Stir up those taste buds with this wonderful North Indian dish of spicy roasted eggplant.
Tempered with cumin seeds, sautéed with onions & tomatoes and a scatter of peas, it makes a delightful addition to a North Indian dinner and just as good on it's own.
Be sure to serve it with a traditional North Indian bread like parathas, naan & rotis. Whole wheat pitas warmed up will serve just as well in a pinch.
Traditionally in the villages of the Punjab, the eggplants are roasted on charcoals or in a tandoor (earthen oven) giving it a wonderful smoky flavor.
However in the modern home kitchen, this is best emulated using either of these methods:
Placing the eggplants over an open gas stove flame and roasting the eggplant until the skin bubbles and chars on all sides or using the oven.
I really like the mess & fuss free oven method that also has the added advantage of being hands free leaving your hands to prepare the rest of the ingredients while the eggplants are merrily doing their thing in the oven.
So here goes, an asli Punjabi classic!
Baingan Bharta | Roasted Eggplant and Peas from Punjab, India
2 large & glossy purple eggplants (not Asian)
2 medium or 1 large onion
3 plum or 2 large tomatoes
1-2 Thai green chilies
1-1/2 ” fresh ginger root
1-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 stalks green onions
¾-1 cup frozen peas
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp red chilly powder (more or less as desired)
1 tsp ‘garam masala’ powder
¼ cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. pure ‘ghee’ (clarified butter)
Heat the oven to 475 deg F. or the low broil setting. Line a baking tray with Aluminum foil. Spray some non-stick baking spray over the sheet.
Eggplants: Cook's Tip: You can roast the eggplants, peel and set aside in a container with their juices for use the next day.
Place the whole eggplants on the sheets. Roast for about 30 minutes or so until the eggplants are completely shriveled up. Turn over half way through.
Remove from the oven and place in a Pyrex dish. Cover with cling wrap and set aside for an hour or so until completely cool. This continues to steaming the eggplant and the skin will enable to skin to peel off easily.
Peel the skin off using a butter knife and roughly chop the eggplant with kitchen shears or a sharp knife, conserving all the eggplant juices. Prepare the other ingredients the day you want to serve:
Onion - Peel and finely chop the onions