Eggplant a.k.a. Aubergine or Brinjal is a much neglected vegetable in my opinion. Despite of its enormous health benefits and versatility, it often gets ignored in the vegetable curries. Even in the restaurants, we seldom find anything other than the mighty Baingan bharta on the menu.
Which makes me sad sometimes, seeing us not exploring the full potential and taste of the vegetable which truly is wonderful in taste and nutrition.
Eggplant is a very versatile vegetable and easily blends with whatever dish you put it in. It has that bland, earthy sort of taste which serves as its biggest advantage in the Vegetable Kingdom. I cook Baingan in a lot of ways and will update the blog soon with those amazing recipes.Jump to Recipe
What is Baingan bharta: It is simply roasted and mashed eggplant cooked with fragrant spices. In a typical Indian Punjabi kitchen, large, deep violet colored, pulpy brinjals are charred on an open flame, mashed and then mixed along with a spicy tempering made of onions, tomatoes and common north Indian spices.
- Here, in my English kitchen, I usually roast the aubergines in an oven to save on time and hassle. But that mouthwatering smoky flavour that comes from charring the baingan is of no comparison . Roasting it over coals adds another level of brilliance to it.
- Some people chop and boil Eggplants to verify the existence of insects inside if any, and also again, to make it easier to cook. Do what you can with your kitchen settings and time in hands.
- I love the generous use of garlic (lehsun) in bharta. Especially the flavour of roasted garlic like in this roasted garlic raita I posted. So while I roast the brinjals (in oven or flame), I stuff some peeled garlic pods into the flesh using a knife. Garlic pods are roasted nicely by the time brinjalks are done. But do take care if you try this since the garlic pods tend to get burnt very quickly. Insert them deep inside the flesh or take them halfway through if not sure to check
- I wouldn’t suggest adding potatoes to this dish. You can take more ideas on Potatoes side dishes here
- I almost always make bharta with matar (green peas) since they bring in a slightly sweet taste and creamy texture to the mash. And also add some protein to the overall dish. You may skip it if you like.
For breakfast- Serve with crispy Laccha parathas.
Lunch or Dinner- You could pair it with spiced up Masala roti and Restaurant style Tadka Dal OR just with a simple rice dish like Coconut rice for a wholesome meal
If you like to cook Authentic Punjabi recipes, you might like to try other recipes that I have posted-
Punjabi baingan bharta | Aubergine (eggplant) mash with peas
- 2-3 medium sized brinjals aubergine/eggplant
- 1 cup green peas thawed if frozen
- 2 medium onions chopped small
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped small
- piece A small of ginger minced
- 2-3 green chilies minced or chopped fine
- 4-5 medium sized garlic pods
- 2 tbsp cooking oil I used mustard oil for this
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp dhaniya powder coriander powder
- ½ tsp Haldi turmeric powder
- ½ tsp Amchur Powder Dry mango powder
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp anardana pomegranate seeds coarse powder-optional
- ½ tsp garam masala
- leaves A handful of fresh cilantro rinsed and chopped, coriander
Rinse the baingan (brinjal/ aubergine/ eggplant) thoroughly and pat dry it with a napkin or kitchen towel. Prick it at 5-6 places with knife so we could insert garlic pods into them (if using).
Roast the baingan on open flames for about 15-18 minutes (* See Notes if you are roasting them in oven), turning frequently, every 2-3 minutes to ensure even cooking from all sides. Insert the garlic pods half way through so they also get roasted for about 7-8 minutes at least.
Once the aubergines are cooked properly (insert a knife inside to check that), keep them aside to let cool off a bit.
Once cold enough to touch, take the garlic pods out if you have used them. Mince them slightly and keep aside.
Then immerse the cooked eggplants into a mixing bowl full of cold water and gently peel off the skin. You could also do the peeling under cold running water so your hands dont get sticky.
Once skinned completely, mash it slightly using a potato masher or back of a spoon. I just use my hands to do so. Keep aside.
In a pan or wok, heat the oil. Throw in bay leaf and cumin seeds, let them sizzle. Then add chopped ginger and green chilies. Fry for a few seconds, then add the chopped onions and fry for a few minutes till they start turning pink.
Now add chopped tomatoes and roasted garlic bits along with all the spices except garam masala. Cook for a few minutes with lid on till tomatoes get all mushy and start leaving the oil off the pan.
Add in mashed aubergine along with salt as per taste. Mix everything well and cook covered for 7-8 minutes at low flame. Keep stirring in between. At the end, if there is some water in the pan, turn the flame to medium and let it evaporates till the sabzi is nicely roasted with no water running.
Finally, add garam masala and Amchur powder, mix well and switch off. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve with hot crispy paratha, roti or rice.
Pick the brinjal without seeds, the lighter one with a smooth shiny skin. And not the one with lines or patterns on the skin for bharta.
Roast for 30-45 min in Oven at 180 degrees. Turn every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.
If boiling- chop brinjals roughly, then throw in the pressure cooker with 2-3 tbsp of water and some salt for 2 whistles. Peel the skin off after its cooled off, and use as per instructions.
If you are looking for more side dishes without potatoes-
Gajar matar sabzi- Easy peasy side with minimal spices, great for everyday meals
Ghee lauki- Dudhi (bottle guard) cooked with ghee and cumin seeds
Lehsuni gobhi- Cauliflower florets in a mild garlic-y tempering
Bhindi pyaz masala– Okra (lady finger) with onion and mild spices
Lauki soya- Dudhi cooked with protein packed soya nuggets