Baigan Bharta

An easy-to-prepare spiced eggplant dish that makes an excellent accompaniment to an Indian meal.

Vegan. Hands-on time: 15 mins. Total time: 55 mins.

Contributed by Moira Adams (December 2005).

Baigan Bharta

Photo © Veg World

I've often enjoyed this spicy side-dish at my local Indian restaurant, so I was delighted to find how easy it is to make the recipe at home (just remember to allow plenty of time for the eggplant to cool after baking).

Most recipes for baigan bharta call for the addition of yogurt, but this can be safely omitted, as I have done for this vegan version. As the dish is low on protein, it should ideally be served alongside a lentil or bean dish, as well as with rice. The quantities given here will make an excellent side dish for three to four people.



Oven: Pre-heat to 400F (200C)

Prick the eggplant (aubergine) in several places with a fork. Place it in a foil-lined baking tin, and bake it in the oven for about 40 minutes or until it's completely tender. Remove from the oven and leave it cool. (You may turn off the oven at this point.)

Heat the oil in a pan or skillet. Add the onion and chilli. Cook for about five minutes, or until the onion has started to brown. Add the spices, soy sauce and peas, and cook for a few more minutes.

While the onion and peas are cooking, cut the eggplant in half. Scoop out all the flesh, discarding the skin. Purée the eggplant flesh in a food processor or blender (or simply mash it with a fork), then stir it into the onion mixture.

Continue to cook for another ten minutes or so, stirring often to prevent sticking. If the mixture starts to dry out, just add a little water. Add the cilantro leaves just before serving.

Note on quantities and temperatures:
Quantities are given in American (cups), imperial (oz, fl oz) and metric (g, ml) units. Do not mix the units - use one or other system throughout the recipe.
See also How much does a cup weigh?
oz = ounces, fl oz = fluid ounces, g = grams, ml = milliliters, tsp = teaspoons, tbsp = tablespoons.
Oven temperatures are given in degrees F (Fahrenheit) and C (Celsius).
For fan-assisted ovens, reduce the temperature by 20F or 10C.