Healthy Roasted Eggplant Masala (Baingan ka Bharta)

I have been dabbling over this blog post for a while. This recipe is nothing new . It is a very typical and favourite dish in Indian cuisine – roasted eggplant, sharp onions and tangy tomatoes smeared in a blend of spices and their goodness. My grandma used to make us clean the eggplants since back in the day they invariably had some kind of crawling creatures coming out of them. She used to make a rich and heavy blend of “Bharta” with lots of ghee in her cooking. Then would even garnish the final dish with some more ghee :)

It is our take on this classic dish, however, by reducing the chili and fat component that results in a healthier and tastier option. (Is it even appropriate to use the word “component” here? As if we were talking about computer equipments :) Hah!!) There is very little olive oil used in the roasting and a little bit of ghee used for the tempering. Besides it is vegetarian and to make it vegan just substitute the ghee with olive oil , so no restrictions on your diet :)

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Ingredients:

2 Eggplants or brinjals (The round and fat variety)

4 medium onions roughly chopped

2 large tomatoes chopped

A fistful of peas (frozen or fresh)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon spice Mix*

1/2 teaspoon paprika powder (Or more if you prefer)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

A knob of  grate ginger  – size of your thumb

Salt as per taste

Olive oil to roast the eggplant

1 spoon ghee or clarified butter for tempering

Method of Preparation:

In a baking tray place the eggplants and smear olive oil over them . Make a few slits around them with a sharp knife – This will help in the roasting and let the the heat enter inside the eggplants. In a pre-heated oven roast the eggplants for close to 40 min at 200 degree centigrade. They should come out wilted and skin charred on the outside that it just peels off quickly. Looking something like this:

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While the egg plants are roasting,  in a deep non-stick heat in a spoon of ghee. (Use olive oil instead of ghee here for a Vegan option)Then add in the cumin seeds, spice mix, grated ginger and chopped onions in that order. Add in the turmeric powder and salt and keep stirring until the onions turn translucent. Then add in the chopped tomatoes and paprika powder. Then add in the frozen or fresh peas. Shut the lid and let cook until the onions and tomatoes are well cooked. Once the eggplants are roasted, let them cool for a while so you can start peeling their skin off. Use a masher or sharp knife and make large chunks of the eggplant.

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Put these large chunks into the onion-tomatoes spice mixture. Mix well and keep pressing with a spatula to ensure all the flavors are nicely coated. Cook for a few min. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve

The end result was a blend of tangy tomato, roasted eggplant, nutty cumin, sharp onions and fragrant coriander bursting with flavor in the mouth. Enjoy with fresh yogurt and flat breads (rotis, parathas, naans or tortillas) for lunch or dinner.

*I use the same blend I have used previously here . Make you own by using equal parts  fennel seeds, poppy seeds, Fenugreek seeds and onion seeds.

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