Baingan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Curry)

[image: baingan bharta over rice]
[image: baingan bharta over rice]

If you are familiar with how baingan bharta is supposed to look, you may be taken aback by the above photo. I had found a recipe where you made the curry, then turned it into a dip. I did this so I’d have a good bread dipping appetizer for my Lady Evening with Lydia last week. It still tasted good over rice after the dip transformation, though.

Recipe originally from The ABCD’s of Cooking, tweaked a bit so I didn’t have to go to the store.

1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound
1 onion
3 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-oz. can chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 small chili peppers (an Indian variety would be best, I used my SUPER CHILIS because I still have them in the freezer from last year and they’re still hella potent), chopped if you like spice, halved if you don’t
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 400. Poke holes in eggplant with a fork, then wrap in foil and roast for an hour. Set aside to cool a bit. When you can handle it, cut in half and scoop out the flesh. Mash with a fork and set aside.

Puree the onion in a blender.

Heat oil over medium heat. Add turmeric, coriander, cumin, and garam masala and bloom in the oil for a minute. Add the onion puree and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir until it’s reduced to sort of a pumpkin puree-level of consistency. Add the whole can of tomatoes, chili peppers, and lemon zest. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and turn the heat to low. Stir and partially cover the pot. Let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the lemon juice and add salt to taste. (If you went the halved chili route, fish them out now and discard.) Serve over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Puree curry in a blender with 1 Tbsp tahini and 3 Tbsp plain yogurt. Serve warm with cilantro garnish and your grain-based or vegetable choice of dipping matter.

Curried Eggplant Pickle Relish

[image: six small white eggplants]
[image: six small white eggplants]

This was my final harvest of the Casper eggplants. Six li’l guys. I pickled them using a curry pickle recipe, thinking “eggplant + curry = good.” But once pickled, I realized I had failed to take into account their texture. Eggplants are way softer than cucumbers and peppers. So when I bit into one, I didn’t get a crisp snap, just a sort of softened press. Not a great sensation. But although the texture was off, the flavor was still good, so I chopped up the eggplant flesh and made it into a relish.

(This was the smaller of the two jars seen in the Tomolives post.)

Enough eggplant to fill a 1-quart jar once peeled and cut into spears
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp whole allspice
3/4″ fresh ginger root, thinly sliced

Peel and cut the eggplant into spears. Put the ginger, whole allspice, and cumin seeds in the bottom of your pickling container (as mentioned in my last post, I use old yogurt tubs), then pack in the eggplant. Bring the vinegar, water, salt, and curry powder to a boil for 5 minutes. Carefully pour into pickling container.

Let develop in the refrigerator for 1–2 weeks, stirring every other day or so. Remove eggplant and dice, removing seeds if necessary (since I was using tiny eggplants, this was not a problem). Strain the pickling brine and discard the solids. Pack the diced eggplant into your final jar and pour strained liquid over top (discard any extra). Store in fridge, use on hot dogs and the like.

Tomato Sauce with Eggplant

Olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into roughly 1-cm cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1/4 cup red wine
1 28-oz. can Trader Joe’s whole peeled plum tomatoes with basil, undrained
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Pinch cumin
Pinch sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated parmesan and chopped fresh parsley, to serve

Salt the chopped eggplant liberally and place in a colander. Allow to sit for a half hour, then dry with a paper towel. Set a large saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. When hot, add the eggplant and cook, stirring, until the pieces have softened and taken on some color, 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan.

If the pan is looking dry, add some more oil. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the pieces have turned translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about thirty seconds to a minute, being careful not to burn it. Add the wine and scrape up any fond from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomatoes and all the sauce from the can. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes. Return the eggplant to the pan. Add the spices. Simmer for ten minutes or up to an hour or until however long it takes you to get the pasta done (could be no time at all if you timed it well, however, taking a little simmer time to let the flavors meld is always a good idea). Serve atop pasta with parmesan and parsley.