Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Eggplant Bharta

I haven't been blogging about food quite as frequently as I once did, but one thing I've become pretty addicted to over the last year is Indian food.  There's a place near my office that has a lunch buffet, and I find myself craving it about once a week or so.  Since I don't always go every week, I've taken to making my own versions at home.  Chana masala is probably my favorite dish, but the other night I had an eggplant ready to be used.  I don't know about you, but pretty much the only two things I can ever think of to do with an eggplant is make eggplant parmesan or grill it with other veggies.  That's kind of limiting.  I remembered that there was an indian dish with eggplant (that's the good thing about going to a buffet where you can try different things), and started googling recipes.

I basically made this one, adapted for a smaller portion and minus/plus a few ingredients.

Eggplant Bharta

1 eggplant
1 small/medium onion sliced or diced (whatever you prefer, I sliced mine thinly)
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic chopped very fine
1" piece of ginger grated fine
1 gentle shake of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon) - optional for heat
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tbsps finely chopped fresh cilantro
Plain yogurt (optional)

Preheat oven to 450.  Cut eggplant in half and place cut-side up on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 25 minutes until flesh is soft.
About halfway through eggplant cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and cook onions til softened.  Add cumin, garlic, and ginger and continue cooking a few more minutes.  Then add the rest of the spices and the tomatoes and continue cooking.
When you eggplant is finished, scrape the inner flesh from the purple shell (carefully, it'll be hot) and place on a cutting board.  Using a kinfe and fork, kind of chop it up and then add it into the pan with the onion mixture.  Cook about another 10 minutes to blend the flavors all together.  Add cilantro and yogurt if desired.
Serve with nice or nan.

It's a great vegetarian dish and something to mix up your normal rotation of dinner options at home.  Enjoy!


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