Eggplant often gets a bad rap. On its own, its’ not that interesting a vegetable, but loaded with spices, olive oil and other flavors, it takes on a whole other dimension. Think of the eggplant as a sponge. It takes on the flavors that you add to it. I must admit that before testing this dish, I had never roasted an eggplant. I’ve thought about the idea, but eggplant slices soaked in olive oil usually end up on my grill and served in many different ways. That’s the end of it. But now I think of the beautiful eggplant with its deep purple skin in a whole new way.
Roasting the eggplant in the oven couldn’t be easier. Make a slit in it so it doesn’t explode, place on the oven rack, turn on the timer and come back 30 minutes later and you are ready to mix it into something special – like this Baingan Ka Bharta – Indian for eggplant salsa.
This recipe is the beginning of your lesson in how to use a roasted eggplant, for you can create many other dips with it as well – the Middle Eastern BabaGanouj, for example!
We made the Baingan Ka Bharta in our Indian Cooking Class in May. Guest Chef, Zenith guided us through all the Indian spices and flavors to add to our Baingan Ka Bharta. She added some color with the red bell pepper that we had roasted before class along with the eggplant.
The team of Iris and Lynda sailed through this recipe and had us singing their praises as we chowed down on this salsa with some fresh Indian naan bread and our Mango Lassis. The sustenance inspired us to prepare the most amazing Indian meal we ever tasted! (Post on our Indian meal to come).
Baingan Ka Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Salsa)
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 Tbs canola oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 Tbs ginger root, minced
- 1 clove garlic clove, minced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place eggplant on oven rack and roast 30 minutes or until the eggplant feels soft on the inside and the skin is wrinkly. Remove from oven and place on the counter or cooling rack to cool, about 15 minutes. When able to handle, remove skin or scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
2. While eggplant is cooling, place canola oil and onions in a skillet and cook until the onions are translucent. Add ginger root, minced garlic, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook for a few minutes. Add in eggplant mush (after skin is removed) and cut up the eggplant meat with wooden spoon. Also add in roasted red pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes until all flavors are incorporated.
3. Mix in half of the cilantro. Spoon onto serving platter and garnish with remaining cilantro. Serve with pita chips or naan bread.
Servings: 8 or 3 cups, 69 Calories per Serving
Preparation Time: 10 minutes, Cooking Time: 40 minutes, Inactive Time: 20 minutes, Total Time: 50 minutes
Oven Temperature: 400°F