Baigan Bharta

Very roughly translated, this means delectable eggplant (*). This is a super simple recipe but it does require a bit of forethought because a roasted eggplant is key to the dish’s smokey deliciousness. I think I had Timbaland‘s latest album on when I whipped this up. For those of you keeping track of my musical tendencies, you’ll have noticed that they’re all over the place, just like me!

Tasty, tasty, baigan bharta. Sounds a little like a nursery rhyme I used to know.

Ok, as you’re grooving to Timbaland, as one is apt to do, grab the following from your ample stores:

  • 1 eggplant (or 2-3 Japanese eggplants)
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 tomato (finely chopped) or, in a pinch, half a can of tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 0.5 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-3 green chillies (Note to chili-lovers: it’s a good idea to buy a bunch of these at a time, set yourself up with a snorkel mask and  rubber gloves, and then prepare them all as if you were going to use them immediately. Wash them, cut off the tops and remove the seeds and pith, then either chop them finely or leave them halved, depending on what you’re going to use them for. Then toss them into a container and stick them in the freezer. This will save you looking like a snorkel-geek later on when you’re making a delightfully spicy dish for your lovah, because you’ll have them all ready to go. Simply extract from the freezer, toss in to the dish that’s sizzling away on the stove, and continue to look fantastic and non-snorkelly.)
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 cup coconut milk or soy milk (this is for those of you who like it a little creamier… you don’t need to put the full cup in, but man is it ever good when you do!)
  • chopped coriander leaves (definitely optional, especially if you hate coriander)

Roast the eggplant(s) in a preheated oven at 450 degrees F. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until tender and yummy smelling. Remove from oven, cool, peel, and chop/mash. This is the part that requires a bit of forethought, since the rest of the recipe takes about 10 minutes. I was torn whether to categorize this as a “I only have 30 minutes” or “I’m committed to deliciousness”, so I opted for the safer of the two.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Mix in onion and green chillies; fry over medium heat until the onion turns golden brown and smells great.  Add turmeric powder, garam masala, cayenne pepper and salt. Fry all of this for a minute, then add the chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes start to melt and soften. Now add the peas and mashed/cut-up eggplant. Stir and fry for about 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat. Add soy milk, stir and get it to boil for a bit to make it nice and creamy. Tah-dah, it’s ready!  Garnish with coriander leaves, if you must. Serve with rice or naan and possibly some of the other tasty Indian-inspired recipes I’ll post here soon.

(*) Please note, baigan bharta does not mean delectable eggplant at all, but it suited my purposes and if you can’t make stuff up in your own lil’ blog, then what CAN you do?!

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