Baingan Bharta

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Baingan bharta recipe. Another favorite Punjabi recipe at home. This baingan bharta recipe is a simple and easy recipe to prepare without using much spices.

We love this baingan ka bharta for its simplicity and taste. I learned this authentic Punjabi recipe from my mother-in-law who cooks great Punjabi cuisine. If you don’t know what baingan bharta is. Let me tell you.

What is baingan bharta?

Baingan bharta is a spicy, mashed eggplant or eggplant dish popular in Indian cuisine. Here eggplant or aubergine are the English words for baingan and bharta is the Hindi word for mash.

There are many Indian regional variations of baingan bharta making such as Maharashtrian Vangyache bharit or Bihari baingan chokha or Tamilian kathirikai gothsu. The recipe I shared here is the Punjabi version that we make at home.

You can compare baingan bharta to baba ganoush because the method of roasting eggplant is the same. But the seasonings, spices, etc. used are totally different.

How to make baingan ka bharta?

1. Roast and crush or chop the eggplants: To make baingan bharta, the eggplants are roasted over open fire on a gas stove. Later, the skin is peeled and the eggplants are crushed.

In the Punjab, the baingan was once roasted in the tandoor. As a result, the baingan would be infused with the distinct flavor of aromatic charcoal. This is not possible these days because we do not have tandoors or charcoal burners in our kitchens.

Due to the open flame roasting, there is a smoky flavor in the baingan. To get that smoky flavor, I suggest roasting the baingan over a fire and not in the oven or microwave. I roasted the baingan in the oven once and the baingan bhartha did not have its peculiar smoky flavor and taste.

In this baingan ka bharta recipe, I have also incorporated the dhungar method to infuse the smoky aroma of burnt charcoal. The method is indicated. However, this is optional method and you can easily skip it.

2. Cooking with onion-tomato masala: Later, the eggplant puree is added to a sautéed mixture of onions, tomatoes, garlic, spices and cooked further. Tomatoes give this recipe a nice flavor and harmonize with the sweetness of onions and eggplant. Garlic also adds a lot of depth and flavor to this simple comforting baingan ka bharta.

I usually make baingan bharta this way, but I have also made it by adding spices like turmeric powder, dhania powder (coriander powder), etc. simple recipe where less spice powders are used. But if you like a more masaledar version of baingan bharta, add your favorite spice powders to it.

Tips for making baingan bharta

  • Choosing the right type of baingan: The brinjal that is used to make bharta is the large, dark purple variety of brinjal. This brinjal has more flesh and fewer seeds. For baingan bharta, try to get a baingan that is tall and with smooth skin. The baingan should be light in your hands. The light brinjal will have fewer seeds than a heavy brinjal which will have ripe seeds and it can spoil the taste of the bhartha. Second, also check that there are no cracks or holes in the skin. This would mean that a worm has entered the baingan.
  • Roasting the baingan over a fire: Roasting the baingan over an open flame gives a very good aroma and smoky taste to the bharta. While cooking, continue to turn the baingan after a few minutes. This will ensure that the baingan is well cooked. To check whether the baingan is cooked or not, pierce a knife on several sides. if it slides well without resistance, the baingan is well done.

Also Read: Sambar Recipe

Best way to roast baingan for baingan bharta

  1. First rinse the baingan with water and pat dry. Keep the rod because with the help of the rod you can turn the brinjal.
  2. Then make a transverse slit from the bottom and check for worms. You can now roast the brinjal over an open flame.
  3. Maintain the flame on medium to medium-low. Be careful when flipping the brinjal. Hold the rod and twist.
  4. Turn the brinjal every 2 to 3 minutes on the heat so that it is evenly cooked.
  5. If you are unable to hold the rod because it is too hot or the heat from the fire is too strong, turn it over using tongs. Be careful when roasting brinjal.
  6. Spread a little oil on the brinjal before roasting it. You can even skip this step.
  7. Alternatively, a few cloves of garlic can be encrusted in the brinjal before roasting them.

Search for Worms: Sometimes, even with your best efforts and intention, you can find a worm in the brinjal after roasting. If this happens, discard all the pulp and start over. To prevent this from happening, you can also make a notch on the brinjal before roasting it and check. But here, too, you can miss the worm if it is hidden in a place not visible to the naked eye. Another method is to chop the brinjals and roast them in the oven or cook pieces of the brinjal with water in a saucepan. Mash later and do the bharta.

Roast the brinjal in the oven: To roast the brinjal in the oven, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Rinse then slice or quarter the brinjal. You can even keep the whole brinjal if you want.

If you keep it whole, make a few slits on the brinjal with a knife. Line aluminum foil on a baking sheet. You can also spread a little oil on the pieces of brinjal. Place the chopped side of the brinjal down and touching the foil.

Place the tray in the center of your oven or near the top heating element. At 180 degrees Celsius, bake or roast the brinjal for 25 to 35 minutes or more until the pulp becomes mushy and smooth. Then cool the baingan and peel it. Crush and use in the recipe. Note that you will not get the smoky aroma when roasting the brinjal in an oven.

Cooking the brinjal in a pan: For cooking on a stovetop, add the chopped brinjals to a pan. Add water roughly to cover the brinjals. Cover and cook until the pieces of brinjal have softened. Then strain all the water and mash the cooked brinjal. You can also add a little salt when cooking the brinjal pieces. Also note that cooking the brinjal in water will not impart the aroma and flavor of the smoke.

How to make baingan bharta

Brinjal for roasting

1. Rinse the baingan (eggplant or aubergine) with water. Pat dry with a kitchen towel. Apply a little oil all over and keep it for roasting over an open flame. You can also broil the baingan or roast in the oven. But then note that you will not get the smoky flavor of baingan. Keep the eggplant turning after 2 to 3 minutes on the heat, so that it is evenly cooked. You can also incorporate garlic cloves in the baingan and then roast it.

2. Roast the eggplant until cooked through and tender. With a knife, check the doneness. The knife should slide easily through the eggplants without any resistance. Remove the baingan and immerse it in a bowl of water until it cools.

3. You can also do this dhungar technique to infuse a smoky charcoal flavor into the baingan. This is an optional step. use natural charcoal for this method. Heat a small piece of charcoal over the flame until it turns smoldering and red.

4. Make small notches on the roasted baingan with a knife. Place the red-hot charcoal on the same plate where the roasted eggplant is kept. Add a few drops of oil to the charcoal. The charcoal would start to smoke.

5. As soon as the smoke begins to emerge from the charcoal, cover the entire plate tightly with a large bowl. Let the charcoal smoke steep for 1 to 2 minutes. I’m just keeping a minute. Alternatively, you can also do this dhungar method after the baingan bharta is cooked.

6. Once cooled, peel the skin of the roasted and smoked eggplant.

7. Chop the cooked eggplant. The water you see is the juice of the roasted baingan.

Making baingan ka bharta

8. In a kadai or skillet, heat 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of oil. You can use peanut oil or sunflower oil. Then add 1 medium-sized, finely chopped onion (about ½ cup finely chopped onion). Also add 5-6 medium finely chopped garlic cloves (about 1 heaped teaspoon finely chopped garlic).

9. Sauté onions until translucent. Do not brown them.

10. Add 1 chopped green pepper and mix.

11. Add 2 medium to large, finely chopped tomatoes (about 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes). Mix very well.

12. Bhuno (sauté) the tomatoes until the oil begins to separate from the mixture. You need to keep stirring often when sautéing the tomatoes. The tomatoes should become soft, plump, and you should see oil coming out of the sides.

13. Now add ¼ tsp. red chili powder. Stir and mix well.

14. Add the chopped cooked baingan.

15. Stir and combine the chopped baingan very well with the onion-tomato masala mixture.

16. Season with salt to taste.

17. Stir and sauté the baingan bharta, stirring often, for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.

18. Baingan bharta is ready. Finally add 1 tablespoon of coriander leaves or garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve the baingan ka bharta with phulkas or chapatis. It goes well even with bread, toast or toast and plain rice or jeera rice.

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