Bhaigan bhurta is a traditional North Indian roasted, mashed eggplant accompaniment. The flavor profile and popularity of the dish inspired me to learn how to make it myself. Most dishes at Indian restaurants are creamier and richer than what I prefer to eat regularly at home. So, when I began to experiment with recipes, my main goal was to develop a recipe that retained the rich flavor, without the addition of heavy cream. 

The first crucial step to the success of this recipe is to roast your eggplant. Roasting vegetables is an easy way to add flavor to a dish. Plus, it helps soften your eggplant in the process. I recommend piercing the eggplant several times with a fork to allow for steam to escape the eggplant while it is roasting. When it comes out of the oven, it will look shriveled and deflated, but this means you roasted it well. Your eggplant is done when a fork or knife inserts into the eggplant without meeting resistance.

Once your eggplant is cool to the touch, slice it in half to reveal the roasted eggplant. It’ll be soft and mushy, which means you roasted it perfectly. You want to scoop out the inside of the eggplant, peeling it away from the skin and moving it into a bowl. I like to use a fork to mash the eggplant into smaller lumps once it is in the bowl so it is easier to eat when you complete the dish.

A medium-sized wok pan is perfect for making this dish because of the even heat distribution. It is simpler than other recipes because you use one pan for the tadka and the recipe. This lessens the likelihood of spluttering from the tadka since you are doing it in a relatively large pan. I like to use ghee as the base oil to give it a richer flavor since it does not have heavy cream, but you can adjust this to your preference. Don’t skip letting the ingredients simmer covered for about 15 minutes in order to help the flavors meld together. 

Bhaigan bhurta tastes delicious with roti or naan and as a side accompaniment to your meal. It is a great recipe to help get you more comfortable with the basic steps of making a desi dish. And, it is one of my favorite ways to prepare eggplant. I can’t wait to hear how the recipe works for you. 

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Bhaigan Bhurta

  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Sides

Scale

Ingredients

  • 18 ounces (500 grams), eggplant, whole, rinsed (roughly one large eggplant)
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 thai green chili, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 onion (about 2 cups), chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • Salt to taste, about 1 1/2 tsp 
  • 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Chopped fresh cilantro or green chilis for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking tray with foil or parchment paper
  2. Pierce eggplant with fork several times. Drizzle with olive oil
  3. Bake eggplant in tray for about 45 minutes, until fork or knife inserts smoothly without resistance
  4. Remove eggplant from oven and let cool to touch, about 20-30 minutes
  5. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and use spoon to remove cooked eggplant from skin and mash with a fork in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside
  6. Heat ghee in medium-wide saucepan over medium heat
  7. Test ghee by adding 1-2 cumin seeds. It is hot when the seeds immediately fizz in the ghee. Add remaining cumin seeds and fry for 1-2 minutes until golden brown
  8. Add green chili, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes
  9. Add onion and cook over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes
  10. Stir in mashed eggplant and cook for 2-3 more minutes
  11. Add spices: ground coriander, garam masala, chili powder, turmeric, and salt, and stir to combine
  12. Mix in diced tomatoes and bring to boil. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes
  13. Return heat to medium, stir in peas and cook for 3-5 more minutes
  14. Taste and adjust salt and spice to your liking
  15. Serve hot with roti or naan