Thursday, July 16, 2009

Baingan Bharta

or, the story of 3 phone calls and how to stretch 1 eggplant to make enough bharta for 4 adults.

It all started with a simple phone call to my closest friend in Singapore. I was just back from India and had a bunch of goodies for her. After the usual pleasantries, we decided we should meet for lunch.

"Aqua, I really am craving baingan ka bharta, but I just can't stomach the smell of the roasting eggplant. instead of going out for lunch, would you mind making me some bharta?"

Now, you don't ever deny a pregnant friend her food cravings, do you? So, baingan bharta it was.
The next day, however, she called... her cousin and his wife were on a stopover in Singapore, there was some mix up with the dates and they had landed up early that morning.
"I'll take a rain check on the lunch," she said.

After an hour, another call. It's a small world and six degrees of separations and all that - it turned out that the cousin's wife and I lived in the same building many moons ago. We just had to meet....lunch was on after all.

"Aqua, I don't want you to sweat over the cooking, I'll get something along, you please make the baingan ka bharta. I am really craving it".

Baingan ka bharta - for 4 people with from 1 eggplant that barely weighed 500 gms! How does one stretch 1 eggplant to make enough bharta for 4 people?

Here's how.

Trooping off to the market to buy another eggplant was certainly not the option, I was feeling way too lazy for that.

Fortunately, I remembered reading somewhere in some magazine that grated cabbage can be added to a bharta, and decided to give that a try.

It worked...nobody could tell that there was something other than baingan in the bharta and the bharta nicely served 4 people.

Though the use of cabbage is just optional, I now use it regularly in my bharta.


Eggplant - 1 large
Cabbage - 1/2 cup, grated (Optional)
Green peas - 1/4 cup

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Onion - 2 medium sized
Tomatoes - 2 medium sized
Ginger - 11/2 tsp, grated
Garlic - 1 tsp, grated
Green chilli - 1 tsp, chopped
Hing - a pinch

dry masalas

Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
cumin powder - 3/4 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
salt to taste


Juice of half a lemon
Coriander leaves - 1 tsp, chopped
Spring onion - 3 tbsps, chopped


Smear some oil over the eggplant and roast it over an open flame. Keep turning it often and cook till the skin gets charred. Let it cool for a few minutes, then put the eggplant in a ziploc bag and leave it in for about 15 mins. This makes it easier to peel the charred skin.

Peel the skin from eggplant and discard the seeds, if any. With the back of a spoon, mash the eggplant.

Heat oil and add the mustard seeds. When the crackle, add the hing followed by the ginger garlic paste and fry till fragrant. Then add the onions and fry till pink.

Next add the tomatoes and green chillies. When the tomatoes turn soft, add all the dry masalas and salt.

Now add the roasted eggplant and stir and mash and stir and mash till the eggplant gets nicely mixed into the masala. Add the grated cabbage and the green peas and cook the bharta, stirring occasionally, for about 10 mins till the bharta turns a rich brown color.

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon, a tsp of sugar and the coriander leaves and mix it in well.

Finally, add the chopped spring onions, turn off the gas and cover. The addition of spring onions adds a really lovely twist to the baingan bharta. Try it, I am sure you will enjoy it!

Sending this, alongwith my Baingan ka Raita, over to FIL - Brinjal hosted by Sanghi.


  1. MMMMMM I love this perfect combo with roti...

  2. hmmm thats a great idea this with roti..

  3. Hi Again. Nice combo cabbage and baingan. Try out my methi baingan bharta if you like fenugreek.

  4. hey AD,
    What a cooking adventure u've had?!;) I'd give a complete10/10 for the make over u've given to the simple baingan bharta :)
    Reading through ur write up ... I read cabbage....I read the line again as I thought I'm reading something in a hurry :)
    Went through ur recipe and must tell u from the begining to the end and finishing it off with the sprinkling of spring onions ...I must say that it's a sure try recipe for me...we both love baingan bharta!thanks for the new adventureous recipe :)

  5. Thats a great invention aqua you made..and what a great friend you are ...Grated cabbage and baingan..what a great experiment..Hats off to your sprit !!

  6. With roti... Hummm I can easily finish off that whole plate.

  7. Looks so delicious! Loved the addition of cabbage..what a great idea! I would have been stuck had I been in your situation with one brinjal!

  8. cabbage and peas are a great idea to add volume..but i wud still finish the entire bowl all by muself!!

  9. It is so nice of you to cook for your friend. Looks delicious.
    I normally add peas to increase the quantity.

  10. Fire-roasted, this is my favourite way to eat eggplant. Very interesting your addition of cabbage.

  11. Peas and cabbage nice addition. Love it.

  12. Oh you are a true friend.....bharta looks delectable......

  13. Looks delicious...making me do some drooling here too

  14. That's funny! I would prefer my bhartha without the cabbage, but its a good thing to remember for emergencies.

  15. What a adventure you had and you are such a sweet friend :)
    Baigan bharta looks perfect :)

  16. LOL .. I agree we need more skills than the knowledge of mere cooking to handle situations like this. I too remember me faking onion with cabbage while I ran out of it, years ago:)
    Baingan bharta looks so rich n delish..
    Nice write up too.

  17. That was some inspired thinking!!!

  18. Addition of cabbage is new for me,..;-)


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