Brinjal or Eggplant (as it is known in American English) or Bengan (as called in India) may not be a favourite vegetable for many but if cooked properly with the right ingredients can bring out the best taste out of it. Though it will sound little awkward for vegetarians, but I try preparing it with egg. That is how I have seen my mom preparing this dish. To bring out its authentic, smoky taste back at home in Assam, my mother roasts the brinjal directly on a high flame in the gas and then peels off the skin. But for the fear of getting my hands burnt, I place it on an old pan, cover it with a lid and toss it around in small intervals so that it gets roasted from all sides. The pan will turn all black but I would get just the smoked taste I wanted from the brinjal. Some times when I do not have time, I even microwave it to make it tender.
‘Bengan ka Bharta’ is a big favourite with my husband. Even today when I buy brinjals, my husband would coax me into preparing bengan ka bharta and would not prefer having it in any other form. The word of caution however is that since many of us are allergic to this vegetable (many tend to get throat constriction or itchy mouth on consuming it), it is best recommended to drain out the watery (slimy) substance that comes out of it after it is roasted. This will prevent to some extent of getting an irritation in the throat and mouth.
Brinjal – 1 large
Onion – 1 large finely chopped
Green chilli – 1 or 2 finally chopped, depending on taste
Ginger – A small piece
Tomato – 1 (though I have not used it in my case but it will enhance the taste)
Egg – 1 (beaten)
Oil – 2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Finely chopped Coriander leaves
You can add to it spices like Jeera powder, dhania powder, chilli powder, besides haldi and salt.
Method of Preparation
- Rub the brinjal with mustard oil and roast it till it is soft by placing it on a pan. Put the gas on a slow flame so that it does not get burnt. You can also cover the tawa with a lid.
- Depending on the size of the brinjal, it will take around 15-20 minutes for it to become tender. To check its tenderness, prick it with a knife to see if it is done from inside.
- Leave it to cool for some time, but you need to take care that you do not leave it for too long. You might find it difficult later to take out the skin.
- After peeling off the skin, mash it using a masher.
- Fry oil in a pan and temper it with cumin seeds till it crackles. Now fry the onion and chilli together and after it turn slight brown, add the chopped tomatoes.
- Grate the ginger using a hand grater and mix all of these together.
- Add all the spices (salt, haldi, jeera powder and dhania powder)
- After oil starts separating, add the beaten egg and sauté it well for some time, say 2 minutes
- Now add the mashed brinjal and mix everything properly.
- Garnish it with chopped coriander leaf or even kasuri methi would taste good. Serve it hot.
– Samrita Baruah