Looking for a delicious vegetarian dish? Try our Baingan Bharta recipe made with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and spices. This traditional Indian dish is easy to make and packed with flavor. Perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion.
Baingan Bharta is a traditional Indian dish that features roasted eggplant blended with a medley of aromatic spices and fresh vegetables. This is a popular vegetarian side dish in North Indian cuisine, and its distinctive smoky flavor makes it a favorite among many. It is usually served alongside rotis or rice, though you can also serve it for any bread or rice preparation you prefer. It also serves as a fun dip, and you can serve it as an appetizer along with some tortilla or naan chips.
Where did Baingan Bharta originate?
Baingan Bharta is a popular Indian dish with roots in India and Pakistan. The exact origin of Baingan Bharta is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the Punjab region dating back to the Mughal era, known for its rich and diverse culinary traditions. Today, Baingan Bharta is a staple of North Indian cuisine and is enjoyed by people all over the world for its unique smoky flavor and creamy texture.
Is Baingan Bharta healthy and vegan?
This Indian eggplant dish is not only delicious but also has several health benefits.
- Rich in antioxidants: Eggplant, the main ingredient in Baingan Bharta, is a good source of antioxidants like anthocyanins, which help protect the body against damage from harmful free radicals.
- High in fiber: It is rich in dietary fiber, which helps maintain digestive health and can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Low in calories: Baingan Bharta is a low-calorie dish, which makes it a healthy option for weight management.
- Good source of vitamins and minerals: Baingan Bharta is a good source of vitamins C and K, as well as minerals like potassium and iron, which are essential for maintaining optimal health.
This dish is also naturally vegan, since no ghee, milk or other animal products are used in the recipe.
How is Baingan Bharta prepared?
This vegetarian Indian dish is made by roasting eggplant over an open flame until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft and tender. The charred eggplant is then mashed and combined with a variety of spices and fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, and green chilies, to create a flavorful and aromatic dish. Here are the basic steps for preparing this dish:
- Roast the eggplant: The first step is to roast the eggplant over an open flame or in the oven until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft and tender. This gives the dish its characteristic smoky flavor.
- Remove the skin: Once the eggplant is roasted, allow it to cool before removing the charred skin and mashing the flesh with a fork or potato masher.
- Prepare the seasoning: In a separate pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds, chopped onions, ginger, garlic, and green chilies. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add the eggplant: Add the mashed eggplant to the pan and mix well with the onion and spice mixture.
- Add tomatoes and spices: Add chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric, coriander powder, and garam masala to the eggplant mixture and cook for a few more minutes.
- Serve hot: Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with naan bread, roti, or rice.
The ingredients and exact method of preparation may vary depending on regional and personal preferences, but this is the basic process for preparing Baingan Bharta.
What are some variations to this dish?
Here are some of the popular variations:
- Achari Baingan Bharta: This variation includes the addition of pickling spices like fennel, mustard seeds, and fenugreek to give it a tangy and spicy flavor.
- Bharwa Baingan Bharta: This variation is made by stuffing whole eggplants with a mixture of spices and mashed eggplant and then roasting it until tender.
- Palak Baingan Bharta: This variation includes the addition of spinach, which adds extra nutrition and a unique flavor to the dish.
- Dum Baingan Bharta: In this variation, the eggplant is slow-cooked in a sealed pot or dum, which allows the flavors to blend together and develop a rich and delicious taste.
These are just a few of the many variations of Baingan Bharta that can be found across India and beyond.
While most commonly served with roti or paratha, baingan bharta is a pretty versatile dish that goes well with a lot of things –
- With Indian bread: It goes well with Indian bread like naan, roti, or paratha. This bread can be used to scoop up the delicious eggplant mash and enhance the flavor of the dish. It is also served with Litti, a Bihari delicacy.
- With rice: It can also be served with steamed rice, either plain or flavored with spices like cumin or saffron.
- With yogurt: A dollop of yogurt on top of Baingan Bharta can help balance the spiciness of the dish and add a cool and creamy texture.
- With salad: A simple salad of sliced onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes can be served alongside the Bharta to add freshness and crunch.
- As a side dish: It can also be served as a side dish with other Indian curries or dishes.
- With pickles: A side of pickles or chutneys like mango pickle, mint chutney, or tamarind chutney can add extra flavor and tanginess to the dish.
- With chips or crackers: Served alongside some tortilla chips or crackers, this can be a crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Baingan Bharta has stood the test of time and remains a beloved dish for its hearty flavor and ease of preparation. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is sure to impress your guests and tantalize your taste buds.
Here is a video recipe on how to make this roasted Indian eggplant dish at home:
- 1 large Eggplant
- 6 pieces Garlic Cloves
- 4 tsp Cooking Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds / Jeera
- 2 tsp minced Ginger
- 1 large finely chopped Green Chili
- 1 medium finely chopped Onion
- 1 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder (adjust for spice)
- 2 medium finely chopped Tomatoes
- 2 drops Liquid Smoke (optional)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Coriander or Cilantro leaves
Prepping the Eggplant (Brinjal)
- Wash the large eggplant. Leave the stalk on.
- Using a sharp knife, cut from the stalk to the bottom (length-wise) quarter-way through. You’re looking to make deep slits into the eggplant, but not cut all the way through. Make slits all around the eggplant (4-6 places).
- Stuff each slit with a peeled clove of garlic.
- Brush 1 tsp oil all over the eggplant.
Roasting the Eggplant – 2 methods
- On the stove: Place a roti jali (if you have one) on the stove, and place the eggplant on it. You can do this on a fire, induction or coil stove. Cook on medium heat. Carefully keep turning the eggplant (by holding the stalk) so all parts of the eggplant can roast evenly. Roast until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft and tender.
- In the oven or broiler: Place the eggplant on a baking dish or a grill pan. Bake at 450F/275C for about 30 minutes. Every 15 minutes, keep turning the eggplant to let it cook evenly. Once the flesh starts to look tender and juicy, set the oven to grill or broil mode. Broil for about 15 minutes or until the skin is charred.
Making the Baingan Bharta
- Once the eggplant has cooked, place in a bowl, cover with a lid and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the skin and stalk, which should come off easily. The eggplant and the garlic will be soft, tender, and juicy.
- Using a fork or a masher, mash the garlic and eggplants, and set aside.
- In a pan, heat rest of the cooking oil. Add cumin seeds or jeera. When the seeds start to splutter, add the onion, chilies and ginger. Saute on medium until onions are browned.
- Add the salt, turmeric powder and red chili powder and cook out the spices for a few minutes.
- Then add the chopped tomatoes, mix and fry until the mixture resembles a mash.
- Add the prepared eggplant and garlic mash. Mix well with the onion and tomato mixture. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- If the dish doesn’t have enough smoky flavor, you can add a drop or two of liquid smoke and mix well.
- Garnish with cilantro or coriander leaves and serve warm.
- Choose the right eggplant: Choose big eggplants that are firm, shiny, and heavy for their size. These are typically fresher and have fewer seeds, which will give you a better flavor.
- Roast the eggplant properly: The key to a good Baingan Bharta is to properly roast the eggplant. You can do this over an open flame or in the oven until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft and tender.
- Let the eggplant cool before handling: After roasting the eggplant, let it cool down before handling it. This will make it easier to remove the charred skin and mash the flesh.
- Use liquid smoke: If the eggplant hasn’t roasted enough or you find it lacking in the smoky flavor, you can add a drop or two of edible liquid smoke.
- Use fresh spices and vegetables: To enhance the flavor of your Baingan Bharta, use fresh spices and vegetables like onions, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic. This will give your dish a more authentic taste.
- Adjust the spice level: Baingan Bharta is a spicy dish, but the level of heat can be adjusted to your liking. If you prefer a milder taste, use fewer green chilies or remove the seeds before adding them to the dish.
- Garnish with fresh herbs: Garnish your Baingan Bharta with fresh coriander leaves, which will add a burst of freshness to the dish.
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