Eggplant Bharta (Baingan Ka Bharta) is one of my husband’s favorite ways to eat eggplant. The roasted flavor of the eggplant in this traditional Indian dish is kicked up a notch with the fire of Indian spices. It is quite easy to make at home; you don’t even have to sweat the eggplant because of the roasting.
Most recipes call for you to chop the raw vegetables very finely, but we found that we preferred to puree them with a blender or food processor and sautee them briefly before adding the mashed eggplant.
This recipe is vegetarian and can be made vegan if you substitute margarine for the butter.
Eggplant Bharta with Peas Recipe
serves three to four
- 2 medium-sized eggplants (aubergines)
- 1 large onion
- 1 cup frozen or fresh green peas
- 5 medium-sized garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 green chiles
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 lime
- ghee (or butter) as needed
- oil as needed
- salt to taste
- serve over aromatic basmati rice with chutney on the side
1. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and rub the sliced side with ghee (or butter). Place the eggplant halves sliced-side down on a baking sheet that can withstand high heat (note that Teflon-coated cookware is not recommended for this or any other recipe involving high temperatures).
2. Adjust your oven rack to the middle of the oven and place the baking sheet on the rack. Close the door and turn the oven to broil. The eggplants need to roast until the skin is fully blackened and the vegetable is very soft when poked with a fork–about 30 minutes at least. In this case, roasting the eggplant for too long is preferable to having it come out too raw.
3. Place the onion, garlic, and chilies into a food processor or blender and puree them. Two chilies are quite spicy, so make sure to adjust this to your taste.
4. Just before the eggplant finishes roasting, start your rice cooking according to its own instructions.
5. When the eggplant has finished roasting, use a spoon to scoop out the roasted innards, discarding the skin and ends. With a potato-masher or fork, mash the eggplant until it has a smooth and even texture.
6. In a medium saucepan, heat some oil over medium-high heat and add the pureed vegetables and mustard powder. Cook it, stirring frequently, until it is slightly browned-no more than five minutes. Be careful not to breathe the steam coming off of this, as it will knock you down!
7. Add the mashed eggplant and peas to the pan. Bring the mixture up to temperature and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for ten minutes or until the peas are fully cooked.
8. Just before serving, squeeze lime into the pot and stir in the cilantro.
9. Serve over aromatic basmati rice with some chutney on the side. Enjoy!