Baingan Bartha


3.5 lb eggplant
2 T canola or other vegetable oil
2 large onions
1 T black (or yellow) mustard seeds
1 T cumin seeds
A piece of fresh ginger about 4 inches long and 1 inch thick, peeled and chopped into about 8 pieces.
2 fresh hot chilis, stems removed.
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt
1 14-oz can chopped tomatos.
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1 t garam masala
chopped cilantro for garnish

Cooking directions

Pre-heat oven to 400 F.  Prick holes in the eggplants, and place them on a baking sheet.  Roast until the skins are dark brown and slightly charred, and the eggplants are very soft. This will take between 30 and 60 minutes.

Let the eggplants cool.  Slice them open lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out as much flesh as possible. Chop the eggplant coarsely. (If you measure the eggplant, you should have roughly 3 cups of pulp.)

Put the ginger and chilis, plus about 2 T water, into a mini-Cuisinart or similar device and grind until you have a watery puree.

In a large saute pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is very hot.  Add the mustard and cumin seeds and quickly cover the pan.  Let the seeds cook until you hear the popping noises slow down, and you smell a popcorn-like scent. (This takes just 10 or 20 seconds.)

Add the onions and saute until dark brown, about 20 minutes.

Add the ginger mixture (pay attention, as it may spatter) and the turmeric. Cook the mixture for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the turmeric and coriander powder, and cook two minutes more, stirring frequently.

Add the salt and tomatoes and mix well. Add the eggplant and mix well.  Add a little water, maybe 1/2 cup. You don't want the mixture to be soupy, but you want to have enough liquid that it can simmer without burning.  Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes, covered, checking once or twice to see if the mixture needs a little more water to prevent it from sticking.

Add the frozen peas and garam masala, mix well, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve sprinkled with the chopped coriander.


This recipe is nice served with either rice or an Indian bread such as rotis (chapatis) or puris.  You may also want to add on a dish of dal (lentils) or chickpeas (channa).

Ideas for substitution/modifications:

- I you don't have the equipment to puree the ginger/chili mixture, you can finely chop the ginger and chili(s).  Or leave the chili(s) whole, but remember not to eat them!

- For the canned tomatoes, you can substitute an equivalent amount of fresh ones OR 2 T tomato paste mixed in 1/2 cup water.

- If you don't like spicy food, use just 1/2 a green pepper.

Page last updated: 2/17/09