Raise hand if you love aubergine. Now raise hands if you do not love aubergine. Reason for both of you groups need to raise hand is that immaterial of you liking aubergine or not, everyone loves this roasted aubergine, tossed in spices, aka known as “Baingan Bharta”.
Smokey roasted aubergine (eggplant) curry is basically a curry made by mashing aubergine on bare flames (roasting) and then frying with Indian spices. Certainly one of my favourite (thanks to its unique taste and smokey flavour), and is best served with hot chappati or paratha.
I am fully aware that aubergine (or called baingan in hindi) is not an admired vegetable by all age groups or across countries. However, I believe that this roasted and mashed aubergine is something which anyone would like (or course minor exceptions remain).
I remember the days when I was growing up, I barely will touch aubergine curry or anything which has got aubergine, but I was definitely ok with mashed aubergine (baingan bharta). Bharta is hindi word for mashing. When you roast aubergine, it yields a smokey flavour to the aubergine and also makes aubergine soft enough, which is then subsequently mashed and then fried over with spices, yielding a beautiful mashed aubergine.
Baingan bharta tastes a lot closer to baba ghunash, except that this bharta does not have tahini or olive oil. This baingan bharta tastes best with mustard oil, however I am aware not everyone likes mustard oil (or is not recommended to consume in some parts of the world), you can cook it in other cooking oils.
In traditional times this bharta was made purely by roasting aubergine on the “chulha“, however you can make it on gas stove too (or tandoor if you have one). Again, in those old days (and even now in many households), it is made purely using aubergine and then few basic spices, like chillies, salt, turmeric. Some people now add green peas too it, my recipes does not include green peas here, but feel free to experiment. (See key notes of the recipe).
FAQs/ Commonly asked questions:
I do not have a gas burner, how do I roast eggplant? If you have oven you can roast eggplants in oven too.
My eggplants did not roast properly, what to do? You need to Roast on medium heat and before roasting piece the aubergine with sharp objects to form holes. Roasting on high heat will only roast the surface.
How to peel skin of eggplant after roasting? Wait for eggplant to cool down to normal room temperature. Now if you try to peel skin off the eggplant, it will come off easily, just like it does for a boiled egg.
I roasted egg plant in oven, I do not get the smoky flavour, what to do? You can give smoke to baingan bharta or any other curry by wrapping hot charcoal/ coal in an aluminium sheet and putting that in the curry for few seconds with lid closed.
Can I use any eggplant for baingan bharta? In theory yes, you can use any egg plant, however for best results I will recommend using decent sized eggplant / aubergine. Small ones are better suited for stuffed aubergine.
This Baingan Bharta Recipe
- Will offer to make the best baingan bharta.
- This bharta recipe is vegan and gluten-free
- Is best enjoyed with chapatti or plain paratha
- Last but never the least, will please even those who dislike aubergine / baingan normally.
Step by step detailed recipe of baingan bharta is described below.
Gluten Free Vegan Baingan Bharta
- 2 Aubergine
- 2 Onion Medium – Finely Chopped
- 2 Tomatoes Medium – Finely Chopped
- 5 Garlic Cloves Finely Chopped
- 2 Green chillies Finely Chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ginger Grated
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1/4 Teaspoon Asafoetida
- 1/4 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- 1.5 Teaspoon Salt As per taste
- 1.5 Tablespoon Oil
- Fresh Coriander Leaves For garnishing
- Ginger Juliennes For garnishing
- First of all, wash and pat dry the baingan / eggplant or aubergine. Now keep them for roasting on an open flame. You can roast baingan in an oven too. Keep them turning after every 3-4 minutes on the flame, so that its evenly cooked from all sides. Similarly roast all the aubergines till they are completely cooked and tender. Switch off the flame and keep them for cooling down.
- Once cooled, Peel the skin from the roasted eggplants and mash them properly.
- Now take a Pan/ karahi and heat oil in it. Then add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Once they crackle, add chopped onions and garlic. Saute till its translucent. Now add grated ginger and chopped green chilies and saute again for a minute. Finally add in the chopped tomatoes and saute the tomatoes till the oil starts oozing.
- Add all the spices and mix well. Then add the roasted mashed baingan. Mix them well with the onion-tomato masala mixture.
- Now Roast this mixture for at least 10 minutes. The longer you will roast (thoroughly roasting is what you want to be doing, without burning), the tastier would be your bharta. After 10 -12 minutes, switch off the flame.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and ginger julienne and serve Baingan bharta with phulka / Indian bread.
- Always cook aubergine in low medium flame else it will be burned outside with the inside left uncooked if roasted on higher flame.
- You can also grill onion, garlic and tomatoes to give an extra added smoky flavour.
- If you using oven or microwave to roast baingan and want smoky flavour in your bharta, then you can use an alternate method. Once you finished making your bharta, place an aluminium foil piece in the centre of kadahi containing bharta. Now burn a charcoal on stovetop till its red hot. Place this burnt charcoal in that aluminium foil and pour 1/2 tablespoon of oil on that burning charcoal and cover the pan/kadahi with the lid. After 10 minutes open the lid and take out the foil piece containing charcoal and mix your bharta. You will find the smoky flavour now in your bharta.
- You can add more chillies, and amchur powder if you want your Bharta to be more hot, spicy and tangy.
- You can also add green peas if you wish to your bharta.
My hubby is huge fan of baingan bharta and its one of the food item which constantly features on my dining table and hence this recipe is very much tried and tested.