Summer started with a heavy down pour of rain for us, which continued for the past two days. The need for quick and easy summer meals was the order of the day, yet something spicy & delicious to enjoy watching the summer rains with, was calling my name.
What better than this Punjabi ( a northern state in India ) version of Baingan Bharta ? It is a vegetarian dish, which originated in Punjab, that is prepared by mincing eggplant (baingan) that is grilled over charcoal or direct fire. This infuses the dish with a smoky flavour. A very popular vegetarian dish in the Indian cuisine and a hot favorite of many, is easy to prepare & delicious when served with Indian flat breads. Baingan Bharta is the Indian version of Baba Ghanoush, the Levantine or Syrian dish of mashed cooked eggplant.
The white roses I had picked from the flower market, on my way back from the grocers were sitting pretty on my dining table,
nothing like starting summer on a right note with fresh cut flowers and delicious food. Let the celebrations for the much awaited warm weather begin !
- Eggplant / Aubergine/ Brinjal – 5-6 (medium to large ones )
- Onions(medium) – 3
- Tomatoes( medium) – 2
- Garlic – 6 pods
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander powder – 2 tsp
- Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
- Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Coriander leaves – to garnish
- Salt – to taste
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Wash the eggplants/aubergine/brinjal under cold water, wipe it clean with a kitchen towel & make longitudinal slits . Switch on the gas stove and roast these eggplants on fire holding them with a skewer or an old fork, turning them over so they are charred on the outside and mushy on the inside. (The slits are made for the heat to escape or you would have the vegetable busting all over on your kitchen floor. Some recommend coating the eggplants with a little oil before roasting them on open fire, I did not try that to avoid the risk of an emergency call to the fire station. It works out just fine either way! ) Set aside to cool.
- Now in a wok or kadai/thick bottomed Indian vessel used for everyday cooking, warm oil and add cumin seeds & allow them to splutter. Then add the mashed garlic pieces to it, till a nice aroma emanates from the wok.
- To this add the finely chopped onion and saute a few minutes till they turn golden brown, before adding the cubed tomato pieces to it.
- Gently stir the above till the tomatoes turn mushy and soft, then add all the spice powders one by one and stir well till they are mixed together and the raw smell disappears.
- Meanwhile, the cooled eggplants can be mashed with a spoon or a masher into a coarse pasty consistency.
- Add the mashed eggplant into the onion tomato mix and stir them all together, adding salt to taste. One can sprinkle a handful of water at this stage, so the dry fry preparation is cooked well.
- Garnish with cilantro/coriander leaves and serve hot with garlic naan or any Indian flat bread. It can also be used a spicy spread on your sandwich, if you so enjoy a spicy one to the boring peanut butter routine.Enjoy!
Happy Summer !
For my earlier recipes using eggplants/aubergine/brinjal please check the links to my blogposts below :