Friday, January 28, 2011
Baingan Bhartha aka The Angry Eggplant
Not everyone likes eggplant. And yet there are people who will relish Baingan Bhartha and ordinarily never eat anything with eggplant in it. The credit according to me goes to the onions and garlic and the spices which cleverly hide the pitfalls of the eggplant.
Funnily enough a website actually states this recipe under “Angry Eggplant” obviously a resultant translation of “Bhartha” meaning mashed (A north Indian slang used to threaten someone when you are angry with that person) and “Baingan” meaning eggplant. It is worth a mention here that 'The Anger of Aubergines' a collection of short stories by Bulbul Sharma on Indian cuisines and culinary traditions may have been an inspiration! The book is definitely on my ‘next to read’ list.
Eggplant – two large
Oil – 2 tsp
Diced Red onion – half a cup
Diced green onion – half a cup
Diced tomato – half a cup
Minced garlic – 1 tsp
Dried red chili – 2 large
Cumin – 1 tsp
Red chili powder – half tsp
Turmeric powder – half tsp
Cilantro powder – half tsp
Dry mango powder – quarter of a tsp
Black Peppercorns – 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick – 1 small
Yogurt – half a cup (optional)
Water – half a cup
Combine dried red chili, cumin, turmeric – cilantro- dry mango and red chili powders, peppercorns and cinnamon stick in a grinder. Make a fine powder of these spices to use later.
Wash and wipe the eggplants clean. Poke them evenly with a fork. Rub them with oil all over. Cook them on the stove changing sides till the eggplants are cooked inside out. An indication would be the smell of roasting and the skin starting to peel off on its own. Alternatively, broil them in the oven for about an hour or so flipping sides half way through. Let the eggplant cool once done. Peel off the skin and dice them into small pieces.
In a deep pan, heat oil and sauté red onion for two minutes. Add green onions and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add tomato and the spice powder. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add the diced eggplant, salt and water. Mash everything together roughly. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. The water will be fully absorbed by then, if not cook on high flame uncovered while constantly stirring for another 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and add the yogurt (optional). Give the yogurt at least half an hour to blend in before serving.
Sorry, no pictures of this one. In what can be termed as a rare occurrence I was tempted to eat first and take pictures thereafter. Bad idea! Till then, food and more food…
*Peel the skin off the eggplant, dice it and cook it in pressure cooker if the options of a broiler
or cooking on stove top are not available..
*You can use any Garam Masala in place of the fresh spice mixture.
*More yogurts can be used in place of tomatoes.