I wanted to have something down home rustic, smoky and truly tongue tantalizing. For a full bodied flavor, i picked a juicy jumbo eggplant/ aubergine or baingan as we call it back in India. This dish in particular is called "Baingan ka bharta". Ah my mouth is watering already, so hitting the recipe straight.
- 1 Big Eggplant
- 1 Medium onion , sliced in half moons
- 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
- Stick of cinnamon
- 1 Bay leaf
- 5 cloves of garlic, grated
- Half an inch of ginger, grated
- 1 Green chilly, diced into small pieces
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp Ground turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 3/4 tsp Chaat masala
- 1/4 tsp Garam masala
- Half a bunch of coriander/ cilantro leaves, chopped finely
- Canola oil, Salt to taste, Lemon juice
Pre heat your oven to 375F and place the intact eggplant rubbed with 1 tsp of oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt. Bake till 10-15 mins , though much depending on the actual size of the eggplant. For a smokier version, roast the oiled eggplant on direct flame, turning the sides time to time. To check if the aubergine is done , poke with a skewer/ knife half way down and see if the eggplant gives in.
For the gravy, take a deep pan and put 2 tsp of oil to heat. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, onions , garlic, ginger, green chillies. Stir and cook till the onions are browned. Add the diced tamatoes . Stir and cook till the gravy mixture comes together as one and the tomatoes totally get mushed to a chunky sauce consistency. Now add red chilli powder, turmeric, corainder powder, salt. Mix and sprinkle some water if the gravy sticks. Add Chaat masala . Now stir and cook the gravy/ masala for 10 -12 mins. Add Garam masala to the gravy.
Check the eggplant , remove from the oven when done and peel the outer skin away. Your baking tray will run wild with the juices from the plant, dont worry. Open and keep the peeled but intact eggplant back in the oven but this time on a broil for 3-4 minutes, Turn in between. Broiling adds to the smoky flavor as the juices get caramelized and the eggplant gets charred. Remove from broiling and chop into small pieces.
Add the oven baked , broiled eggplant to the gravy/ masala we prepared earlier. Mix and mush everything together. You can leave it a bit chunky if u like. Mix half of the finely chopped cilantro and 1-11/2 tsp of lemon juice now . Mix
Serve in a dish with a garnishing with rest of cilantro leaves.
Devour with tandoori roti / naan / chapatis :)