My friend Meesh, who left all of us behind and moved to oh-poor-you Cape Town loves grilled eggplant, but her man doesn’t. So she doesn’t cook eggplant often. Interestingly, she also adores Indian cuisine and like H, she loves Butter Chicken. So when I saw this recipe, I know I gotta road test it for her. It’s also the perfect excuse to use the smoke liquid!
I made some flour tortillas to accompany it. Meesh, I ate two in 5 mins flat.
What I like about it is the cumin seeds and the tartness from the lime juice. What I don’t fancy so much is the julienned ginger (ginger sliced in matchstick sized), I would probably use ground ginger or slice the fresh ginger thickly and fish it out afterwards. But this is a nice change to my usual grilled eggplant recipe.
In Hindi, Baingan means eggplant and Bharta means anything mashed.
SMOKY AND SPICED EGGPLANT MASH (aka BAINGAN KA BHARTA)
(adapted from eCurry)
1 medium sized eggplant
a pinch of cumin seeds
1/2 medium sized onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red chilli, de-seed and sliced
4 heaping tbsp chopped tomatoes, add more to taste
Couple of julienned fresh ginger – or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 dashes turmeric powder, add more to taste
1/2 tsp ground paprika
2-3 drops of liquid smoke
juice of half lime
Fresh cilantro, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F).
- Cut the eggplant length-wise. Sprinkle some olive oil and salt on the fleshy part of the eggplant. Flesh side down and lay the eggplants onto the baking tray. Sprinkle with some olive oil.
- Bake for 20-25 mins, till the flesh is soft and then switch the oven mode to grill and cook for further 5-7 mins. Transfer to a plate and let it cool down.
- In a skillet, heat up 2-3 tbsp olive oil and add the cumin seeds. Once they start to sizzle, add in the onions and cook for 2-3 mins before adding the garlic and if using fresh ginger, add the ginger here. Cook until the onions turn translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, turmeric, salt, chili powder (and ground ginger if using) and cook for 5 – 7 minutes in medium heat until tomatoes are cooked and the oil separates.
- Add the eggplants and the smoke liquid. Stir and toss well.
- Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the mashed eggplants are well combined with the spice mix in the pan.
- Remove from heat. Add the fresh cilantro/coriander when ready to serve.
I would certainly make this again, and add a pinch or two of garam masala. I think that would make it really Indian