Bharta – Smoked Eggplant Dip

Bharta is a smoked eggplant dish popular in the villages of Punjab. It is usually served with greens, bread, and lassi.

Yield 4 servings
Time 90 minutes
  • knife
  • cookie sheet
  • plate
  • non-stick frying pan
  • wooden spoon
  • large eggplant (about 1½ pounds)
  • 4-5 T peanut, canola, or olive oil
  • 1 c minced onions
  • 2×1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or minced
  • 1 c ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ t ground cumin
  • 1/8 to ¼ t cayenne
  • ¾ t salt
  • 2-3 T cilantro or parsley, chopped
Directions Preheat oven to 450.

Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, score the face of each half with the knife, and brush or drizzle with a bit of oil.

Bake or grill: If baking, place eggplant face up on cookie sheet and put in oven. If grilling, place eggplant face down over medium heat.

Cook for 40-50 minutes, until eggplant is black and soft. (Smaller eggplants will take less time.) Transfer to plate to cool, then scoop out the flesh (discard the skin) and coarsely chop.

Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat, add onions, and sauté, stirring frequently, until they begin to turn brown. Add ginger and stir for one minute, then add tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes, until slightly reduced. Stir in cumin, cayenne, and salt, then add chopped eggplant. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve hot.

Notes Bharta can also be served at room temperature as a dip and chilled as a spread.

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian.

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