I hated eggplant when I was a kid but am starting to enjoy them as an adult. Not a fan of steamed eggplants, but roast or grill them and they taste so yummy!
Baingan Barta is basically barbecued eggplant and no Indian household have the same recipe. This recipe use eggplants roasted in a convection oven.
Baingan Barta(serves 5 to 6 people)
8 to 10 eggplants cut in half lengthwise, and make slits lengthwise
1 pc minced white onion
3 pcs chopped tomatoes
3 pcs minced garlic
1 tsp whole cumin (or 1/2 tsp ground cumin)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cooking oil (veg. oil, canola oil, coconut oil, corn oil, etc.)
3 tbsp natural peanut butter or tahini (sesame seed paste)
salt and pepper
1. Set the oven function to broil, or the top coil is turned on. Set at 180 deg. C for 10 to 20 minutes.
2. Put all eggplants in a cookie sheet skin side down. Brush with olive oil and put on top rack of the oven. Roast for 20 mins. You have the option to use the top or bottom coils or use both.
3. Ideally, the eggplants should have burnt marks. Or you can pierce them with a fork. Take them out if soft.
4. Place the eggplants in the counter skin side down and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Put them in a bowl and mix them with peanut butter or tahini. Set aside.
5. Get a frying pan to heat up the oil. Throw the cumin in and let it sputter over low heat. Skip this if you are using ground cumin.
6. Stir fry the garlic, and then the onions. Add tomatoes and all the ground spices when the onions become translucent (look clear).
7. Add in the eggplants. Season with salt and pepper and stir for a minute or two.
8. Transfer to bowl and serve. You can scrape the bits on the pan and use on top for garnish. But you are better off using parsley for garnish.
This dish works well as dips for flat breads, but it's also delicious with rice and with ordinary sandwich bread.
Olive Oil, tahini and peanut butter are not traditional Indian ingredients. I just added them because I like my eggplants cooked that way.
You don't have to use measuring spoons for the ground spices. I just take a pinch with my fingers and throw them into the mixture. If I want the taste to be more curry, I add more coriander powder, more ginger-y taste, I use turmeric, or more heat, then I put in chili powder.
Some Indian recipes require you to burn a piece of charcoal and cover it with the eggplants to impart a smoky flavor.