Eggplant is one my favourite vegetables, which is ironic since I spent most of my childhood hiding the eggplant on my plate under cups. Every cuisine I can think of has one kick ass eggplant dish. Indian cuisine has many delicious recipes using eggplant-
- bagara baingan
- yennai kathrikai
- baigan bhartha
- dahi baingan
to name a few popular indian dishes made from this versatile vegetable.
Today I made baingan bhartha. It is a simple dish which showcases the flavour of this eggplant perfectly.
2 large eggplants
2 small onions (chopped fine)
2 roma size tomato (chopped fine) - I used a about 2/3 of a can of drained diced tomatoes since I was out of fresh tomatoes
4 to 5 small green chillies (chopped fine)
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
5 cloves garlic chopped fine
cumin seeds - 1tsp
coriander powder 1 tbsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
The eggplant is cooked over a flame until the skin is burnt. This gives the flesh of the eggplant a smokey flavour that is just incredible. This dish can also be made by broiling the eggplants in an oven. When I did not have a flame to work with ( in my previous life in an apartment that is how I made my bhartha). But it is not the same.
After burning the skin all over the eggplant will be all mushy. Transfer this to a container or bag and seal it. I used a glass dish that has a tight cover. Leave it alone for 15 minutes or so. The moisture and steam in a closed container helps to loosen the skin of the eggplant. Peel the skin off and cut the eggplant into chunks. Then take a fork and mash the mixture. If some portions feel a little uncooked you could stick it in the microwave for a while.
Today my eggplant was perfectly done and smelt unbelievably good.
In a hot pan add a little oil and add the cumin seeds. As the begin to brown add the turmeric and the chopped onion, garlic and green chillies. Cook this until the onion is translucent.
Add the tomatoes and stir. Cook this mixture for another 4 to 5 minutes on a medium flame so the tomato gets cooked and incorporated with the rest.
Add the eggplant pulp and mix and mash with a flat ladle. Add the coriander powder. Cook this mixture until everything is incorporated and the mixture begins to brown slightly.
The bhartha is done. Top with finely chopped coriander.
I ate my bhartha with plain dal and rice.