Sometimes I feel that Indian restaurants are in cahoots with the Oil and Gas lobby. They seem very supportive of Big Oil. A visit to an Indian restaurant ensures that you will be treated to many flavors of oil cooked with vegetables and meat. There is definitely flavor to be had in Indian food without necessarily having to drown it in oil, but I think restaurants and some of the traditional cooks seem to miss it.
Anyway, enough of my rant, on a recent trip to an Indian restaurant, we ordered some Baigan Bharta (Baigan is Hindi for Eggplant. Bharta literally means a mush.). It was tasty, but, as expected, throttled with oil. Which reminded me of the simple principle of cooking eggplant – if you fry it, it will suck up oil. A healthy way to cook eggplant is add it precooked to dishes. A couple of healthy ways are – boiling and roasting. So here is a healthier way to cook Baigan Bharta. It is really easy to make and tastes
INGREDIENTS (Enough as a side dish for 4)
1 large eggplant
1 Tbsp oil ( I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/4 Onion – diced
2 Cloves of garlic – minced
2 Medium tomatoes – diced
1/2 tsp Shredded ginger
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
Salt to taste
1. Boil the eggplant in enough water till it more than covers till for about 10 minutes or until the skin starts to shrivel (you will need to turn the heat off to see the shrivelling. The heat keeps the skin puffed up). TIP: You can even roast a whole eggplant on a grill, cover it in cling wrap and then peel its skin off. It has great flavor. In fact, way better than boiling but it needs more work.
2. Cool the eggplant and peel the skin off. Cut the eggplant in half and lose the large chunks of seeds. If you haven’t ccoked eggplant before, not to worry, it should be pretty obvious. Even if seeds remain, don’t worry, we’ll smother them with the gravy.
3. Cut up the flesh of the eggplant in bute sized chunks. Set aside.
4. Heat oil in a saucepan and saute the onion and garlic, till the onion starts to get translucent.
5. Add the tomatoes, ginger and the spices (don’t add salt yet) and let it cook on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes.
6. Add the reserved eggplant, cover and let everything cook on slow heat for about 15 minutes. If it is starting to dry add a little water.
7. Add salt to taste. Serve with a bread of your choice.