Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Baigan Bharta

To accompany my chana masala, I also made baigan bharta. Baigan bharta is an Indian eggplant dish that I really enjoyed when I went to India Oven. It was creamy, sweet and so spicy; however, it also looked very oily. My sister told me she makes a healthier, tomato-based version at home that she and her boyfriend really enjoy so I thought I would give it a try.

Baigan Bharta (Serves 2-3)
I followed the same recipe as the chana masala, with the additon of ginger (that I would omit next time) and turmeric. Since I still have some half-and-half left (that stuff does not go bad!), I did add some to make it creamier. I also added a bit of sugar to make it sweet. However, you can make it without the addition of cream and sugar. It's the eggplants' texture that gives the dish a creamy texture! Finally, I used Japanese eggplants because I prefer them but you can definitely use regular eggplants instead.

* 3 Japanese eggplants
* oil
* ¼ tsp cumin seeds
* 1 small onion, finely diced
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes (or more if you like)
* ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded & very finely diced
* ¼ tsp garam masala
* ¼ tsp turmeric
* ¼ tsp salt
* 1-3 tsp sugar (to taste)
* 1-2 tbsp cream (optional)
* ¼ cup frozen peas (optional)
* fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

Poke some holes into your eggplants with a fork to allow for the steam to go out in the oven.
Bake the eggplants in the oven at 400F for 30-35 minutes, or until the skin is burnt brown and the outside feels soft (I poke it with my fork!).
Let cool until you can handle it and peel off the skin.
Cut the big pieces with scissors and mash the peeled eggplant with a fork.
Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat.
Add cumin seeds and cook until they begin to pop - about 30 seconds.
Add onions and cook until they begin to brown.
Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.
Add tomatoes, chickpeas, jalapeño, garam masala, turmeric, salt and sugar.
Mix in the peas.
Stir in cilantro and serve with rice or naan bread.

The eggplant is not the most attractive vegetable but tastes SO good!

I was very happy with my baigan bharta even if it's not the most attractive dish!

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