This is a fairly simple and much loved dish in many parts of India.
Even those who generally do not like aubergines wouldn’t mind a helping of baingan bharta.
Despite the simplicity, there are many regional variations, however minor, that make it taste very different from one region to another, depending on whether it was made using mustard oil, or smoked or not, or the spices and masalas that went in etc.
Here is my version which is as simple as it can get, and just the way I love it.
No spices, minimal oil, the flavours of the brinjal, tomato and onion just shine through in a delicious medley.
Aubergine – 1 large
Onions – 2 large (finely chopped)
Tomatoes – 1 large (I used 2, because I like it tangy!) finely chopped
Chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves – 2 tablespoons (finely minced)
Oil – 2 teaspoons
Salt – to taste
1. Roast the aubergine directly on a low flame (or better yet, on hot coals or bbq if possible!), turning from time to time, till the skin is charred and the inside is cooked. Alternately, broil in an oven after coating the skin with a little oil. Or boil. The last two methods may not provide that characteristic smoky flavour that is such an important component of the flavour.
2. Carefully peel and discard the charred skin. Lightly mash the flesh with a fork and keep aside.
3. Cook the onions on a low flame in the oil adding 1/4 teaspoon salt till well cooked and light brown.
4. Add the tomatoes and continue cook till soft and till the oil starts to separate. The water from the tomatoes should slightly dry up.
5. Add the mashed aubergine and heat through, further mashing it lightly in the process.
6. Turn off the heat, mix in the coriander.
7. Serve hot with rotis or parantha.
8. Works great as a dip with chips or pita bread, too.