Smoked Aubergine (Eggplant/ Baingan) Bharta (V)
This super-quick video shows you all angles of what my smoked aubergine bharta curry recipe should look like when cooked.
Definitely one of the more interesting ways to cook an aubergine! Cooked on an open flame on top of the stove, this aubergine bharta has a unique smokey taste. Packed with nutrients, aubergines are a great source of fibre, B vitamins and potassium - excellent for heart health, making this vegetarian (and vegan) curry a great meal for the family.
I’ve cooked aubergine bharta for my little one in the past as a baby-led weaning finger food which she absolutely loved - the recipe is in my Easy Indian Super Meals weaning and family cookbook, so I wouldn’t recommend this recipe for small babies. But now she’s older - year 3 (already!), I want to keep introducing new flavours to the family. So this smokey flavour I guess you could say was another new taste I offered my little one, or should I say older one!
This curry makes a lovely accompaniment to my Lamb, Saag and Aloo Curry. If you want to keep it vegetarian, serve alongside my Tandoori Potato Curry, Matter Paneer or Humble Dhal - Vegetarian and Vegan.
Serves a family of 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a main meal
Total prep and cooking time: 25 mins
1 large aubergine/ eggplant
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ajwain seeds - lightly crushed
1 onion - finely chopped
2 green chillies - sliced down the middle
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tomatoes - chopped
1½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground turmeric
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
Handful of fresh coriander for garnish
Pop the aubergine on top of the stove, sitting directly on the stove top burner. Switch on the cooker to medium/ high heat - the flames will go directly onto the aubergine and begin to char the skin. Turn the aubergine at regular intervals using tongs until the skin begins to blacken and look a little crispy. Once charred all over, remove from the stove and allow to cool.
Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a saucepan and add the ajwain seeds, onion and whole green chillies. Saute until the onion is golden then add the garlic and ginger. Cook off the garlic and ginger for a few minutes and add the tomato, ground coriander, turmeric, salt and chilli powder. Turn to low heat and continue to saute until the tomato is mushed and a masala has formed. Switch off when cooked.
Peel the aubergine once cooled - the skin should come off easily. If there are any smoked bits stuck to the flesh, pick it off with a knife or pop the aubergine under the tap (that’s what I do - doesn’t affect the flavour)! Chop up the juicy the flesh and add it to the masala sauce in the saucepan, add the lemon juice and stir to combine well. Cook together for an extra 2-3 minutes.
Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh coriander and serve with either roti, pitta bread or naan, and a dollop of plain yogurt. Alternatively serve alongside one of my above mentioned curries.