Roasted Eggplant Masala (Baingan Barta)
Roasted eggplant continues to weaves it’s silky spell with this classic Punjabi eggplant curry. Eggplant is roasted (or grilled) and folded with chiles, tomatoes and abundant spices for a puree that’s both moist and full of substantial texture. Perfect paired with a soy yogurt raita and another single vegetable curry.
Tip: Slim Asian eggplants cut down the roasting time considerably, but this dish is just as good with thicker purple globe eggplant. Green Thai chiles peppers are my first choice for this dish, followed by long hot Italian peppers and then jalapeño peppers; they’re all different, so use the chile pepper that appeals to you the most (or is easiest to find)
Tip: If you’re lucky enough to have a very hot outdoor grill handy, place the whole eggplants directly on the grill and roast them. Turn the eggplant occasionally and roast until the skin is charred and the eggplants are near collapsing.
- 2 1/2 pounds Asian or eggplant, whole and unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 to 3 green hot chile peppers, seeds removed (if desired), and minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes or 2 large plum tomatoes, cored and finely diced
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon amchur powder or 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Poke eggplants all over with a fork, place on the baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes (or more, depending on the size of the eggplant) until the skin is heavily wrinkled, the skin darkened and the eggplant can be easily pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and cut a slit down each eggplant to allow some of the steam to escape. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, spread eggplant open and use a large metal spoon to scoop as much of the flesh out of the eggplant. Heap the eggplant flesh on a cutting board and roughly chop. Discard the skins.
2. Heat the oil in a wok or stainless steel skillet over high heat until it ripples and sprinkle in the mustard seeds. Cover the pan and as soon as the seeds start to pop, stir in the garlic and stir fry for 15 seconds. Stir in the onions and chiles and fry for 3 minutes or until the onions are softened, then stir in the coriander, cumin, and turmeric and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the eggplant, tomatoes, and salt.
3. Reduce heat to medium high and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; the eggplant should be looking nice and juicy. Stir in the amchur or lime juice, taste the eggplant and adjust seasoning with more salt or amchur powder or lime juice. Turn off heat and let stand for 10 minutes, then transfer eggplant to a wide deep serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro and serve with bread or rice.