Baingan bharta is a traditional North Indian curry made from roasted eggplant, tomatoes and onions. It is one of my favorites. You can tell when people have discovered the goodness of this curry because they will consistently order it at Indian restaurants (i.e. my friend Stephanie). Baingan bharta and dip are words that don't usually go together, but I'm so glad they do now! This dip is so good, I've been eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's basically baingan bharta but chilled with some tahini, lemon and yogurt - kind of like Indian baba ganoush!
I also took it to a party and it was gone fast. I came back to the empty bowl and sort of had a frown smile on because I wanted more but was happy that others had enjoyed it. I really like it with naan bread, but it tastes good with warm pita too. Also, this recipe is two in one so you can also use it as a guide if you want to make just the curry. A nice addition if you do make the curry is to add some fresh green peas.
1 medium sized eggplant (~1 pound), roasted
1 onion, pureed in blender (or chopped fine)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons oil
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon amchoor (dry mango) powder* - optional
1 small Indian green chili, chopped - optional
salt to taste
baingan bharta, pureed in blender
1 tablespoon tahini paste
juice of 1 small lemon
~3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and litte extra for garnishing
You can either roast eggplant on an open flame or in the oven. For roasting in the oven, preheat oven to 400°F. Poke holes into the eggplant with a fork and then wrap it in the foil. Place in the oven and roast for about 1 hour. It is done when you press the skin and it feels collapsed. When cooled, scoop the flesh out of the skin. Put aside.
Heat oil in a pan on medium/high heat. When the oil gets hot, add the asafoetida, turmeric and onions. Stir and cook until onions are translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until the onions start turning golden. Add tomatoes and cook until the oil separates from the mixture. Stir the mixture from time to time so it does not burn. Add garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili and optional green chili and amchoor powder. Next add in the eggplant and salt. Continue to stir the mixture and mash down the eggplant. Turn the heat to medium and cook for about another 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. The curry should be brought to a boil so that the spices are absorbed. Turn off the heat.
Ladle out baingan bharta into blender and puree with tahini and lemon juice. In a bowl, mix the puree with yogurt, cilantro and salt if needed. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours and then garnish with more cilantro.
*amchoor is made from ground dried mango and used for its sour taste.