Did you know that October 1st was World Vegetarian day? And this whole month of October is Vegetarian Awareness Month.
Veggies are our best friends and if they are not then they should be.. uh .. hello, Fiber. I can write two or three pages about all the health benefits they have. If you include the proper amount of vegetables in your diet it is the best gift you can give to your body. They help you lower the risk of developing a bunch of scary, long-lasting and frankly speaking terrible diseases like Heart disease, Colo-rectal, ovarian, and breast cancers, Diabetes, Obesity and Hypertension (high blood pressure).
Today’s blog post isn’t technically about a vegetable but a berry. Let’s pretend we don’t know this and call my cute little eggplants vegetables for today, umm just today.. shhhhh. Eggplant (baingan) because it’s the best thing in the world. They are also known as Aubergines in U.K. funny names.. The eggplant is believed to have originated in India, where it is considered as the King of Vegetables. When made into an eggplant (baingan) bharta/bhujia (usually anything that’s mashed or made into a soft pulp is known as a bharta) is even better. I think it’s popular because of its exquisite smoky flavor which adds depth to this dish. It is also very quick and easy to make, always a plus.
Let’s gather our few basic ingredients.
- 1 kg Eggplant/aubergines/baingan
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 colves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 inch of ginger, chopped
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- 1.2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp chaat masala
- 3 tbsp yogurt
- 1 pinch turmeric
- 1/4 tsp salt, or as per your taste
- 1/4 cup oil
- Turn the stove on high and roast the eggplant on an open fire. Keep turning as you see necessary until all sides change color and becomes tender. The skin will start to come off and the eggplant will collapse. This step might take 10-20 minutes.
- Take off the heat and let it cool completely.
- Wet your hands with water and remove the skin. Make sure that all of the roasted skin comes off event the smallest pieces. Just keep wetting your hands and wiping the eggplant, by doing this all the skin will stick to your hands and it will remove all bits and pieces.
- Wipe it with a paper towel/napkin. Roughly chop in slightly bigger chunks. keep aside.
- Turn the stove on medium heat.
- In a pan heat oil and add the cumin seeds. When they start to splutter add the garlic and ginger. Fry for about a minutes. Make sure they are not over-brown.
- Add a tablespoon of water and mix in salt, turmeric, red chilli pepper flakes and the chopped green chilli. Cook for another minute.
- Add tomatoes, turn the heat on high. Cook until the oil starts to separate from the tomatoes, almost 5 minutes. Do not cover the pan.
- Add the chopped eggplant, mix it well and cover for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to medium. You can keep checking to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- After 5 minutes with the slotted spoon mash the chunks of eggplant a little bit. This will mix together the tomatoes and the eggplant to make a more Bharta-like (mashed) consistency. Don’t mash too much it tastes best a little chunky.
- Mix in the yogurt. Cook until the oil starts separating on the sides.
- Turn the heat off. Sprinkle ground cumin powder. Mix and plate.
- Sprinkle some chaat masala and keep warm.
Preparing the bhagaar:
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 green chilli chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 3 whole red chilies
- In a small pan add oil, cumin seeds, whole red chilies, green chilli and garlic.
- Fry until golden brown and fragrant and immediately add to eggplant/baingan.
- The most important thing in this recipe is to infuse the smoky flavor. There is only two ways to do that. One is over direct fire and the other is on a charcoal grill. You can bake or roast the eggplant but it will not give you the flavor that is synonymous with the original recipe.
I don’t really think we should wait long to have this. Dive right in eat with a roti or naan. If your kids don’t like it then you can have all of it for yourself (evil laugh). Don’t forget to share your favorite vegetarian recipes this month. I’d love to hear about your preferences :).
Aa jao bachon “baingan ka bharta” tayyar hai !!!!