Baingan Bharta 4 Ways

Eggplant is delectable - voluptuous, melting, smokey, sweet mouthfuls. This is a grown up's vegetable. Sexy and a little scary for some. But it really shouldn't be. Try these and you'll see why...
baingan bharta brinjal aubergine

Brinjal, Aubergine or Eggplant if you prefer, has a deep, rich purple color and a lush fullness to its shape that calls out to be touched. And once cooked, the flesh of an eggplant is delectable – voluptuous, melting, smokey, sweet mouthfuls.

This is a grown up’s vegetable. Sexy and a little scary for some. But it really shouldn’t be. It takes on flavors so easily and can taste savory, sweet and complex all at once. The eggplant finds beautiful representation in so many different cuisines – Greek Moussaka, Italian Eggplant Parmigiana, Indonesian Terong Balado, Chinese Stewed Sichuan Eggplant and so much more. Indian food embraces the baingan in various forms – you could make Aloo Baingan ki Sabzi, Baingan and Mooli, Begun Bhaja or at least four different types of Baingan Bharta.

Here’s a list of our favorite Baigan Bharta recipes:

1. Bihari Baingan Bharta: A simple dish with complex flavors. The creaminess of the roasted eggplant is dressed with a sharp mustard flavor cut with sweet raw onions.
Roast eggplants directly on the flame on your stove till the skin is charred and the flesh is cooked through. It should be soft and find no resistance when piereced with a fork.
When cool, peel the skin and mash the vegetable. Add finely chopped onion and green chili, one each.
Drizzle with mustard oil. Add salt to taste and mix well to serve
In the winter, you could include fresh peas for a lovely sweet textural addition.
Tip: While roasting the eggplant, pierce them with garlic cloves. It imparts an additional kick in flavor.

2. Punjabi Baingan Bharta: Unlike the Bihari Baingan bharta, this dish involves a little additional cooking. It is however a classic Indian, masaledaar dish.
Roast baingan directly on the flame on your stove till the skin is charred and the flesh is cooked through. When cool, peel the skin and mash the flesh.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in pan. Add some cumin seeds. When it crackles added 4-5 cloves of finely chopped garlic and a finely chopped onion. Cook till the onions turn translucent and add a finely chopped tomato. You want the tomato to cook down, soften into a pulpy sauce. Add a green chili, a 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander powder and salt to taste. Cook the spices for a minute. Add 1/2 an inch of ginger, grated. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the mashed eggplant flesh. Stir and cook for about another minute.

3. Maharashtrian Baingan Bharta: We absolutely love this one. The mix of softened eggplant and yogurt was a refreshing new flavor experience for us. Savory, fresh, bites of raw onion, coriander. Perfect. A colleague would bring this to work and we’d end up eating half his lunch. We got the recipe from his mother and it’s become a go to recipe for us.
1 large Eggplant, cut into large pieces. Heat oil in a pan and place the pieces in the pan and cover. Cook till dark brown and caramalised. Mash the cooked eggplant well and add in a finely chopped onion and a finely chopped green chili. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of yogurt to the eggplant. Add salt and sugar to taste. Add yoghurt to the onion and chilli mix.Add salt and sugar. Heat oil in a small pan, add 1/2 tsp mustard seed and 1/2 tsp cumin seed, a pinch of Hing, and some curry leaves. Pour this crackling tadka over the eggplant and yoghurt mix.

4. Baba Ghanoush: Not Indian, but still Baingan Bharta. Smoked eggplant infused with garlic and Tahini is a delicious, cooling, dip that takes snacking to more refined levels than you’d expect from chips and dip.
Roast eggplants directly on the flame on your stove till the skin is charred and the flesh is cooked through. It should be soft and find no resistance when piereced with a fork.
When cool, peel the skin and place the eggplant flesh in a blender. Grate a couple of cloves of garlic and add the garlic along with some lemon juice, a couple of tablespoons of Tahini (sesame paste), a splash of olive oil, salt, chili powder, and some fresh coriander leaves. Blend everything together. Add more salt if required. Serve with Pita chips, crackers or any other crunchy dip delivery system you choose.

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