Few things to keep in mind before starting:
- Punjabi Baingan bharta is a smoked aubergine or eggplant dish which is mashed well & has very few spices added to it. This authentic Punjabi recipe is one of the many regional variations of the bharta in India like Bihar’s Chokha, Maharashtrian Vangyache Bharit & so on.
- Always choose a big sized & plump eggplant / baingan having more pulp rather than the small & long variety. Also, choose the one having a smooth shiny skin without any holes or indentations and the one having fewer seeds inside. It should be light weight in comparison to its size as the light weight ones carry fewer seeds.
- The most important thing, to get the authentic taste of baingan bharta, is to roast the aubergine/ eggplant/ baingan on direct flame. Traditionally the eggplant is roasted on charcoal tandoor to get that smokey flavour in it. There is no other shortcut to this recipe. By no other means you are going to get that authentic Punjabi smokey flavoured bharta, neither by roasting it in oven nor in microwave nor boiling it in pressure cooker.
- To check for any worms inside, I generally make 4-6 large cross slits longitudinally in the eggplant before roasting it on direct flame.
- Wash the eggplant well, pat dry it, apply some oil all over, make some large slits, insert a few garlic cloves in a few slits in your eggplant and put it over low direct flame to roast it for 25 mins, turning it after every 2-3 mins for uniform roasting.
- To check whether the roasting has been done or not, just insert a knife, if it goes in without any resistance then it means the roasting is done.
- The garlic lends a very nice flavour to the recipe, so a lot of it is used here.
- Make sure to cook the bharta using mustard oil only as it gives a unique pungent flavour to the dish.
- The roasted eggplant has to be cooled down by putting it in a container having room temperature water for a few mins. After that its skin is peeled off and is mashed well before adding it to the onion-ginger-garlic-tomato based masala having very few spices.
- Using more spices to the recipe will subside the real flavour of the roasted eggplant, so try to use fewer spices.
- Even turmeric powder is not added to the recipe. In case you want to, then add a very small quantity of it.
- Use larger quantities of onions, ginger and garlic than tomatoes. Saute the onions till they turn pinkish, no need to saute them to a brown colour.
- Adding lots of fresh green coriander leaves is a must as well.
- You may even add peas to the baingan bharta to give it a different taste.
- Enjoy it with hot chapati / parantha or even with plain dal-rice.
- Eggpalnt/aubergine/baingan – 1 large, plump & lightweight
- Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Garlic – 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
- Onions – 1.5 (medium sized, finely chopped)
- Ginger – 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
- Tomatoes – 2 (medium sized, finely chopped)
- Coriander powder – 2 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Kashmiri Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
- Green chilli – 1 (finely chopped)
- Green coriander leaves – a few (finely chopped)
- Firstly, wash the eggplant, pat it dry, brush some oil over its surface, make 4-6 large cross slits in it(to make sure there are no worms) and put it on direct low flame to roast for 25 mins, turning it often after 2-3 mins for uniform roasting. You may even insert a few garlic cloves in a few small slits to infuse the flavour of roasted garlic in the eggplant.
- Let the roasted eggplant cool down to room temperature by dumping it in water.
- When the roasted eggplants has cooled down, peel off its skin, remove its head and mash it well using a fork or a potato masher. Keep it aside.
- Meanwhile, heat mustard oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and saute them. Then add chopped garlic and saute them too. After that add chopped onions & green chillies and saute them till the onions turn pinkish. Then add chopped ginger, saute it too and finally add chopped tomatoes along with coriander powder, salt and red chilli powder. Cook these well till the oil starts separating.
- Finally, add the mashed roasted eggplant, mix it well and let it cook covered on low flame for another 5 minutes to infuse all the flavours well. Keep stirring in between.
- Switch off the flame and garnish with lots of chopped green coriander leaves.
- Enjoy it with hot chapati or parantha or even plain dal-rice!
‘Cooking for our loved ones with love!’