Hi there!

Today’s lesson is about jale pe namak kaise chhidakte hain… arre, I mean I will tell you how to make baingan ka bharta…

Baingan, Begun, Aubergine, Eggplant – call it whatever you call it, the whole world seems to have a love-hate relationship with it. Either you love it, or you hate it. I have never come across anybody who is truly bainganeutral.

Thankfully, we have an absolute majority in our family when it comes to baingan – the baingan lovers win hands down. So here goes the first baingan dish – Roasted Aubergine a la Punjabi, ya nahi ke, Baingan ka Bharta!

Roasted Aubergine a la Punjabi

(Ya nahi ke, Baingan ka Bharta)

(Serves 4)

  • 1 large, round, purple aubergine/baingan OR two longish purple ones if round ones are not avaiable
    (Take care to buy a baingan that feels comparatively lightweight – likely to have less seeds. Heavy baingans have too many seeds and can feel itchy.)
  • 1 onion, chopped small
  • 7-8 garlic cloves
  • 1 large tomato, chopped small or pureed
  • 1/2 tsp haldi/turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 tsp oil

Wash the baingan well. (Baingans are often coated with all sorts of stuff to make them appear shiny and attractive – stuff you definitely should not be ingesting.) Make a few small cuts on the baingan – cuts deep enough to stuff with (peeled) garlic cloves. Roast the baingan (along with the garlic cloves stuffed in) directly on the flame, or over a roasting frame (if you have one) placed over the flame. Keep the flame high, not on sim.

Roast till done well (it should be really really soft from inside, with bits of the skin charred black – it’s not enough to just cook it.) A partially burnt baingan is no fun to eat, trust me. When done, remove from fire, let it cool a bit, and then remove the peel and mash the baingan.

In a pan/ wok, heat the oil, fry the onions. If you like it spicy, add one green chilli while frying. When onions turn brown, add the dry spices (this dish is best with less spices, the beauty is in the aroma of the roasted baingan), stir a bit. Then add the tomatoes. when tomatoes are done and oil starts leaving the sides of the pan, add salt and the mashed baingan.

Cook for 3-4 minutes, so that the gravy absorbs the flavour of the roasted baingan. When done, remove from fire and eat with hot rotis.

Needless to say, garnish with fresh green coriander leaves before serving.

Ja,  ab ja kar jale pe thhoda namak chhidak!