Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Baingan Ka Bhartha

When I was a kid I would hate eating brinjals (also known as eggplants or aubergines). I used to eat only one type of brinjal dish that my mom used to make, eating only the gravy from it and happily leaving out all those poor pieces brinjals. Then one day my sister (the third one, directly elder to me) made me taste Baingan ka Bhartha from her plate and that day I realized the beauty of this vegetable. Now, I still don’t eat it in any other form but this is one dish that I have wholeheartedly adopted.
When I got married, my husband grandly announced – "I don’t eat two vegetables - ladyfingers and brinjals. So please don’t ever cook them." Hmmm, I thought. Let’s see how you don’t eat this Bhartha. And make him eat I did. And he too has adopted it, albeit not wholeheartedly.
Baingan ka Bhartha literally means Eggplant mash in English and that is exactly what it is. The brinjal is roasted over a slow flame till its skin is puckered and crisp. Then it is gently peeled and mashed and mixed with the other ingredients. There are many different ways of making this dish but this is the type that my mom makes and I have learned this from her. This is a very easy and quick recipe and goes perfectly with roti or chapathi.



1 Large Brinjal (Approx 200 Gms)
1 Cup Sliced Onions
1 Tbsp Cumin seeds
1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic
3 Green Chilies (Slit Halfway Vertically)
5 Curry Leaves
2 Tbsp Oil
Salt To Taste
Fresh Coriander Leaves For Garnish

Wash and pat dry the brinjal. Roast it over an open flame on the stove top until the skin scorches and starts peeling off and it starts to shrink. Mine was done in about 10 minutes. Hold the head of the brinjal (the green stem) and keep turning it every few minutes to ensure that it is uniformly roasted. I have also tried roasting it in the oven but it takes a long time and you don’t get the smoky flavour that the Bhartha is all about. But if you don’t have the patience or time to stand in front of the stove, prick the brinjal all over with a fork and place in an oven proof vessel or foil. Turn on the oven to 260 degrees C and roast till done, turning it every 15 minutes.
Once it is roasted, dip it in a bowl of cold water. Remove and keep on a plate. Start peeling off the skin and then cut off the stem. Take a fork and mash the pulp completely. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pot and add the cumin seeds and curry leaves. Cook for a few seconds then add the onions, garlic, green chilies and sauté until browned.
Add the mashed roasted brinjal and salt. Mix everything to combine and taste the salt and spice. Adjust accordingly. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 - 10 minutes till all the flavors mingle.
My favorite way of eating the Bhartha is along with curds. Take 1 cup of yogurt and 1 tsp sugar. Whip it till the sugar is mixed. Pour this on top of the Bhartha and eat with hot rotis.
Happy Eating!!

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Hi there! If you have any thoughts, queries or suggestions please do let me know. I would love to hear from you!