Baingan bharta recipe with step by step photos. One more favorite Punjabi recipe at home. This baingan bharta recipe is a simple and easy to prepare recipe without the use of many spices.
We simply love this baingan ka bharta due to its simplicity and taste. I have learned this authentic Punjabi recipe from my mom-in-law who makes excellent Punjabi food. If you do not know what is baingan bharta. Let me tell you.
What is baingan bharta ?
Baingan bharta is a spiced and mashed aubergine or eggplant dish popular in the Indian cuisine. Here eggplant or aubergine are the english words for baingan and bharta is the hindi word for mashed.
There are many regional Indian variations of making baingan bharta like Maharashtrian Vangyache bharit or Bihari baingan chokha or tamilian kathirikai gothsu. The recipe that I have shared here is the Punjabi version that we make in our home.
You can compare baingan bharta to baba ganoush as the method of roasting eggplant is the same. But the seasonings, spices etc used are totally different.
How to make baingan ka bharta ?
1. Roasting and mashing or chopping eggplant: To make baingan bharta eggplants are roasted on an open flame on a gas stovetop. Later the skin is peeled and the aubergines are mashed.
In Punjab, the baingan used to be roasted in the tandoor. As a result, the baingan would get infused with the distinct aromatic charcoal flavor. This is not possible nowadays as we do not have charcoal-based tandoors or charcoal burners in our kitchens.
Due to roasting on open flame there is a smoky flavor in the baingan. To get this smoky flavor, I suggest to roast the baingan on fire and not in the oven or microwave oven. I have roasted baingan in the oven once and the baingan bhartha did not have its peculiar smoky flavor and taste.
In this baingan ka bharta recipe, I have also incorporated the dhungar method of infusing the smoky aroma of burnt charcoal. The method is shown in the step by step pictorial. However, this method is optional and you can easily skip it.
2. Cooking in onion-tomato masala: Later the mashed eggplant is added to a sauteed mixture of onions, tomatoes, garlic, spices and cooked further. Tomatoes give a nice tang in this recipe and harmonises with the sweetness of the onions and eggplant. Garlic also add a lot of depth and flavor to this simple comforting baingan ka bharta.
I usually make baingan bharta this way but I have also made it by adding spices like turmeric powder, dhania powder (coriander powder) etc. One thing, i have observed is that the smoky aroma and flavor of the baingan comes out very distinctly in this simple recipe where less spice powders are used. But if you like a more masaledar version of baingan bharta, then add your favorite spice powders in it.
Tips for making baingan bharta
- Picking up the right type of baingan: The brinjal that is used to make bharta is the large dark purple variety of brinjal. This brinjal has more flesh and fewer seeds. For baingan bharta try to get a baingan which is large and with a smooth skin. The baingan should feel light in your hands. Lightweight brinjal will have fewer seeds as compared to a heavy brinjal which will have ripe seeds and this may spoil the taste of the bhartha. Secondly also check that there is no crack or hole in the skin. This would mean that some worm has gone inside the baingan.
- Fire roasting baingan: Roasting baingan in an open flame gives a really good smoky aroma and taste to the bharta. While roasting, keep on turning the baingan after some minutes. This will ensure that the baingan is cooked properly. To check if the baingan is cooked properly or not, pierce a knife through it from a couple of sides. if it slides smoothly without any resistance, the baingan is cooked well.
Best way to roast baingan for baingan bharta
- Firstly rinse baingan with water and pat dry. Keep the stem as with the help of the stem you can turn the brinjal.
- Then give a cross slit from the bottom and check for worms. Now you can roast the brinjal in open flame.
- Keep flame to medium or medium-low. Take care while turning the brinjal. Hold the stem and turn.
- Turn the brinjal after every 2 to 3 minutes on the flame, so that its evenly cooked.
- If you are not able to hold the stem as its too hot or the heat from the fire is much, then using tongs turn over. Be careful when roasting brinjal.
- Spread some oil on the brinjal before roasting. You can even skip this step.
- Alternatively, a few garlic cloves can be embedded in the brinjal before roasting.
Checking for worms: Sometimes even despite your best efforts and intention, you may find a worm in the brinjal after roasting. If this happens, then discard the entire pulp and begin again. To avoid this happening, you can also give a slit on the brinjal before roasting and check. But here too you can miss the worm if it is hidden in someplace not visible to the eye. An alternative method is too chop the brinjals and roast them in an oven or cook brinjal pieces with some water in a pan. Mash later and make the bharta.
Roasting brinjal in the oven: For roasting brinjal in an oven, preheat oven at 180 degrees celsius for 10 minutes. Rinse and then slice or quarter the brinjal. You can even keep the brinjal whole if you want.
If keeping whole, then give some slits on the brinjal with a knife. Line an aluminium foil on a baking tray. You can also spread some oil on the brinjal pieces. Place the chopped side of the brinjal facing down and touching the foil.
Keep the tray in the center of your oven or near the top heating element. At 180 degrees celsius bake or roast brinjal for 25 to 35 minutes or more time till the pulp has become mushy and smooth. Then later cool the baingan and peel. Mash and use in the recipe. Do note that you won’t get the smoky aroma when roasting brinjal in an oven.
Cooking brinjal in a pan: For cooking on stove-top, add the chopped brinjals in a pan. Add water just about covering the brinjals. Cover and cook till the brinjal pieces have softened. Then drain all the water and mash the cooked brinjal. You can also add a bit of salt when cooking the brinjal pieces. Also do note that cooking brinjal in water won’t give the smoky aroma & flavor.
How to make baingan bharta
1. Rinse the baingan (eggplant or aubergine) in water. Pat dry with a kitchen napkin. Apply some oil all over and keep it for roasting on an open flame. You can also grill the baingan or roast in the oven. But then do note that you won’t get the smoky flavor of the baingan. Keep the eggplant turning after 2 to 3 minutes on the flame, so that its evenly cooked. You could also embed some garlic cloves in the baingan and then roast it.
2. Roast the aubergine till its completely cooked and tender. With a knife check the doneness. The knife should slide easily in aubergines without any resistance. Remove the baingan and immerse in a bowl of water till it cools down.
3. You can also do this dhungar technique of infusing charcoal smoky flavor in the baingan. This is an optional step. use natural charcoal for this method. Heat a small piece of charcoal on flame till it becomes smoking hot and red.
4. Make small cuts on the roasted baingan with a knife. Place the red hot charcoal in the same plate where the roasted aubergine is kept. Add a few drops of oil on the charcoal. The charcoal would begin to smoke.
5. As soon as smoke begins to release from the charcoal, cover the entire plate tightly with a large bowl. Allow the charcoal smoke to get infused for 1 to 2 minutes. I just keep for a minute. Alternatively, you can also do this dhungar method once the baingan bharta is cooked.
6. Once cooled, peel the skin from the roasted and smoked eggplant.
7. Chop the cooked eggplant. The water that you see are the juices of the roasted baingan.
Making baingan ka bharta
8. In a kadai or pan heat 1 to 1.5 tablespoons oil. You can use peanut oil or sunflower oil. Then add finely chopped 1 medium-sized onion (about ½ cup finely chopped onion). Also, add finely chopped 5 to 6 medium garlic cloves (about 1 heaped teaspoon of finely chopped garlic).
9. Saute the onions till translucent. Don’t brown them.
10. Add 1 chopped green chili and mix.
11. Add finely chopped 2 medium to large tomatoes (about 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes). Mix very well.
12. Bhuno (saute) the tomatoes till the oil starts separating from the mixture. You have to keep on stirring often when sauteing tomatoes. The tomatoes have to become softened, pulpy and you should see oil releasing from the sides.
13. Now add ¼ tsp red chili powder. Stir and mix well.
14. Add the chopped cooked baingan.
15. Stir and mix the chopped baingan very well with the onion-tomato masala mixture.
16. Season with salt as per taste.
17. Stir and saute baingan bharta stirring often for some 4 to 5 minutes more.
18. Baingan bharta is ready. Finally stir in 1 tablespoon coriander leaves or garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve baingan ka bharta with phulkas or chapatis. It goes well even with bread, toasted or grilled bread and plain rice or jeera rice.
Few more Brinjal recipes for you
- Bharli vangi – stuffed brinjals with coconut, peanuts, sesame spiced paste.
- Brinjal fry – these are crispy and delicious pan-fried brinjal slices
- Bharwa baingan – small brinjals stuffed with a spice mix and sauteed with potatoes.
- Baingan bhaja – pan fried or shallow fried marinated slices of aubergines from the Bengali cuisine.
- 1 large aubergine (eggplant or bhartha baingan or brinjal)
- ½ cup onion, finely chopped or 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes, finely chopped or 2 medium sized tomatoes, finely chopped
- 5 to 6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped, about 1 heaped teaspoon of finely chopped garlic
- 1 green chili, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or add as required
- 1 to 1.5 tablespoon oil - can use peanut oil or sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped (cilantro leaves)
- salt as required
- Rinse the baingan (eggplant or aubergine) in water. Pat dry with a kitchen napkin. Apply some oil all over and keep it for roasting on an open flame. You can also grill the baingan or roast in the oven. But then you won't get the smoky flavor of the baingan. Keep the eggplant turning after a 2 to 3 minutes on the flame, so that its evenly cooked. You could also embed some garlic cloves in the baingan and then roast it.
- Roast the baingan till its completely cooked and tender. With a knife check the doneness. The knife should slid easily in aubergines without any resistance. Remove the baingan and immerse in a bowl of water till it cools down.
- You can also do the dhungar technique of infusing charcoal smoky flavor in the baingan. This is an optional step. Use natural charcoal for this method. Heat a small piece of charcoal on flame till it becomes smoking hot and red.
- Make small cuts on the baingan with a knife. Place the red hot charcoal in the same plate where the roasted aubergine is kept. Add a few drops of oil on the charcoal. The charcoal would begin to smoke.
- As soon as smoke begins to release from the charcoal, cover the entire plate tightly with a large bowl. Allow the charcoal smoke to get infused for 1 to 2 minutes. The more you do, the more smoky the baingan bharta will become. I just keep for a minute. Alternatively, you can also do this dhungar method once the baingan bharta is cooked, just like the way we do for dal tadka.
- Peel the skin from the roasted and smoked eggplant.
- Chop the cooked eggplant finely or you can even mash it.
Making Baingan ka Bharta
- In a kadai or pan, heat oil. Then add finely chopped onions and garlic.
- Saute the onions till translucent. Don't brown them.
- Add chopped green chillies and mix.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and mix it well.
- Bhuno (saute) the tomatoes stirring often, till the oil starts separating from the mixture. The tomatoes should become pulpy, soft and oil should release from the masala mixture.
- Now add the red chili powder. Stir and mix well.
- Add the chopped cooked baingan.
- Stir and mix the chopped baingan very well with the onion-tomato masala mixture.
- Season with salt. Stirring often saute for some 4 to 5 minutes more.
- Finally stir in the coriander leaves or garnish it with them. Serve baingan bharta with phulkas, rotis or chapatis. It goes well even with bread, toasted or grilled bread and plain rice or jeera rice.
- Dhungar method is optional.
- Recipe can be doubled.