Yet another favorite Punjabi recipe at home! A simple ‘Punjabi Baingan Bharta’ recipe without the use of many masalas and spices! We simply love this recipe in its simplicity and taste. One thing, I have observed is that the smoky aroma and flavor of the baingan comes out very distinctly in this simple recipe. In Punjab, the baingan used to be roasted in the tandoor. Thus, as a result the baingan would get infused with the distinct aromatic charcoal flavor. This is not possible nowadays as we do not have charcoal based tandoors or charcoal burners in our kitchens. So I roast the baingan directly on gas oven. You can always roast it in oven too, but won’t get that smoky flavour.
With a light coat of oil all over the baingan with its stem intact (which you can use to rotate the baingan from side to side), place on the flame, and keep rotating it until it is charred and black on all sides. When a knife or skewer inserted in, goes through smoothly, it is ready. Chef Sanjeev Kapoor once gave an excellent tip on his cookery show on television that making tiny slits in the raw baingan, inserting a clove of garlic into each slit and then roasting this on the flame. The roasted garlic when mashed along with the eggplant gives a big boost of flavour to the dish. I sometime follow this method too. But as of now the easy way of making Punjabi Baingan Bharta…
- Wash an eggplant thoroughly. Pat dry completely and cut it lengthwise till the half with a knife, keep its stem.
- Rub with salt and a teaspoon of mustard oil.
- To Smoke or roast the eggplant hold the eggplant over a low open gas flame (As shown in the picture). Rotate the eggplant 90 degrees every few minutes or so. The skin will gradually darken, the eggplant will start to sag, and you will notice a pleasant smoky smell. After about 15-20 minutes, when the skin is completely charred, remove the eggplant from the flame. This step can be done by broiling or roasting the eggplant in the oven, but you will not get the same smoky flavour which makes this dish so good.
- Once the eggplant has cooled remove the charred skin and chop the cooked eggplant finely or you can even mash it. (As shown in the picture)
- In a kadai or pan, heat oil. Then add finely chopped onions and garlic. Sauté the onions till translucent. Don’t brown them.
- Add chopped green chilies, chopped ginger and sauté for a minute.
- Add in the chopped tomatoes and mix it well.
- Fry the tomatoes till the oil starts separating from the mixture.
- Add the chopped/mashed cooked eggplant.
- Stir and mix the chopped eggplant very well with the onion-tomato masala mixture.
- Season with salt. Stir and sauté for some more 4 to 5 minutes more.
- Finally stir in the coriander leaves with the Baingan Bharta or garnish it with them. Serve Baingan Bharta with phulkas, rotis or chapatis. It goes well even with bread, toasted or grilled bread and plain rice or jeera rice.
~ While buying the baingan for bhartha, go for the ones which are light. A heavy brinjal indicates that there are ripe seeds in it and this may spoil the taste of the bhartha.