When you are experimenting in the kitchen, you are not very sure if you want to share something as ordinary as a Baigan ka Bharta with your readers!
I don’t have a “gas” stove top here and have to do all the cooking on an electric oven range. Which is no fun if you are making the Bengali Begun Poda or the Punjabi version of the Baigan ka Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Mish-mash). Its in times like these that I have to toss my ingredients in the oven, and hope I get the taste which is close to the palate I have grown up to.
I know a lot of people do roast the eggplant in the oven, but this recipe of mine has roasted tomatoes (instead of raw ones) thrown in too!
Here is my recipe of the Punjabi Baigan ka Bharta!
One medium size eggplant – I chose one which was about 350-400 gms
2 ripe tomatoes
Half cup green peas
1 medium size red onion finely chopped
Bunch of coriander chopped fine
4-5 green chilies chopped finely
5-6 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 inch ginger chopped finely
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Drizzle of mustard oil
2 tablespoon ghee (melted)
Slit the eggplant from the center and cut the tomatoes in halves. Put them in a baking dish and drizzle some mustard oil. “Bake” them in the oven at 350°F for an hour. You want to roast the eggplant and the tomatoes till they are nice and plump and not shriveled. Gently remove the purple skin of the eggplant and its stalk. Squish the eggplant and the tomatoes (separately).
In a frying pan, heat the melted ghee and add the cumin seeds. And all the chopped culprits (except the coriander) one by one starting with the onions.
Sauté all the ingredients for about 4-5 minutes on medium heat. Add the already mashed up eggplant and tomato. Add the dry spices and fry for five more minutes till all the raw flavors are cooked.
Towards the end of the cooking process, add the already washed and drained (if you are using frozen ones) green peas. Add salt and mix well.
Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with roti or naan and maybe some Tandoori Chicken to get that complete feeling of eating at a North Indian Dhaba!
This is as good as Baigan ka Bharta can get in North America! Try it.