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  • Baingan Bhartha
    Roasted Eggplant

    YIELD: 5 CUPS / 1.2 L
    TOOLS: You’ll need a baking sheet; a fork; a sharp knife; a deep spoon or ice cream scoop; a large mixing bowl; a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L sauté pan; and a traditional or immersion (stick) blender.

    I typically serve this with a side of crackers at my cooking demos, and it’s always the first dish to disappear. Eat it as a snack or traditionally with Indian bread. The roasted eggplant is downright addictive and oh, so easy to make at home.

    • 3 medium eggplants with skin (the large, round, purple variety)
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 large yellow or red onion, diced
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and grated or minced
    • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and grated or minced
    • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled (optional) and diced
    • 1–4 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • Roti, lentils, and Kheera Raita) or Naan slices, crackers, or tortilla chips, for serving
    1. Set the oven rack at the second-highest position and preheat the broiler to 500°F /260°C. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to avoid a mess later.
    2. Poke holes in the eggplants with a fork and place them on the baking sheet. Broil for 30 minutes, turning once. The skin will be charred and burnt in some areas when they are done. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.
    3. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit lengthwise from 1 end of each eggplant to the other, and pull open slightly. Scoop out the roasted flesh, being careful to avoid the steam and to salvage as much of the juice as possible. Place the roasted eggplant flesh in a large mixing bowl—you’ll have about 4 cups / 950 mL of it.
    4. In a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm the oil. Add the cumin seeds and cook for 40 seconds, until the cumin seeds sizzle and turn reddish-brown. Add the coriander and turmeric, stir, and cook for 30 seconds.
    5. Add the onion to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes, until slightly browned. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
    6. Add the tomatoes and fresh chiles to the sauté pan and cook for 3 minutes, until the mixture softens. Add the eggplant flesh and cook, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, for 5 minutes. Add the red chile powder and salt and stir to combine. Remove from the heat. At this point, you should also fish out and discard any stray pieces of charred eggplant skin.
    7. Using an immersion (stick) blender or a traditional blender, process the mixture. Don’t overdo it—there should still be some texture.
    8. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve traditionally as an Indian meal with the Roti, lentils, and Kheera Raita or as a dip with the toasted Naan slices, crackers, or tortilla chips.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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