This is one of those special posts for me where I bring a traditional, rustic Indian dish to life and along with it some fond memories of home, family and India 🙂 Baigan is Indian name for Eggplants/Aubergine/Brinjal and Bharta means a Mash… so, if u are looking for a delicious, lip-smacking and a totally sensational dish, this is it my friends !! Let’s kick some Monday blues and make Fire Roasted Baigan Bharta & Potato Wedges
Valentines just got over and i am in a love hangover…. of a different kind … The food one 😛 Cooked lots of awesome food this past weekend and had oodles of fun. I tried traveling International with my food platter and cooked up some Italian for Saturday dinner and kept it Oriental for the V day. Italian menu had Brown Butter Lemon Pepper Pasta , Hash Brown Pizza & Tiramisu and my V day specials were Manchurian, Sesame garlic noodles and Carrot Cabbage Momos yum right !! For Monday, i was thinking of showing some love for my Indian food and the Eggplants called out to me 🙂 Now, that’s some love ! <3
I am quite crazy about Eggplants. If i could and (i may), i would say “I love Eggplants to moon and back”. I am yet to come across an eggplant dish which i did not like. The only exception to this statement is probably the use of raw eggplants over pizza as a topping – that is something i just don’t follow (Although i do love roasted eggplants as a topping). Well this time i am playing safe and going the route i am most comfortable with – the Indian way.
Baigan Bharta is a traditional Punjabi (North Indian) dish. Maybe not as famous as the Chole or Raajma which you would find in just about any Indian restaurant menu across the globe, but if you happen to visit a traditional North Indian restaurant, Baigan Bharta should be there. Traditionally, baigan/brinjals are slow roasted on open flame till the skin is charred and the eggplants are well cooked and tender inside. The charred skin lends a beautiful flavour and aroma to the eggplant flesh. The skins are then removed & discarded and the flesh is cooked along with a tempering of onions, tomatoes and spices. This dish is cooked till the eggplant are well roasted on the flame and they develop the rustic, charred flavour in them.The result is absolutely delicious !! Are you salivating just like i am ??? Let’s learn how i made it !
Fire roasted Baigan Bharta & Potato wedges
Potato wedges are not part of the traditional recipe for Baigan Bharta so if you are not in mood for them, you can opt to leave them out. You can also try variations with peas, corn, bell peppers or even Paneer/tofu with it.
For The Baigan Bharta
- 1 big eggplant (about 500gms). I use the Indian big eggplant for this dish. You can also choose some other variety but try to use one big instead of many small ones as they take more time to roast on open flame.
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 big tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Oil (i used mustard oil for that characteristic flavour but if you are not a fan of mustard oil, use any one that you like)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida/ hing
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- red chili powder, to taste
- 1 tablespoon powdered coriander seeds
- 1 tsp dry mango powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 green chili, finely chopped
- handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
For Potato Wedges
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 tsp oil
- salt to taste
- Roasting the eggplants – I have a coil stove at home so i used that but traditional flame gas burners works best for it. If you have a barbecue grill, you can use that as well. Alternatively, you can also wrap the eggplants in Aluminium foil and broil in the oven for 10-15 minutes. It is best to roast the eggplants on a medium flame so that the eggplants slowly get charred and the flavours get infused inside the eggplant flesh.
- Once the eggplants are fire roasted, remove and keep on a plate. Let this cool down completely. Now, peel the skins off from the eggplant and reserve in a bowl. If the eggplants release some juices while peeling, reserve those juices as well – they give this dish the typical flavour. Using a fork, mash the eggplant flesh into a pulp. Keep aside.
- Take a non stick pan. In it, pour the oil and bring to heat. Once the oil is hot, add in asafoetida, cumin seeds and let it splutter. Now, add in the chopped onions and saute till the onions are golden brown and caramalized.
- Now, add in the chopped tomatoes, ginger, garlic, salt, turmeric, red chili powder and green chili. Mix and saute for a couple of minutes.
- Once the tomatoes start to wilt and release juices, cover the pan with a lid and bring the flame to simmer. Let this cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove the lid and check the tomatoes, they should start to reduce and the oil should start to separate.
- Now, add in the eggplant mash and mix with the tempering. Let it cook on medium flame till the eggplant mash start to attain roasted color, roughly 10-15 minutes.
- Add in the garam masala and dry mango powder on top. mix . Sprinkle chopped coriander on top. The baigan Bharta is ready.
- Preparing Potato Wedges – Parboil the potato wedges in the microwave or using the steamer till Al-dente.
- Take a skillet. Add in the oil and bring to heat. Add in the potato wedges and sprinkle salt on them. Cook on medium high flame till the wedges get crunchy, about 7-10 minutes. Serve over Baigan Bharta.
Note – I have used Potato wedges on top of the Baigan bharta to bring in some crunch and texture to this mash dish. You can also add the potatoes to this dish after the tomatoes are cooked along with the eggplant mash.
This dish is as charming as a dish gets. I suggest enjoying this dish with hot rotis, parathas or naans but i can really have it with just anything.. even bread.. or better still – by itself 🙂 I have such great memories attached with this dish. Of the many Indian ways of preparing eggplants, baigan bharta remains my favorite to date. As a kid, i used to pester mom often to make this dish for me. She would add peas along with the baigan bharta and while she roasted the eggplants, i would always tell that she is making very less and should roast few more eggplants. My pestering her would often lead me being pushed out of her kitchen but i would still make sure to plant the seed of doubt in her head before i leave 😛 That would always make her cook more and that way i ensured leftovers for me for the next day.
So next time you have some eggplants to create a fancy meal, try this dish. It won’t disappoint you one bit – My promise ! It has never ceased to please me 🙂