July 22, 2010

Bangin' Baingan Bharta

Say that five times fast. A few days ago I made my own curry powder using spices from this local spice shop called Roots and Leaves because I find that cheap pre-made curry blends aren't pungent enough. Whenever I've made curry dishes it always tasted flat, which means either my Indian cooking skills or my curry powder isn't up to par. Well, clearly my ego blamed the curry powder, so tonight was a chance to test my assumption. I made Baingan Bharta, which is a mashed eggplant dish from Northern India. Traditionally it's made with garam masala instead of a curry powder blend, but the blend I chose used many spices found in garam masala already, so I figured I killed two birds. To be on the safe side, I added an extra pinch of freshly ground cinnamon at the end for a little aromatic kick.

Baingan Bharta

- 1 large eggplant
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 green chili, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil + a touch for rubbing the eggplant
- 2 tsp curry powder (I used this recipe, without the caraway and mace)
- 2 crushed bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- S&P, to taste

- Set oven to low broil setting. Rub the outside of the eggplant with olive oil, place on a baking sheet and broil for 15 minutes or until eggplant collapses and flesh is slightly charred. Allow to cool, then peel the skin and set flesh aside in a large bowl.
- Take half of the diced tomatoes and puree in a blender.
- In a large skillet, saute aromatics in olive oil until translucent. Add both tomato puree and diced tomatoes and cook on medium-medium high heat for 5 minutes or until they start to create a broth.
- Add curry powder and crushed bay leaves. Stir to combine.
- Mash eggplant flesh and add it to the skillet. Stir thoroughly to combine and cook for 10 additional minutes. In the last minute, add cinnamon and stir. Serve with roti or rice and enjoy!

I know this isn't much to look at, but God it's delicious. I love Indian food. Truthfully, I actually haven't had it out much; most of the Indian food experiences I've had have come out of my own kitchen. I'm not sure exactly how my Indian food would match up to dishes found in restaurants made by actual Indian people, but I think what I've done is pretty great. I left the meal with a stuffy nose and a full belly, which is perfectly fine by me.

I'll leave you with a quote from Eat, Pray, Love which really hit me today:

"To find the balance you want," Ketut spoke through his translator, "this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it's like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. that way, you will know God" (27).

I'm only about 50 pages into this book and I'm already completely and utterly captivated. Oh, and by the way, the curry powder was totally to blame because this dish was awesome and the curry powder was incredibly pungent. Win, win!


  1. Why is it that sometimes the best dishes are the ugliest to photograph???

  2. I don't care as long as the food keeps tasting good!

  3. Oh man, Baingan Bharta is my favorite Indian dish. I've never tried to make it myself, but I think I should try it. It doesn't seem too hard!

  4. I'm partial to most things eggplant. It wasn't hard at all and came together super quickly. You should totally try it. :)