of even the rarest opportunity to get the burnt and charred flavour into my eggplants for the simpler recipe to work. In case you are wondering, one needs a fire stove for that and I have only been blessed with ceramic plates!
Luckily, I have an airfryer which does an amazing job at roasting the eggplants in less than 15 minutes. I used oven before I bought the airfryer and received similar results, just that, the oven took longer amount of time. In any case, I'm happy that I have one or the other way of pulling this recipe off! :-)
Time to cook: 40 minutes
- 2 large aubergines/eggplants
- 4 medium sized tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger shredded into thin strips
- 1 large red onion
- 2 tbsp cumin powder
- 2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 4-5 tbsp cooking oil
- Salt to taste
- Clean the eggplants, make incisions on them with a small knife, and rub a few drops of cooking oil on them
- Roast them on flame for 10 minutes until the eggplants are fully cooked. For oven, bake them at 200 degrees centigrade for about 45 minutes. For airfryer, bake them at 200 degrees centigrade for 15 minutes. After the eggplants are done, remove the skin of the vegetable and mash them into a clean bowl. Inspect and remove any bugs/dirty portions before mashing!
- Heat a skillet and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Then quickly add everything except tomatoes and eggplants and saute occasionally for about 10 minutes.
- Once the onion mixture is well cooked and the oil starts to come out, add the tomatoes and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Add the eggplant mash to the skillet and mix thoroughly. Stir occasionally for another 10 minutes.
- Bon apetit!
I usually have this recipe with some rice and dal, or simply with some hot roti. For ultimate flavour, it has to be served hot!