Indian food incorporates very innovative cooking methods, be it the use of the tandoor or the concept of cooking vegetables directly over the flame thus endowing the vegetable with a great smoky flavor. This particular dish Baingan Bharta has many fans all over the world. It goes wonderfully with any Indian flat bread or simply plain steamed rice.
Baingan or Brinjals are cooked directly over the flame till the skin is charred and can be peeled off combined with a fine blend of spices and some ghee makes up this brilliant creation. While selecting the brinjals for this recipe, be sure to choose one's that are large and with a shiny smooth surface as these are likely to have lower number of seeds. All in all this scrumptious dish is worth all the time and mess it may create!!
1 large (750gms) Brinjal (baingan / eggplant)
1/2 tsp for greasing
1 tbsp Ghee or oil(neutral)
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 onion(medium sized), chopped
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp grated garlic
1 tsp finely chopped green chilli + 1/2 tsp chilli powder(if you prefer more hot)
2 tomatoes(medium sized), chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
coriander leaves for garnish
Grease the brinjal with oil and roast it over an open low flame till it is cooked. Keep turning the brinjal frequently so that all the sides are equally roasted(skin gets charred) and the inner flesh looks soft. OR you can use an oven which is a much easier option, as you wont have any mess around and you wont have to keep an eye on the brinjal. Just preheat the oven to 200 deg C and line a baking sheet or any other pan with aluminium foil and keep the greased brinjals as it is and bake for 1 hour. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely. For this you'll need to plan ahead and start off.
Once the brinjals have cooled, peel the skin off and discard the skin. And chop the inner flesh or just roughly mash it. It need not have to be completely mashed. Keep aside.
Heat the ghee/oil in a pan and add asafoetida (hing) and cumin seeds.
When the seeds crackle add the onions and saute till they turn golden brown or translucent.
Add ginger, garlic and green chillies and saute for a few more seconds.
Add the tomatoes, peas, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and cook covered till the tomatoes turn soft.
Add the mashed brinjal, garam masala powder and salt, mix well and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.