PUNJABI BAINGAN BHARTA – पंजाबी बैंगन भरता (Smoky Mashed Aubergine)

While I have shared quite a number of traditional and classic Punjabi recipes in the past, I have yet to share the baingan bharta which is roasted aubergine / eggplant mashed and cooked with sautéed onions, garlic ginger and tomatoes along with spices. In my marital Bihari home, the roasted baingan is mashed and everything that is added to it is raw – the onions, ginger and the garlic with a drizzle of raw mustard oil. It is an acquired taste but if you love the pungent mustard, you will certainly love the Bihari version too, which is called chokha and it is mostly served with litti or rice and dal.

For most Punjabis, baingan bharta receives as much love as the rajma or the sarson saag; okay may be not as much as the rajma but a lot nevertheless. My mother used to add green peas to the bharta and it was always kept wee bit on the hotter side and it was mostly served with kachumber and raita or lassi for a cooling effect along with roti. It honestly requires no dal to go along with it coz it is packed with spicy flavours which pair well with a paratha or a simple roti. For me, this seemingly simple meal was one of the best summer meal to have besides karela aloo.

Unlike the smaller baingan I had used for the baingan aloo sabzi, this one requires larger dark coloured variety since we need lots of aubergine flesh for the recipe.

2 firm large Baingan / Aubergine / Globe Eggplant

¼ C shelled Green Peas (fresh or frozen)

2 tbsp cooking Oil (I used smoked mustard oil)

¼ tsp Cumin Seeds

120 gm Onion, finely chopped

½ tbsp. finely chopped Ginger

1 tsp finely chopped Green Chillies (adjust amount to heat)

100 gm ripe Tomato, finely chopped

½ tsp Salt (or to taste)

½ tsp Red Chilli Powder (adjust to taste)

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Coriander Powder

¼ tsp Garam Masala

1 tbsp finely chopped, Fresh Coriander

Wash and pat dry the baingan and then roast them over fire (I keep the flame at low so that they get cooked till the very inside). Once roasted and charred all over, remove them from flame and keep aside in a bowl or a plate to cool down before we peel the roasted skin. Remove the skin and roughly chop the roasted baingan. Set it aside while we prepare the masala.

Heat the oil in a wok / kadahi or a frying pan. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to crackle. Add the onion and ginger and fry till the onions turn translucent. Add the green chillies and fry for ten to fifteen seconds.

Add tomatoes and the spices and fry the masala on medium heat, stirring frequently, till the tomatoes soften and the masala begins to release oil.

Add the roasted baingan and cook on high heat for a minute, mashign and stirring them continuously. Add the peas and reduce the heat and keep cooking the contents till the peas are done and the is nicely well roasted, approximately seven to ten minutes (on low heat). Sprinkle with the coriander and serve hot with chapatti, raita or lassi along with kachumber. Enjoy!

Serves – 3 to 4

Note – The two baingan that I used were half a kilo in total weight.

Note – My mother never used garlic for this recipe. Feel free to add garlic if you wish to.

Note – She also used to pick the aubergines that were firm yet light in weight, which means that they have less seeds and more flesh.

Thank you for your visit and see you soon again, with another exciting recipe. 

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