The Motley News

The Great Eggplant Rescue: Baingan Bhartha

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The other day, I was lamenting Facebook-style about burning the eggplant that I was preparing for dinner.

My FB friend Meher, quickly let me know that all was not lost: “Actually Amy, in India they deliberately burn eggplant to make a smoky delicious dish called Baingan Bhartha”. Deliberately burned? Smokey and delicious eh? Well, I must try this dish!

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The preparation is pretty easy (a definite plus), and I found numerous recipes for Baingan Bharta, and combined ingredients from those that sounded the best. Here is my version, Meher approved.
Total time around 45 minutes
Serves 4 as a side dish with naan, pita bread or rice

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1″ piece of ginger grated fine
  • 2 fresh hot green chile peppers, thinly sliced (most recipes say the peppers are optional, but I’d say go with one pepper and discard seeds if you don’t like a lot of heat)
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, thin stems included
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

Preparation:
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  • Pierce the eggplants in several places, broil or roast on high heat, turning several times. The eggplants are done when when the skin is charred and the eggplants look collapsed. It should take about 20 minutes. note: the red stuff on my broiling pan is beet juice – I roast a lot of veggies!

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  • Let the eggplants cool completely, then cut off the stems and remove the skin, which comes off easily now.
  • ,Mash in a bowl with the lime juice. Set mixture aside.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden brown.
  • Add the garlic, chilies and ginger, and cook for 1 minute
  • Add the tomato and garam marsala. Cook until the tomato is soft.
  • Add the eggplant mixture and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in the cilantro and cook for 1 minute before turning off the heat.
  • Serve with naan, pita or rice

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I have to give credit and thanks to whom it is due: not only is Meher a brilliant physician and dinner rescuer, but she is also an astounding jewelry artist .

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Author: Charish Halliburton

Writer and Editor for The Motley News

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