Having been one of those picky eaters as a kid, things as exotic as Eggplant would never ever find its way to my dinner plate - unless it was battered and deep fried - at which point, it could've been anything!
As a picky eater, I really missed out on the wonderful flavors a lot of vegetables offered because I was usually turned off by their texture. And as all Bhartas go, this thing appeared to be a mushy mass of yuck to kids overactive imagination. Ah, what I had been missing.
I tasted my first Baingan Bharta only about 5 years ago - and I absolutely loved the flavors, however,I still had some leftover squirmishness about its texture.
I bought an eggplant on a whim yesterday and resolved to make this recipe. And if I may say so, this dish is the best eggplant dish I've had, in a long time. The roasted eggplant has a nice sweetness to it, I've added fire with green chillies and there is a nice earthy background to it from all the spices.
I can think of many ways to serve this, as a traditional indian meal with naan or parathas, as a dip with home-made pita chips or on top of a crostini.You can pretty nicely swap this out for an eggplant caponata.
I might've intended to make the caponata when I bought the eggplant - I had been thinking about it for a while now. My memory fails me.
This is a relatively easy recipe, except for the roasting time for the eggplant, which can be 45-60 mins.
I used my cast iron pan for making this, and I've heard cast iron can impart a certain flavor to the food. I highly recommend using a cast iron pan if you own one! It seems to contribute to the recipe.
|Prep Time :||1 hr||Serves:||2 people|
|Cooking Time :||15 mins|
|>||1 Large (Japanese) Eggplant|
|>||1/2 Red or Yellow Onion - chopped|
|>||1 small Plum/Roma Tomato - chopped|
|>||1 Garlic clove|
|>||1/4 tbsp Turmeric Powder|
|>||1/4 tbsp Coriander Powder|
|>||1/4 tbsp Cumin Powder|
|>||1/4 tbsp Garam Masala|
|>||2-3 tbsp Vegetable Oil|
|>||1/2 tbsp Cumin Seeds|
|>||1-2 Green Chillies (optional)|
|>||Cilantro to garnish|
|*||Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees|
|*||Line a baking sheet with foil, prick the surface of the eggplant with a fork or a knife all over and place it on the sheet|
|*||Roast in the oven for 40-45 mins, checking at 20-25 mins. You are looking for a shriveling eggplant skin and you will smell the cooked eggplant closer to 40 mins|
|*||Alternately, if you are pressed for time, you can roast the eggplant on the gas stove flame, turning every so often until the skin is charred|
|*||Once roasted, let it rest for 5-10 mins before peeling the charred skin off.|
|*||Cut the top off and mash the cooked eggplant meat into a bowl or plate.Set aside|
|*||In a cast iron pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds and turmeric.|
|*||Once the cumin seeds splutter, add onions and garlic immediately after. Add green chillies to the oil, if using|
|*||Let onion soften, 2-3 mins and then add the tomatoes|
|*||Add remaining spices and let the tomatoes cook down. Since the eggplant is already cooked, you wont need much cooking time later|
|*||Once tomatoes and onions are well incorporated, add the mashed eggplant and cook for 3-5 mins, till everything blends well together|
|*||Add salt to taste, squeeze of lemon juice, and garnish with cilantro|