Aloo Baingan Bharta: Potato and Eggplant Mash

26 Jan

When onion prices skyrocket, as they have in India nowadays, what better than to switch to dishes that don’t use onions at all? Here is the recipe of aloo baingan bharta (that is, potato and eggplant mash) that I made today, using no onions.

Bharta, or chokha, is the Hindi word for "mash". You take the boiled ingredients, mash and cook them together. The usual baingan bharta (or eggplant mash) is prepared with a generous dose of onions. This recipe is a case in point that a nice baingan bharta sans onions can taste delicious.

You Need:

  • Potato – 1 boiled
  • Tomato – 1 large
  • Eggplant – 1 purple round, medium-sized
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch piece, crushed
  • Garlic – 2 pods, crushed
  • Green chili – 1 chopped
  • Panch phoron – 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard oil – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder – to taste
  • Salt – to taste
  • Garam masala – a tiny pinch

How To Make Aloo Baingan Bharta:

1. Roast the eggplant

I do it on my gas burner, in this way – wash and brush oil over the whole eggplant. Place it directly on the gas burner on medium-low heat. Keep turning around every minute or two, taking care that all sides get done evenly and no side burns. When the skin looks black and brittle all over, then it’s ready to be taken off the fire.

2. Skin the roasted eggplant

Take the eggplant off the flame and allow it to cool to room temperature. (15minutes or so) Peel the skin off gently, making sure that the pulp doesn’t go off with the skin. If the eggplant has been roasted correctly, the skin will crack and fall away when touched. Dip your hands in water if it gets messy.

3. Mash the roasted eggplant

Deseed the eggplant if you don’t like the seeds – the seeds are in clustered strips inside, make a split in the eggplant and rip the seed strips off. What remains is juicy roasted pulp. Mash it and keep ready for use.

4. Mash the potatoes

Easy, this. Peel your boiled potato and mash it.

5. All into the pot!

In a kadhai, heat the oil and splutter the panch phoron (More on panch phoron). When the methi seeds begin to brown, add ginger-garlic and green chilies. After a minute, add chopped tomatoes, salt, cumin-coriander-chili powder. Cover and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

With the back of your spatula, mash the tomatoes in the kadhai and mix the mashed potatoes. Cover and cook for another couple of minutes. Then blend in the mashed eggplant. On high flame, cook for two minutes till everything blends well and looks the same color. At the end stir in garam masala.

Serve aloo baingan bharta hot. With chapatis, dal and yogurt.

Aloo Baingan Bharta: Potato and Eggplant Mash

Notes:

  1. Be prepared to cleanup after roasting the eggplant. It leaves the gas burner in a mess!
  2. You can substitute panch phoron with mustard-cumin seeds and mustard oil with any other oil, if you don’t like its flavor.
  3. Garam masala which has an extremely strong flavor; just a sprinkle is enough to make its presence felt.
  4. Garam masala tastes best when added towards the end of cooking.
  5. Look here for the classic version of this recipe, with onions and garlic: baingan bharta.

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