Baingan ka bharta is officially my new favorite food. Who knew mashed eggplants could be so amazing? Indians, that’s who. Once again, Indian recipes take the mundane and make something marvelous.
My friend recently started teaching me more Indian recipes and this is the first thing we made. I pretty much want to marry it. If you’re looking for an amazing, authentic recipe for baingan ka bharta, look no further. I’ve never been opposed to eggplant recipes in the past but it’s also never been a go-to vegetable in the Bowman house. This stuff is so delicious.
Baingan ka Bharta (Mashed Eggplant) Ingredients
- 2 eggplants
- 4 onions
- 4 tomatoes
- several garlic cloves
- coriander seeds (or powder)
- cumin seeds
- fenugreek seeds
- dried fenugreek leaves
- red chili powder
- dried mango powder
- masala spice blend (we used chana masala)
First, we give the eggplant a “deep bake”. To do this in a typical Indian kitchen we put the eggplant directly on the gas burner flame set very low. The knife makes it easier to turn.
We want to grill the eggplant until it’s blackened and quite soft. I’m sure it could be baked in a traditional American style oven but then you wouldn’t get that lovely smokey charred flavor that cooking it directly on the flame provides.
Once the eggplant is thoroughly cooked, give it a little chopping and remove the most blackened and burnt bits of skin.
Now, like all good Indian recipes, we put some oil in our pan and begin frying up our spices and the like.
Add a pinch of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and just a couple of fenugreek seeds to your oil first.
Now add your onions and garlic. Use double the amount of onions to eggplant. We cooked two eggplants on this day so we used four onions. Garlic is to your preference. I say the more the better. Several cloves, at the very least.
Give your onions plenty of time to cook, you want them to be golden brown and for those lovely seeds to get a good frying, as well. While your onions cook, chop up some tomatoes. Also double the amount to your eggplant, so four in this case.
Once your onions are a lovely golden color add your chopped tomatoes and cook them for several minutes until they’re soft.
Now get out your masala (spice) box again!
- A spoon of salt (or to your taste).
- Two spoons of turmeric.
- A pinch of dried fenugreek leaves.
- A pinch of red chili powder, if you like a bit of kick.
- 1/2 a spoon of dried mango powder, if you have that sort of thing lying around.
- 1 spoon of your favorite Indian spice blend.
Every Indian seems to have their favorite spice blend. Sadly in America we tend to just have the poor option of “curry powder”, which you will not find in all of India.
My friend swears by a mix called Chana Masala and puts it in everything. It is a powdered spice blend that includes coriander seeds, dry mango, salt, cumin, red chilies, kachri, black salt, pomegranate seeds, black pepper, tamarind, dried ginger, mint leaves, cassia, fenugreek leaves, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and mace. I don’t even know what some of that is, but I know it’s delicious. You can click the image to find it on Amazon.
Now that everything is smelling absolutely amazing, add your eggplant and give it a good mix and mash. Add just a touch of water if needed and let everything simmer together for a bit.
Serve with plain chapati or parantha. I know the finished product doesn’t look like much but oh my goodness at the flavor! No exaggeration, it is one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted in my entire life.
Every week I fall more in love with Indian food. I swear, Indian spices could make dirt taste good. Last month I didn’t know baingan ka bhurta existed. Now I can’t get enough of it.
What’s your favorite Indian dish?