Baingan Bharta – Spicy Roasted Indian Eggplant
With Oxford’s biggest boat racing on the river this weekend, it’s like we’ve all stepped into a romantic British novel. Silver skies, a dark blue river, and future members of Parliament sipping Pimms from the boathouses and screaming for their colleges.
But even with summer just days away, the atmosphere is stormy and dramatic. Even the excitement of the races can’t make it warm and sunny.
When I want to feel sunny or warm, I cook something like this dish, with spicy peppers and brightly colored tomatoes and turmeric.
3 green finger chilies (or 2 if they are big)
1-2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 garlic clove
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. red chili powder
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp. salt
Step 1. Begin by roasting your eggplant at about 375 for 45 minutes until the skin is scorched and wrinkled.
Step 2. Chop the onions, tomatoes, finger chilies, garlic, and ginger in preparation
Step 3. Heat 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and when hot, put in the cumin seeds. Allow to ‘pop’
(Note, heat should be about medium high)
Step 4. Add chopped onions to the cumin seeds, cook for about 2 minutes
(Note, I added an additional two tsp. of coconut oil at this point. You could add it at the beginning as well, but I prefer to keep some of my oil less cooked. You could also probably go without the extra oil if you want a healthier dish)
Step 5. Add the chopped garlic, ginger and finger chilies, stir and allow to cook about a minute
Step 6. Add the turmeric, red chili powder, and diced tomatoes. Stir and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down to a sauce-like consistency and the oil begins to separate from the mixture
Step 7. Cut your cooked eggplant in half and scrap the inside pulp into a food processor or blender. It should be soft and easy to remove from the skin. Blend the eggplant with the ½ tsp. of salt
Step 8. Add the eggplant pulp and the ½ tsp. of garam masala to the pan, stir in, and let cook for an additional 2 minutes so mixture comes together
*Taste and potentially add between a ½ tsp and a full tsp. more salt to taste
Warmth in a bowl! To contrast with gray cloudy days.