“Bangalan Matar wale Baingan ka Bharta sikh gayi” (read the bong girl finally able to make the Baingan ka Bharta with peas properly) 😛 this is what “N” my ex-colleague told me after tasting the Bharta that I prepared after almost 4-5 failed attempts. Now you may ask what’s big in making “Baingan Bharta”; after all it is a much popular Eggplant mash prepared almost in every home in India, though, the form varies a bit (we Bongs prepare almost a similar thing known as “Begun Pora” at our places which is however only prepared on Tuesdays and Saturdays in my ancestral place. I for sure will share the recipe of Begun pora sometimes here along with “Shoni-Mongoler Golpo” but this time it is only and only Baingan Bharta).
There’s nothing big but a few years back I used to grab my colleague’s moderately big fat Punjabi lunch box just for this special Matar wale Baingan ka Bharta prepared by his wife for the amazing taste that the Bharta contained. I never asked him for the recipe and I used to acclaim each time after having it that I will be able to prepare the same Baingan ka Bharta for sure with the same kind of taste and aroma! What was a time were those when we a group of colleagues used to share our food, our thought!
Finally after having it for more than hundred times and making it more than that one day I was told that my Baingan Bharta is having the typical aroma of a Punjabi household he belongs to and is having the typical touch that is found in his wife’s cooking and the best part is I received a text in the evening from his beloved wife “hey heard that now you are making proper Matar wale Baingan Bharta”! So this is the story of my simple homely Baingan ka Bharta which I still prepare at my place following the same recipe!
Coming to the Baingan Bharta from my kitchen or better to say the Punjabi Baingan Bharta from a Bong kitchen, it is a homely one and I don’t add any added flavor of charcoal smoke to it though if added that will turn it into the next level. I just opt for roasting the Eggplant on the direct open flame to give it a perfect smoky aroma which is actually the heart of this famous Punjabi dish. As I already mentioned I add fresh green peas to the Bharta since that is what I love from the best Baingan ka Bharta from my friend’s home. Apart from this, I love to add little Red bell pepper to the Bharta which gives an amazing aroma to the dish which is however completely optional. Rest is very simple cooking with limited spices used.
- Eggplant/ Aubergine / Baingan/ Begun: 1 (large)
- Fresh Green Peas: ½ Cup
- Red Bell Pepper: 1 small (Optional)
- Onion: 1 (Big)
- Tomato: 1 (Big)
- Garlic cloves: 6-8
- Coriander leaves: few strands
- Green Chili: 3-4
- Mustard Oil: 2 Tbsp.
- Red Chili Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Take a big eggplant and wash it thoroughly and dry it using a kitchen towel.
- Keeping the stem intact and cut two horizontal and longitudinal slits in the eggplant as shown in the picture.
- Take little mustard Oil and apply it on the outer skin of the Eggplant.
- Place 3-4 garlic cloves within the slits and start roasting it in direct flame keeping the flame at medium speed.
- Turn over the Eggplant to another side after 2-3 minutes of roasting and roast it from all the sides properly. It will take around 10 minutes in medium flame to roast the eggplant properly.
- Switch the flame off and check by inserting a knife here and there to check the doneness.
- Taker the roasted garlic out of the eggplant.
- Keep a bowl of cold water handy and immerse the properly roasted Eggplant in the water for 1-2 minutes to let it cool completely.
- Take the Eggplant out of the water and remove the skin from the cooked Eggplant.
- Now take the flesh on a plate and using your hand or a potato masher mash the eggplant. I prefer to use the hand for this step.
- Chop Onion into long strips, Tomato and Bell Pepper into small cubes and green chili into small chunks.
- Make a paste of the roasted garlics along with the remaining garlic cloves.
- Take Oil in a Pan and heat that properly.
- Add chopped onion to the oil and fry till onions turn light brown.
- Now add chopped tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, fresh green peas, and garlic paste in one go and start cooking in medium flame until everything mixed properly for around 4-5 minutes.
- Add Salt, Red Chili powder and chopped green chilies to the mixture and give it a thorough mix.
- Now add mashed eggplant to the spices and cook for 2-3 minutes more in low flame until everything mixes properly and leaving the edge of the pan.
- Add chopped coriander leaves to the Bharta and switch the flame off.
- Serve Matar wale Baingan ka Bharta hot with Roti or Paratha
Eggplant can be roasted using an oven as well.
North Indian delicacies from Debjanir Rannaghar: