This easy baingan bharta recipe is going to be a sure shot hit at home! Baingan (eggplant/aubergine) is studded with garlic and roasted on an open flame, and then stir-fried with aromatics for the most delicious smoky flavor.
I'm a massive baingan bharta snob because there is nothing appetizing about pulpy eggplant or baingan. Bharta can either be slimy boring or it can be smoky amazing and I vote for you-know-what!
Of course I have a mom and grandma who make some epic baingan bharta and therefore - high standards. I've even managed to convert Denver who usually takes one look at this dish and runs to the other corner.
But baingan bharta has a lot going for it. I love brinjal or aubergines or eggplant - whatever you call it in your part of the world, and this is definitely one of my favorite ways to eat it. Because there is something about roasting baingan on an open fire in its skin that just changes everything and gives it an incredible flavor. It's top notch BBQ style.
I have experimented with this recipe over and over again and my conclusion is to keep it simple. The ingredient list isn't super long but there are a few things that make a great recipe.
How to make Baingan Bharta + Ingredients
Roasting baingan for bharta is pretty simple but just takes a little patience and time. I prefer doing this on an open flame to get the best char. Slow cooking on an open flame and turning the eggplant over and over again till its cooked from all sides is key to a fantastic bharta. My one secret trick is to make slits and stuff the baingan with garlic cloves. The garlic cooks with the baingan and infuses it with the best flavour.
You can also do this in the oven, but seriously an open flame is the best!
The trick to removing the charred skin of a brinjal is to cover it and let it rest. Covering it creates steam and makes it easier to peel off the skin
- Splutter: Use mustard oil for tempering. Mustard oil is my favourite oil for this recipe because the flavour is unparalleled and it works really well with eggplant. But if you don't have some, you can also use any other vegetable oil
- Fry: Fry the onions, garlic and spices till the onions soften
- Cook: Add tomatoes and cook them till soft and pulpy. This will take a few minutes but cook till you can see some oil separating from the sides
- Add Baingan: Add the roasted, minced baingan (brinjal) to the onion tomato mixture and mix well
- Peas: Peas are optional but I love them for texture and taste in baingan bharta. I like to use boiled peas
- Cover and Cook: A dash of water and few minutes of simmering till the flavour of the masala blend well with the baingan
Top tips for an amazing Baingan Bharta
Choose the right baingan: Pick a baingan/ eggplant/ aubergine thats big and roundish without any indentations and has a shiny skin. Hold it in your hand and pick something which feels light compared to the others. The lighter ones have fewer seeds.
Roast it on an open flame: There are no shortcuts to this. The best flavor comes out when you roast it on an open flame (like I do in the video below). Thats when the skin chars and lends it the smoky flavor. I've tried roasting it in the oven and microwave but it never tastes the same. You can also roast it on a barbecue grill which will give it a beautiful flavor as well.
Give it time: Be patient while roasting the baingan because it needs to cook from inside. The entire process takes about 8-10 minutes on a medium high flame and you'll need to turn it every 1-2 minutes for even roasting.
Let it cool before peeling: The baingan will be piping hot once you roast it, so cover it with some foil and let it rest for a few minutes. This creates a bit of steam and loosens the skin.
I think every house has their favorite baingan bharta recipe. Mine is grandma approved. This makes me realize - there is perfection in this world.
More Indian Dishes:
Watch the Recipe Video
Easy Baingan Bharta (Smoky eggplant stir-fry)
- 1 Eggplant large
- 3 Garlic Cloves
For the Bharta:
- 3 tablespoons Oil
- 1 teaspoon Nigella Seeds Kalonji
- 6 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon Ginger grated
- 1 Green Chilli finely chopped
- 1 Medium Onion finely chopped
- 2 Tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- Salt to taste
- Roasted Baingan Pulp
- ¼ cup boiled Green Peas
- 1 tablespoon Chopped Coriander
- Cut each clove of garlic in half. Make 6 small slits in the baingan and stuff the slits with the halved garlic cloves.
- Roast on an open flame for 8-10 minutes, turning the baingan every 1-2 minutes to make sure its roasted well on all sides. The skin should be blistered completely and the baingan should become really soft. You can prick it with a fork or knife to check if its cooked from inside. If not, roast for a few more minutes.
- Once the baingan is roasted, cover it with foil and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Peel the skin off and remove any burnt bits. Chop off the stem and discard. Finely chop and mince the roasted eggplant.
- Heat oil in a pan and add nigella seeds. After 30 seconds, add garlic, ginger, chopped chillies and onions. Stir fry till the onions are soft and add tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric and salt. Mix well, and cover and cook till the tomatoes are soft and pulpy.
- Add the chopped baingan and mix well. Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add green peas and a dash of water (about 2 tbsp). Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped coriander, mix and serve hot.
- Its best to use a large baingan/eggplant/aubergine for this recipe. The small variety doesn't have the same flavour
- You can roast the baingan in the oven but the end result will not be smoky
- Baingan Bharta in the oven: To roast in the oven, make slits in the baingan, stuff the slits with garlic and rub a little oil all over. Roast in a 200C oven for 45-50 minutes. Then follow instructions from Step 2 in the recipe
- This has a slightly bhurji style semi-gravy consistency. So be sure to cook the tomatoes until soft and pulpy.