Eggplant curry – known as Baingan Bharta in Hindi – is a quick & easy weekday meal that’s packed full of flavour. Eggplant is flame roasted until the skin is burnt and blackened and the flesh inside is tender and juicy. It’s then mashed and cooked with pungent whole spices, fiery and fresh green chillis, and copious amounts of garlic. The end result is a melt-in-your-mouth smoky extravaganza of flavour.
Every household across India has their own way of making Baingan Bharta. The recipe varies across states, whether that be Punjab, Gujarat or Maharashtra. The Marathi name is Vangyachi Bharit, whereas in Gujarati it’s called Ringan No Oro, and in Bengali Begun Bhorta. They are all variations of the same dish with subtle differences. The amount of spices, use of tomatoes, and how ‘wet’ the curry is differs.
Tender and juicy eggplant is smoked to perfection, then cooked with the freshest of ingredients. That’s Baingan Bharta – an Indian classic.
Is Baingan Bharta Vegan and Gluten Free?
Yes! This recipe is suitable for anyone who is Vegan. It’s also Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free and Nut Free. It’s really an excellent people pleaser that’s bursting with flavour!
I personally love to top Baingan Bharta with a dollop of Ghee and let it melt over the curry. You can find some great Vegan Ghee brands online or even just use Vegan butter!
Can I still make this dish if I don’t have a Gas Hob?
Yes, you can. If you do have a gas hob I highly recommend cooking it directly on the stove-top over the flame as it gives the most beautiful flavour and is the easiest way to cook it. However, if you don’t have access to a gas hob you can still make this beautiful dish.
Instead of using a Gas Hob you can try any of these options:
- Barbeque / BBQ – This is a delightful way to infuse a smoky flavour into the eggplant. Cooking on-top of coals will give the most beautiful flavour and aroma – even better than on a gas hob! Just make sure that you don’t have the height too high to allow the eggplant to cook fully.
- Gill/Broiler – Simply rub the eggplant with a little oil (optional), poke a few holes in the skin, and place it on a lined baking tray. Grill it for 20-30 minutes at 250 degrees. The eggplant should have beautifully cracked skin and be cooked all the way through.
Baingan Bharta is incredibly easy to make:
In-fact, this is one of the simplest Indian meals you can cook!
- Roast the Eggplant whole until burnt and smoky.
- Make a quick ‘masala base’ – just a few whole spices, onions, and tomatoes fried in oil with one or two spice powders.
- Mix them both together and cook for a few minutes.
- Garnish with Coriander, serve with Chapati/Naan and then dig in.
This Recipe Is …
- Suitable for Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free and Nut Free diets
- An authentic Indian dish, made just like in Indian homes
- Full of smoky flavour from flame roasting
- Perfect for serving with Chapati or Naan
- Easy and ready in less than 30 mins
- Budget Friendly & requires only a few ingredients
If you’re interested in more Vegan recipes, why not try my most popular recipe, Vegan Chickpea Curry, a stuffed Eggplant spicy curry Bharli Vangi, South Indian lentil stew Mixed Vegetable Sambar, or Vegan Kebabs made from Soy Chunks?
- 1 Large Eggplant/Aubergine
- 1.5 tbsp Sunflower Oil or Neutral Oil of choice
- 1/2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Green Chilli, finely chopped
- 20g Onion, finely chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 40g Fresh Tomato, finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/2 tsp Extra Hot Chilli Powder
- 25ml Water, optional
- 2 Strands Coriander (Stalk & Leaves), finely chopped
- Begin by roasting the aubergine*. Keeping it fully whole, balance it on your stovetop pan-supports on top of a medium sized ring. Set the heat to medium-high and leave it to cook. This will take 20 minutes total, and within this time you will have to occasionally turn off the flame, turn the aubergine over, and then turn the flame back on. This will ensure even cooking. Do keep a fan on or windows open as it can get smoky.
While the aubergine is cooking use this time to prep all your ingredients.
- Peel the aubergine. Once the 20 minutes are up, your aubergine should be looking nicely charred. Turn off the heat and carefully move the aubergine onto a plate. The skin should easily peel off, or you can use a small spoon to help you. Peel as much skin as you can from the aubergine but don't take off any flesh.
- Next, cut the top of the aubergine (where the stalk is) off completely. Then use a small knife to cut vertical lines down the aubergine. Now repeat the same thing but in the other direction. Turn the aubergine over and do this once more. The idea is to cut the aubergine into small pieces. I like to do this on a plate as juices can leak out of the aubergine which contain a lot of flavour, and I don't want to waste them.
- Cook the aubergine. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan or Kadai over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and wait for them to 'pop'. As soon as they pop add the cumin seeds and green chillis, and fry for a few seconds before adding both the onion and garlic. Now sauté this mixture for around 1 minute, or until the onion is just beginning to brown. Next add tomatoes, mix and cook for 1 minute before adding salt and ground spices. Mix everything well and add the mashed aubergine to the pan. Add 25ml water, mix well, and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Finally, add your chopped coriander to the pan and give everything a final mix. Serve hot. (Serving recommendations below)
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
How to Serve Baingan Bharta?
Baingan Bharta tastes fantastic served with any kind of Indian flatbread. My go-to is Chapati/Roti, but equally good and just a little bit more special would be some Garlic and Coriander Naan – perfect for mopping up all the extra oils! You could even try serving it with Palak Puri – Spinach and Eggplant are a classic combination.