April 01, 2009

Baigan Ka Bartha/ Roasted and Mashed Eggplant...


I would love to know where baigan ka bhartha originated.. was it in India or in the Arab and Mediteranean lands? It has a very unappetizing name, meaning "mashed eggplant", but more colloquially the term "bartha" is used to connote "a mess" or a "mishmash".."or everything mixed in together".

It's the similarity in the eggplant preparation that made me curious. Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines have similar recipes of eggplant that is roasted and then mashed and seasoned. They have the baba ganoush, roasted eggplant salads, roasted eggplant dip, Greek Eggplant Dip, another dip from Romania and so on.
Our humble badly named bhartha is eaten with chapathi...is it used as a dip? Well, if you notice, we scoop up the bhartha with the chapathis similar to the pita with the dip.. So are they long lost cousins from a Persian invasion?
We like eggplants in any form...fried as a pakoda, baked in layers with other stuff, pureed, or sliced, marinated with red chili powder and turmeric and deep fried, and sometimes even as a side dish. In that case, this is my first go to recipe.

Season this any way you like, but this is the basic recipe that I follow. The eggplant is bland with just a smokey flavor so is open to any kind of interpretation. You can make it more tomotoey, more tangy with more spices if you want to. My Bombayite friend just roasts it and adds fresh raw chopped cilantro, green chilies and onions and gives it a seasoning of cumin in Ghee. That tastes good too. But then I like eggplant in any form.:)

You Will Need:
The Big 2 pound Sized Eggplant -1
Red Onion - 1 finely diced
Medium sized Tomato -1 finely diced
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp( use fresh paste or finely chopped)
Hot Green chilies - 4 chopped
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Red Chili Powder -1/4 tsp (adjust with the spice of the green chilies)
Coriander Powder -1/2 tsp
Garam Masala Powder -1/8 tsp
Jeera Seeds -1/2 tsp
Chopped Coriander/Cilantro leaves - 2-3 tbsp for garnish
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp approx.

Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to the broiler setting. Wash the eggplant, wipe it dry and place it on a foil lined baking tray right under the broiler in your oven. Bake it for 10-12 minutes, turning it over once so that the outer skin gets burnt all around evenly. The roasting can be done over a gas flame too, turning continuously..but it gets quite messy. Or you could even cook it by microwaving for 5 mts but then you don't get the smokey flavor.
2. Wrap the eggplant in the foil and allow it to cool. Then remove the outer skin. Mash the eggplant well and keep it aside.
3. Heat oil in a pan and toss in the cumin seeds. Add the onions,green chillies and saute well till the onions start tuning brown only at the edges. Add the ginger garlic paste. Mix and saute and then add the red chili powders, turmeric and coriander powder. Fry it well. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and the mashed eggplant. Cook on medium low heat for 5-10 minutes, taking care not to let it stick to the pan. Stir once in a while. The color slowly changes from the greyish brown to a deeper brown. If the onions were fried too much then the gravy would start turning a darker brown. Add the lemon juice in the end just to balance the flavors. If the tomatoes are sour, you may not need lemon juice at all. Add the garam masala and cilantro leaves and check for salt.

32 comments:

Trupti said...

Bartha looks delicious..one of my fav

Varsha Vipins said...

Lovely pic Shn..We love this veggie..my most fav is simple fry ,its a yummy snack..Bharta's are tasty as well..Once mashed,it combines with the masala's so well..n creates a wonderful flavor..:)

Varsha Vipins said...

oops..i meant Shaheen only..:)

Superchef said...

heyy mallugirl, this is one of my favorites..i once took it to work and a non-indian colleague of mine loved it inspite of all the spices which was too hot for her!! LOL

indosungod said...

Whatever the name I love them mashed, pureed, fried. Bring on the baigan.

Nags said...

each time i see this on someone's blog, i think i should make it, and then conveniently forget that a day later :)

A_and_N said...

This is a brilliant looking Bharta. A regular at home :)

Happy cook said...

It doesn't matter to me where the origin is as this is lookinf so yumm.

Ann said...

Shaheen,how is life moving ..its so rare that you peep here it seems !!
The click makes me try this..we all love bartha here !! yummy yum

My comfort food network said...

I like eggplant in any form too. Bartha is our all time favorite but I don't end up making it that often, because I hate to clean up the stove after the mess. But since BBQ season is round the corner, will try to make it more often. The photo of the bartha looks yummy.

Rachel said...

Love bartha....

Vani said...

That bhartha looks lovely, SHaheen! Same as you- love eggplant in any form! :)

Sakshi said...

Yeah its an all time fave of mine too...I puncture the eggplant with a few cloves of garlic while roasting it and it gives a heavenly aroma...mmmm..that's how my MIL taught me to do..
Great to see that you are back with a band...btw have u started with ur garden yet?? would love to get tips from u to how to make a small veggi garden.. :)

Anonymous said...

always thot the name 'b ka b', it has a nice ring to it.
ki

Prashant said...

The microwave idea is brilliant. I've always roasted the eggplant on the stove and it took some practice. Will definitely try the microwave the next time. The Assamese do this with just salt, chillies and mustard oil. Have you tried that?

My comfort food network said...

I love eggplant in any form too. I don't make Bharta that often, the reason being - cleaning up the mess after roasting the eggplant is quite painful for me. But since BBQ season is around the corner, hubby dear can take charge of cleaning the mess outside on the grill. Lol.

Lovely picture, I am drooling !

Vanamala said...

Looks delicious

Myra said...

Hi Shaheen
In my part of the world they call it "Caviar d'aubergine" i will definitely try this "Caviar d'Aubergine with a touch of India" haha not forgetting the Chapati !!!! Mmmmmmmmmmmm
i normally wrap the aubergine in foil like a jacket potato with some spices,
but will do it your way !
Hey i am sure you are aware we have the pleasure to have with us
Monsieur et Madame Obama. ou la lar
yours Myra
P.s. making biryani next week for the first time, fingers x

mathew said...

the first time i heard about this dish..i was like "bhaigan ka bharthavooo"..ithu enthu dishaa!!;-D

I often make brinjal curry..will try this out coz am getting bored of my usual recipe..:)

bee said...

i have started warming p to indian style baingan (i only used to eat baba ghanouj). this looks really good.

Asha said...

Yummm.. I like it really tomatoey :)

MR said...

Lovely dish
I usually roast it on the stove top
will try the oven next time

Malli said...

looks amazing thanks 4 the recipe

Netts Nook said...

Sounds tasty can't wait to try. DELICIOUS

Pooja said...

Wow this looks delicious. I have never tried making it though I have had it on numerous occasions. Seeing your post makes me want to try it out :)

Divya Vikram said...

Love baingan bharta. Nice post on brinjals.

Mallugirl said...

i was out and could not reply in detail but thanks for all ur comments.

Miri said...

Thats a favourite of mine - just the roasted eggplant is enough - the spices are like just the "extras" we would see in Jeetendra movies!

Kyle Smith said...

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Hannah said...

Just made your Baigan Ka Bartha, and it was my first real success with this dish--delicious! Can't wait to make it for my friends...

rem said...

thank you shaheen..the samosas were really good....

mona said...

Shaheen, I just love this recipe of yours. I have tried and tasted it many times for meals in my house. Thanks for sharing your version dear.
Cheers!