I could have sworn that I dislike Eggplants until I made Baingan Bharta! Since a child, I was never a fan of this purple vegetable. There was a cartoon on TV those days about a land of talking vegetables. Every vegetable played a role according to its visual appearance and characteristics. Eggplant was coined as the “King” of vegetables (Baingan Raja), solely because it has a crown like green stalk on top. Every episode would focus on a particular vegetable and its problem and how all the vegetables come together to resolve it. It was pretty interesting and a well made TV program. I could only stand that vegetable in this cartoon series. That is how much I despised it.
My mom tried all tricks in the book to make me eat it. She would hide it in Sambhar or Kootu, but in vain. I would instantly pick it out and eat the rest. Over the years she created a new recipe using eggplants and I hate to admit that it was really nice and I secretly started linking it. But my pride didn’t allow me to accept it openly. Even though I put up a frown while eating it, I would finish my plate. I guess my mom eventually got it. She would just smile. Unfortunately, I never saw her making it so I do not have the recipe. I have been craving for that eggplant gravy ever since I lost her. Sadly even her sisters don’t know the recipe, since it was my mom’s creation. I still remember the taste of that dish which I can never ever have now.
Since then I totally gave up on eggplants. I never ate them nor cooked them until KR entered my life. He is a hardcore eggplant fan! He even orders for Eggplant Parmesan when we go to restaurants, for god’s sake! Who orders eggplant?? Well, KR does. So occasionally I cook using this vegetable for him. I have made Chickpea and Eggplant patties, Eggplant and Capsicum Curry and Eggplant and Tofu stir fry in Hoisin Sauce for him in the past. I attempted to make Baingan Bharta a couple of times but somehow I never got it right. So I had eventually given up on ever making my husband’s favorite dish for him.
This time when my best friend was visiting us, she had mentioned about this easy pressure cooker Bharta recipe that her sister-in-law makes. KR has been pestering me since then to get it from her and make it for him. 🙂 Feeling pity for him, I noted down the recipe from my friend. Though I was not yet convinced on my cooking ability to pull of a Baingan Bharta. Let me tell you how it’s traditionally prepared. The eggplants are roasted over fire and then peeled. It is then cooked with different spices and ingredients to form a mashed curry. It is a very popular dish up north of India. When I realized that this particular recipe does not require any roasting, I had my doubts.
The next day, I anyways went ahead with my plan to make it for KR. While he was excited, I was skeptical. Here is what I did. Heat oil in a pan, temper cumin seeds, then fry ginger, garlic and green chillies till the raw smell disappears. Now add the onions and saute till they turn translucent. Next add the tomatoes and salt. Saute till they turn soft. Add the dry spices like Homemade Turmeric Powder, Dhania Jeera Powder and chilly powder. Mix well.
Peel the eggplants and chop them. Add them to the pan along with green peas. Mix well and let it cook for a minute. Now transfer this to a pressure cooker, add water and give it 3-4 whistles. You can even directly prepare this in the cooker itself. Once it’s done, transfer it back to the pan. It will still appear watery at this stage. Let it cook in the pan for 5-6 minutes, till the water evaporates. Lastly add Homemade Garam Masala. Mix well and garnish with cilantro.
The delicious Baingan Bharta is now ready as KR would say it.
I served it to him for dinner along with wheat naan and he was all praise of the dish. I had not tasted it yet. He kept insisting that I give it a try but I was not keen.
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 inch ginger - minced
- 4-5 garlic cloves - minced
- 3-4 green chillies - chopped
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2-3 to matoes - finely chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp dhania jeera powder
- 1 tsp chilly powder
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 cup green peas
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Cilantro for garnish
- Heat oil in a pan, temper cumin seeds, then fry ginger, garlic and green chillies till the raw smell disappears. Now add the onions and saute till they turn translucent. Next add the tomatoes and salt. Saute till they turn soft. Add the dry spices like Homemade Turmeric Powder, Dhania Jeera Powder and chilly powder. Mix well.
- Peel the eggplants and chop them. Add them to the pan along with green peas. Mix well and let it cook for a minute. Now transfer this to a pressure cooker, add water and give it 3-4 whistles. You can even directly prepare this in the cooker itself. Once it's done, transfer it back to the pan. It will still appear watery at this stage. Let it cook in the pan for 5-6 minutes, till the water evaporates. Lastly add Homemade Garam Masala. Mix well and garnish with cilantro.
- The delicious Bhaingan Bharta is now ready.
Finally I gave in and took a piece of naan from his plate and dipped it into the gravy. Lets just say that we both later fought for the dish and licked it off our bowls. I highly recommend this dish for you. If it could convert a non eggplant eater like me to savor this dish, then I am sure that all of you out there will love it. I still miss my mom’s recipe and continue to avoid eating eggplant..until I make Baingan Bharta someday again soon. 🙂
If you do try this recipe, please do share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This will keep me motivated to develop more interesting recipes. Click a pic and post it with the hashtag #cookiliciousveg . I would love to see your pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!