Bharta is pureed or mashed vegetables fried on low heat with different spices. Baigan, Brinjal or Eggplant makes the finest kind of bharta. While in the traditional style the eggplant needs to be roasted over charcoal fire, I used electric oven to roast it. While in the past I have made my husband roast it on a camping stove in our balcony, I decided to spare him this time due to the bitter cold.
My father-in-law was a vegetarian and loved to cook. My husband use to rave about the bharta his dad made. So after getting married I asked him to teach me his recipe. When he was cooking it, he had a glass of heated mustard oil standing by. He finished cooking and as I was about to ask him, he pored the entire glass of oil on the bharta!!! Each time I make this dish I remember about this incident and ensure I deviate from at least this part of the recipe
- 1 large eggplant (Brinjal)
- 1 large onion slivered
- 1 large onion coarsely chopped
- 1/2" ginger minced
- 6-8 garlic cloves minced
- 3-4 green chilies finely chopped
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. coriander powder
- 1 tsp. cumin powder
- 1 tsp. garam masala powder
- 1 tbsp. kasuri methi ( Dried fenugreek leaves)
- A handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves
- Mustard oil
- Ghee / clarified butter
Wash eggplant and pat it dry. Make some incisions all over it to avoid explosion in the oven. Smear the surface with oil and place it on a baking sheet. Bake it in a preheated oven at 350F for 40 mins. In case you don’t want to use the oven you can alternatively roast it on a gas stove by placing it on a mesh and allowing the skin to char on all the sides. Frequently turn it around until fully roasted. You will see the eggplant is loosing its shape and the juices start coming up. On open gas stove it doesn't take more than 10 mins to get roasted..
Once done allow it to cool and either scoop the flesh out or remove the charred skin to get the flesh. Mash it with a fork and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add minced onion to it. Fry till it turns light brown. Now add chopped ginger and garlic to it . Sauté till you get a nice aroma of fried ginger and garlic. You may add little water if the spices stick to the bottom of the pan. Now add all dry spices other than garam masala powder. Next add chopped tomato and fry well till the tomato becomes mushy.
Add mashed eggplant and season with salt and sugar. Keep frying mashed eggplant with the spice mixture till it blends well. Sprinkle kasuri methi and remove from heat.
Just before serving, Heat ghee in a separate pan on low heat and add garam masala powder to it. Once it starts sizzling pour it over the bharta along with chopped coriander greens. Serve it with phulka or chapathi.