Try a colorful, smokey eggplant dish that is a perfect warm bowl for a cool autumn day as we feature the last of fall’s produce.
By Vicky Cassidy
When we order Indian food, we generally order the same dishes. We rotate between a couple of the entrees but without fail, the baingan bharta always makes the cut. Smoky eggplant mixed with ginger, onion, garlic, and spices is to die for, and I’ve always wanted to add a version of it to my own repertoire. Because, you know, overachievement.
I can safely say that my version doesn’t come near our favorite restaurant’s. I’m assuming they cook their eggplant with actual charcoal to get that super smoky flavor infused into the dish, but I took some shortcuts and used the broiler. Needless to say, the dish is still quite wonderful, and is a great way to use up some summer produce, and thus it’s worth sharing here with you guys.
- 1 cup basmati rice, dry
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 pounds eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 3 dried red chilis or 1 fresh red chili, chopped (optional, for more heat)
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- Cook rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
- Place top oven rack on highest shelf and turn broiler on high. Place eggplants, cut side down, on a large baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Rub into skin.
- Place eggplants under broiler and cook until the skin is nicely charred, anywhere from 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on this as you may need to rotate your eggplant pieces so they get an even heat. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 10 min. Add garlic, ginger, and chilis and cook for an additional minute.
- Stir in tomato, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, and salt. Turn down heat to medium and cook until tomatoes start to soften.
- While those are cooking, use a spoon to scoop the eggplant meat out of the skin. Discard the skin and chop the eggplant.
- Add eggplant and garam masala to the saucepan and mix well. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, until flavors blend. Adjust salt to taste.
- Serve eggplant mixture over rice. Top with cilantro.