Baingan Bharta – Indian Roasted Eggplant

Easy Indian recipe coming your way today – smokey mashed roasted eggplant cooked with tomatoes, onions, ginger, and spices. This simple eggplant dish is called baingan bharta and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

a bowl with Indian smoked eggplant baingang bharta with flat bread
Baingan Bharta – Roasted Eggplant

If there is anything I learned in the last couple of years is that my inner world and my own happiness are very much defined by me. While there are so many things out there that I can’t control, there are also hundreds of things I can do. Those things can dramatically improve your life no matter what circumstances you might find yourself in.

One of the things we have control over is our diet. You and only you are responsible for the way you fuel your body which most definitely defines the way you feel. Are you energized and full of life or is your brain foggy and you can’t get out of bed in the morning? As we all know, vegetables are great for our bodies and this is why I am sharing this recipe with you – Baingan Bharta!

Reasons to make it:

  • This popular Punjabi dish is packed with vegetables, herbs, and Indian spices. It is a great way to boost your immune system.
  • Easy to make. It takes approximately 30 minutes from start to finish.
  • Is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.
  • Is delicious, as your meals should be.
  • Can be prepared in advance, great meal-prep for the busy week ahead.
  • Can be enjoyed on its own or with some hot rotis.
baingang bharta in a bowl
Baingan Bharta Indian Roasted Eggplant

Fun facts about eggplant (or aubergine)

The hero ingredient of my Easy Baingan Bharta is of course…. the eggplant! Or aubergine as you might call it. Eggplant (aubergine) is a member of the nightshade family which also includes potatoes and tobacco!! And while we all consider it to be a vegetable, it is actually a fruit or even more precisely a berry. But fruit or vegetable, eggplant plays a leading role in many cuisines all over the world and it is definitely a staple in India’s kitchen and likely has been for over 5,000 years.

purple eggplants with water droplets

Baba ganoush vs Baingang Bharta

Some people say that Baingan Bharta is the crown prince of eggplant dishes. And it is not hard to see why. This dish is silky in consistency and filled with a great smoky flavor.

This popular Indian dish can be found in restaurants across North India. It is a bit similar to the Middle Eastern baba ganoush, which is also made with roasted mashed eggplant but baba ganoush is made with garlic, tahini, and lemon juice. Both dishes are absolutely delicious and can be enjoyed as a side dish, dip or spread.

Ingredients

  • Large eggplant (aubergine)
  • Brown onion, or any other onion you have in the fridge.
  • Fresh ginger. Please do not substitute with ground ginger.
  • Tin of diced tomatoes, organic if possible
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Cumin seeds
  • Red chili powder if you would like to spice things up a little
  • Fresh cilantro leaves to serve. We call it coriander in Australia 😊
ingredients needed to make baingang bharta

You find the full ingredients list in the recipe card below.

How to roast the eggplant on the stove

  • Using a metal skewer, pierce the eggplant through as shown in the photo.
Baingan Bharta, eggplant with a metal skewer, ready to be roasted with a
  • Roast the eggplant on an open flame until the eggplant has charred skin all over. Please be careful not to burn yourself.
  • Set aside to cool down a little.
an eggplant roasted on a gas stove
  • Meanwhile, chop the onion and the ginger. 
copped onions and ginger
  • Now your eggplant should be cool enough to be peeled and mashed. Slice the eggplant sideways, using a tablespoon scoop the eggplant flesh out. Try not to get the blacken skin. Watch the video to see how I do it.
how to scoop the eggplant
  • Cut the eggplant into bite-size pieces or mash it using a potato masher or simply a fork.
how to mash roasted eggplant

How to roast eggplant in the oven

If you don’t feel comfortable roasting the eggplant on a direct flame, or you don’t have a gas stove, you can roast it in the oven instead. It will take a little longer to cook through, but you might find this option a little easier. You still get all the smoky eggplant flavor:

  • Preheat your oven to high, approximately 500’F/260’C
  • Wash and dry the eggplant.
  • Poke some holes into the eggplant, using a sharp knife. This step is very important as the eggplant might explode while cooking if you do not poke it.
  • Place the whole eggplant on the oven rack or a baking dish and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • Take the tray out, turn the eggplant around, using tongs, and cook it for another 15 minutes.
  • Once the eggplant is cooked, it will be soft. You can poke it with a sharp knife, the knife should go through the eggplant flesh very easily.
  • Set aside to cool before handling it. Once it is cooled down to room temperature, cut the eggplant lengthwise and scoop the eggplant flash out with a spoon. Proceed with the recipe.

The cooking time will depend on the size of your eggplant. A big eggplant will need a longer time to cook through.

Cooking method

  • In a wok or heavy-based frying pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and cook them quickly until the seeds start to pop and are fragrant.
  • Add the chopped onion and ginger to the frying pan and fry it stirring frequently until the onions have softened and are nice and golden. Make sure not to burn them.
process steps 1 and 2
  • Add the roasted eggplant mash (or chopped eggplant if you cut it) and fry all ingredients together for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and some water (1/4 of the tomato tin), and stir to combine.
cooking step 3 and 4
  • Cover the frying pan and lower the heat to very low. Cook for 15 minutes. Serve immediately or later when it has cooled off.
  • Sprinkle with some fresh chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves before serving and enjoy! As you can see making the eggplant bharta is easy.

Find the step-by-step process in the recipe card below.

How to store the leftovers?

If you have any leftovers or are cooking the recipe in advance, simply refrigerate the Baingan Bharta in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. Reheat it in the oven or in a frying pan until heated through and enjoy!

You can also freeze the Baingan Bharta in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Defrost it naturally overnight in the fridge and reheat it in the oven or frying pan before serving.

Commonly asked questions

Can I use ground ginger instead of fresh ginger?

Unfortunately not. Ground ginger has a totally different taste. You can use fresh ginger paste.

I don’t have a gas oven, can I bake the eggplant in the oven?

Yes, you can. See how to roast eggplant in the oven in the section above.

Is Baingan Bharta gluten-free?

Yes, it is 100% gluten-free as it is vegan and dairy-free.

Is this Baingan Bharta spicy?

This version of baingan bharta is not spicy. If you would like to add some heat to the dish, add half a teaspoon of red chilli powder together with onions and ginger.

a bowl of baingang bharta served with yoghurt and flat bread

More ways to use Punjabi baingan bharta

  • Serve it on the bed of basmati rice.
  • Serve it with freshly cooked noodles. It makes a delicious pasta dish.
  • Have some leftovers in the fridge? Spread the Baingan Bharta over the crusty, bread, and sprinkle some fresh cilantro leaves on top. Quick lunch. Yum!
  • Blend it in a food processor for a couple of seconds to make a delicious dip. Serve with some gluten-free crackers.

More Indian recipes to try

baingang bharta, smoked eggplant served with flat bread

Baingan Bharta – Roasted Eggplant

Elena Elliott
Baingan Bharta – a simple and delicious vegan eggplant dish. The classic recipe from North India will surely find a place in your weekly meal-plan routine.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 serves as a side dish

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large eggplant aubergine
  • 1 large brown onion finelly diced
  • 4 cm fresh ginger root finely diced or grated
  • 1 can of organic diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of chili powder if you would like to spice things up a little
  • Fresh coriander leaves to serve

Instructions
 

  • Using a metal skewer, pierce the eggplant through as shown in the photo.
  • Roast the eggplant on a low gas flame until the eggplant is charred on all sides. Please be careful not to burn yourself.
  • Set aside to cool down a little.
  • Meanwhile, chop the onion and the ginger. 
  • Now your eggplant should be cool enough to be peeled and cut. Slice the eggplant sideways and using a tablespoon, scoop the eggplant flesh out.
  • Cut the eggplant into bite-size pieces or mash it with a fork.
  • In a wok or heavy-based frying pan, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. Cook them quickly until seeds start to pop and are fragrant.
  • Add the chopped onion and ginger to the frying pan and gently fry them until the onion is nice and golden, stir frequently. Make sure not to burn the onion and the ginger.
  • Add eggplant and fry all ingredients together for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and some water (1/4 of the tomato tin). Make sure that all ingredients are well combined.
  • Cover the frying pan with a lid and lower the heat to very low. Cook for 15 minutes.
  • Serve immediately or later when it has cooled off. Sprinkle the fresh cilantro leaves before serving. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

This recipe is adapted from The Hamlyn Curry Cookbook by Meera Taneja
How to roast eggplant in the oven:
  • Preheat your oven’s broiler to high, approximately 500’F/260’C
  • Wash and dry the eggplant.
  • Poke some holes into the eggplant, using a sharp knife. This step is very important as the eggplant might explode while cooking if you do not poke it.
  • Place the whole eggplant on the oven rack and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • Take the tray out, turn the eggplant around, using tongs, and cook it for another 15 minutes.
  • Once the eggplant is cooked, it will be soft. You can poke it with a sharp knife, the knife should go through the eggplant flesh very easily.
  • Set aside to cool before handling it. Once it is cooled down to room temperature, cut the eggplant lengthwise and scoop the eggplant flash out with a spoon. Proceed with the recipe.
Keyword baingang bharta, roasted aubergine, smoked eggplant
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

If you liked this easy baingan bharta recipe, give me a star rating and leave me a comment below. It will make my day! 😊

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love the smokiness of the eggplant. Thank you for the step-by-step recipe! Very easy to make and tastes delicious.

  2. This was the first time I roasted eggplant over an open flame and I must say it was much easier than I expected it to be. Tastes delicious too. Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

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