Indian eggplant is a pungently spiced vegetarian dish that originates in Northern India. This hearty meal is made with roasted and peeled eggplant much like the popular Mediterranean dish baba ganoush. Indian eggplant appears on the menu at most Indian restaurants as baigan bhurta or baigan bharta. The robust blend of vegetables, herbs and spices leaves the eater satisfied without the addition of any meat. Take eggplant to a new level of flavor by making a traditional Indian eggplant entree.
Things You'll Need
- 2 large eggplants or 4 baby eggplants
- Cutting board
- Baking sheet
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil or ghee
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp. minced ginger
- 1 tsp. chili paste
- 1 tbsp. water
- Skillet or wok
- 3 tbsp, vegetable oil or ghee
- 2 tbsp, cumin seeds
- Wood spoon
- 2 medium chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- Pinch salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tsp, garam masala (Indian spice blend)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and place them on a baking sheet with the flat side facing down. Rub the purple skin with a thin layer of vegetable oil or ghee and slide the baking sheet into a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes or until the skins are wrinkled. Allow the eggplants halves to cool for 10 minutes before peeling away the wrinkled skins and chopping the flesh into 1-inch chunks.
Add the onion, garlic, ginger, chili paste and water to a blender and puree until smooth.
Heat the skillet or wok over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes before adding the vegetable oil or ghee.
Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle the cumin seeds into the oils once it has heated and begun to sizzle.
Pour the puree mixture from the blender into the pan when the cumin seeds become fragrant and reach a dark brown color.
Stir the chopped tomato into the puree mixture in the skillet or wok after it has been cooking for about five minutes.
Mix in the chunks of eggplant, the water and a pinch of salt after the tomatoes have been cooking for seven minutes or all the moisture has evaporated. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow the dish to cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
Dust the cooked Indian eggplant dish with a few grinds of black pepper, the garam masala and some freshly chopped cilantro before serving.
Tips & Warnings
- Serve this vegetarian eggplant dish with a traditional Indian bread like naan or roti.
- Photo Credit Butter image by Cornelia Pithart from Fotolia.com
Types of Eggplant
The range of eggplant types includes the common American eggplant, the mild-flavored Asian type and several inedible ornamental varieties.