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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Baingan Bharta – Roasted Eggplant/Aubergine salad served with yoghurt

Eggplant or Aubergine or Brinjal as it is known in India is my favourite vegetable. Has always been. I like it in any form, shape, colour. Be it the roasted, boiled, stuffed or just plain sautéed. Growing up, eggplants were always on the menu at my home, once a week at least. Having said that, the irony now is that my husband H hates eggplant. To the extent that he has never tasted them in his life! When I first found out, I couldn't believe it. What's not to like?

But I don't push him to trying it. I am hoping that one day he would taste it and see what he has been missing so far. My little boy is happy to follow his daddy's tastes. Lil miss P is too young to develop such tastes. I will just have to wait and see how that turns out. That leaves me alone in favour of this vegetable and I just don't feel like cooking it for just 1 person. But when I see fresh, bright coloured eggplants stacked in the vegetable aisles, I give in at times and end up making this Baingan Bharta( Baingan in hindi means Eggplant and Bharta means minced) at times. Unlike sabzi or curry or vaangi bhaath(mixed rice with eggplant and spices), this bharta can be prepared with just 1 eggplant if you like and in no time.
This dish tastes best when roasted on flame burner. But as I have an electric burner, I roast it in the oven and though nothing can beat the char grilled or smoky flavour achieved using the flame, I am quite happy with the oven roasting method too.
This is how my mom makes it..served with yoghurt. This was baingan bharta for me while growing up. It was only after I moved out of my parents home that I learnt of the punjabi or north indian way of making baingan bharta which involves cooking the roasted eggplant with spices. But that one is for another day.
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Baingan Bharta – Roasted Eggplant/Aubergine/Brinjal salad served with Yoghurt

Yeild - Serves 2

1 medium eggplant
1 small red onion, chopped fine
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped fine or half tsp paprika or red chilli powder
1 tsp vegetable oil
salt as per taste
2-3 tbsp plain thick yoghurt
a few coriander leaves for garnish

Method -

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees cel.
2. Smear the eggplant with oil and prick it with a fork in a few places. (Please do not skip this step. Else the pressure or steam builds up in the eggplant while in the oven and might burst when you try to cut it after roasting. Trust me.)
3. Roast the eggplant in the oven for 20-25 mins until you see the skin is completely wilted and can easily be peeled off.
4. Take out the roasted eggplant and allow it to cool. Peel off the skin separating it from the flesh. Slightly mash it with a spoon or knife. Add chopped  onion, chilli and salt and mix well.
5. Garnish with coriander leaves and Serve with yoghurt. Goes well with rotis/chapatis.

Notes -

The time required to roast the eggplant may vary with the oven. So keep an eye after 15 mins.

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