Eggplant Bharta

I used to go to a restaurant called Indian Flavour. It was in a great location—right across the road from The World’s Biggest Bookstore and very close to HMV—which were, back then, two of my favourite places to browse. I went there for their buffet quite often because I craved the eggplant dish they served and I’ve been searching for a replacement for a while.

This dish is a very good substitute for that one. And as good as it is when first served, it’s even better the second day.

Here’s what happened.
Got two eggplants.

eggplants

Eggplants.

Baked the eggplants, then scooped out the pulp and chopped it up.

cooked eggplant

Cooked eggplant.

Got some onions, garlic and ginger.

onions, garlic and ginger

Onions, garlic and ginger.

Chopped the onions, garlic and ginger.

onions, garlic and ginger, chopped finely

Got a jalapeno pepper.

jalapeno pepper

Jalapeno pepper.

Minced it.

minced jalapeno pepper

Minced jalapeno pepper.

Measured out the spices.

ground coriander, turmeric, cumin and garam masala

Ground coriander, turmeric, cumin and garam masala.

Cooked the onions, garlic and ginger in some oil with the minced pepper and spices.

cooking the onions, garlic and ginger

Cooking the onions, garlic and ginger.

Added the eggplant and cooked the mixture for 20 minutes, after adding 1/2 cup water (there was a lot of eggplant and I wanted it to be well done).
Then the eggplant was served over basmati rice.

eggplant bharta served on basmati rice

Eggplant bharta served on basmati rice.

From Epicure: Recipes and More for the Curious Cook by Kate Bush, David Cobb, Charles Oberdorf and Jane Rodmell, 1994.

Eggplant Bharta

Indian spices added to vegetables gives them a new dimension.

3 lb. eggplants (2 medium)
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil or clarified butter
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 small green chili, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp. garam masala (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. finely chopped coriander for garnish
salt

Prick eggplant in several places and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes, or until well softened. Halve, scoop out all pulp and coarsely chop; discard skins. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger; fry until golden brown. Add chili, ground coriander, turmeric and cumin; cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in chopped eggplant; cook gently 10 minutes (add a little water if the mixture gets too dry). Stir in garam masala and lemon juice. Garnish with coriander.

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6 thoughts on “Eggplant Bharta

  1. Okay. Eggplant Bharta is something all Indians grow up with. It is cooked in slightly different ways in each region.

    to make the recipe given here, more authentic, here are some ideas:

    You may want to saute the onions and add in the spices and ginger and garlic later. You may also add some finely copped tomatoes at this point, with the spices.

    Those who cook on a Gas top, roast the eggplants whole on the open fire, directly on the fire. Those who do not have gas tops, cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, coat it with oil and grill it on medium high skin up, till skin is crispy but flesh still juicy. Discard charred skin and add finely chopped eggplant flesh to onion and spice mix and cook maybe ten minutes or so, depending on how much eggplant there is.

    Hope this helps

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