Main Courses, Vegetarian

Bharta

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I LOVE bharta! It’s creamy, smoky, flavorful, and meaty for a vegetarian dish.

I’m not sure which came first, baba ghanoush or bharta, but they’re both amazing. And luckily for me, one is Indian and I know how to make it. It’s a crowd pleaser, whether for a nice cozy dinner at home or a fun dinner party. The dish that’s a bit of an all-arounder, meaning that you could make it as part of the main course or to serve as a dip. It works well with a nice crusty sourdough or a fluffy roti.

Traditionally, a fall or winter food, we would have this as the temperatures cooled down and eggplant came into season. But thanks to modern day supermarkets you can buy eggplant nearly year round and make this tasty dish.

It’s definitely not the easiest of dishes to make. Instead it’s tedious and requires a bit of focus. All of that said, it’s well worth the effort. This dish is just so flavorful and robust in it’s texture. The recipe is a bit deceptive, in that 9 eggplants seems like it would be enough to feed a small army, but keep in mind that they cook down to nothing! Also, there’s no hard and fast rule as to how smooth you have to make your bharta. Personally, I like it slightly chunky, gives it even more texture and chewiness.

Bharta

0 from 0 votes
Difficulty: Medium
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

2

hours 

10

minutes

Ingredients

  • 9 large eggplants

  • 2 medium-sized onions, pureed

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 tbsp whole cumin, ground

  • 3 tbsp ginger, pureed

  • 1 serrano pepper, pureed (optional)

  • 3 tbsp whole coriander seeds, ground

  • 1 Indian bay leaf

  • Salt, to taste

  • Cilantro for garnish

Directions

  • Prepping Eggplant:
  • Set oven to broil.
  • Place eggplants on a nonstick baking tray and broil till skin is crispy on all sides. This will mean turning it over every 10 or so minutes for about 1 hour.
  • While your eggplant is cooking puree onions and set aside.
  • While your eggplant is cooking puree ginger and set aside.
  • While your eggplant is cooking puree serrano pepper and set aside.
  • Remove eggplant from oven and let cool slightly.
  • Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel and discard skin.
  • Coarsely puree the remaining eggplant and set aside.
  • Cooking the Bharta:
  • In a large nonstick pan heat oil over medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot add pureed onions and cook over medium-high heat stirring often till caramelized. Approximately 20 minutes.
  • Add ginger and saute till fragrant – approximately 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in serrano pepper and saute till fragrant – approximately 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in ground cumin and saute till fragrant – approximately 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in ground coriander seeds till fragrant – approximately 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in bay leaf, water, and pureed eggplant and cook on medium heat stirring often for 30 minutes. You’re looking for the eggplant to turn a a deep reddish brown.
  • Salt, to taste.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve.

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