Baigan Bharta - Smoky Mashed Eggplant

Ingredients: - (Serves 2-3)

 

                1 large eggplant (about 1lb)

                1 tsp oil (for rubbing on the eggplant)

                3 tbsp mustard/olive oil

                1 cup chopped red onions

                1" fresh ginger shoot, chopped

                4 garlic cloves, chopped

                1-2 Thai green chilies, chopped (adjust to tolerance)

                1.25 cups chopped tomatoes

                1 tsp coriander seeds

                3-4 whole dry red chilies (adjust to tolerance)

                1/2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)

                1/2 tsp garam masala

                Salt to taste

                1 tsp mustard/olive oil (for drizzle on top, optional)

                Cilantro, green chilies chopped (for garnish)

 

 

Method: -

 

Wash the eggplant and dry the skin with a cloth. Rub1 tsp of oil all over. Use any one of the following methods to char the eggplant: -

 

1.              This is what I do: - Heat your stovetop on high. Char the whole eggplant, turning with the use of tongs to char on all sides, until the skin has blackened & the flesh is soft. This will take about 20-22 minutes. Keep a watch while you do this. 

2.              Preheat a grill to medium heat; you can slit the eggplant into half, grill skin side up for 25-30 minutes. If you plan to use an oven, preheat broiler to 325F and roast the eggplant for about 15-20 minutes until skin is burnt & starts to peel off.

 

While the eggplant is roasting, pound the coriander seeds and dry red chilies using a mortar & pestle. Set aside.

Once the eggplant has charred, using tongs, transfer it to a plate and let cool down for about 15 minutes. Peel off the charred skin from the eggplant.You can remove seeds if you want. Using a fork, mash the flesh. Set aside.

 

Heat oil on high in a heavy bottomed pan. When the oil is almost smoky, reduce heat to medium & add the chopped onions. Sauté for about 6-7 minutes or till the onions are translucent but not browned. Next, add the chopped ginger, garlic, green chilies and sauté for 30 seconds or till you smell the aroma. Add the coriander & red chill mixture next and sauté for another 30 seconds. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, set the heat on high again and cook the tomatoes for 7-8 minutes until they soften (but do not mush) and you see oil separating on sides of the pan.

At this point, add the mashed eggplant and salt to taste. Combine everything together, set heat to low and let cook for 3-4 minutes. You will see that the color of the mash deepens & few oil bubbles on the surface as it cooks.

 

Remove from heat and while still hot, add the dry mango powder and garam masala. Mix well.

 

Garnish with loads of chopped cilantro, green chilies, drizzle with some raw mustard/olive oil and serve warm with naan/ chapati (flatbreads)