Baingan Bharta (Indian Eggplant) | Healthy Ethnic Food Recipes

Easy, quick to prep and scrumptious. This Baingan Bharta (Indian Eggplant) is a sure pleaser for the entire family. Roasted eggplant cooked in aromatic South Asian spices, simmered  in a thick tomato-pepper sauce and garnished with tangy lemon and cilantro. If you’re on the hunt for healthy desi recipes – with less oil, spices and salt – this is it! Best enjoyed with roti, quinoa, or lettuce leaves. Vegan and gluten free.

a bowl of baingan bharta topped with olives and chilli with lettuce leaves filled with baingan bharta (Indian eggplant recipe) withlettuce leaves filled with baingan bharta (Indian eggplant recipe) with lettuce leaves filled with bharta in the background

Baingan Bharta is one of our favorite South Asian recipes. It’s made by roasting eggplants until very soft. The skin is removed and the flesh is cooked with tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and spices. A delicious roasted eggplant dish, that is simple and doesn’t use too many spices, salt or oil – perfect for family meals!

Is Baingan Bharta Healthy?

Eggplant, also known as aubergine, or Brinjal in Urdu, is a good source of soluble fibre; which can help to slow gastric emptying. This delays the absorption of sugar in your blood – thereby supporting blood sugar control. Being a non-starchy vegetable, eggplant is low in carbohydrates; one eggplant provides under 100 calories, less than 1 gram of fat, approximately 20 grams of carbohydrate (less than two slices of bread), a whopping 12.5 grams of fiber and about 4 g of protein. Eggplant also is cholesterol free, contains almost no sodium, and ranks as a low glycemic food. You’ll notice that it has a tendency to soak up oil, so I love cooking it baigan bharta style – allowing you to be conservative with oil – without compromising on taste! Plus, with the addition of heaps of tomatoes and peppers and serving it with greens, makes this baingan bharta – nutrient-packed!

Is An Eggplant A Fruit Or Vegetable?

You may be surprised to hear that eggplant is actually a fruit. More specifically – a berry! Available all year round, it actually peaks between August-September.

How To Make Baingan Bharta – Step By Step

step by step preparation images of how to make baingan bharta

  • Start by preparing all the ingredients and roasting the eggplant. Wash and dry the eggplant and pierce all around with a knife or fork – before roasting (Images 1-2).
  • To speed up the process, I rely on my mini food processor to chop the onions and garlic (Image 3).
  • After washing your vegetables, chop the tomatoes and pepper into small cubes and finely chop the chilli (Images 4-6).
  • Once the eggplant is cooked through and cooled, carefully peel off the skin and mash the flesh (Images 7-8).

step by step cooking images of how to make baingan bharta in a red cooking pot on the stove top

  • In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat, and fry the cinnamon and mustard seeds (Image 9).
  • When the mustard seeds start crackling, add the onion-garlic mixture (Image 10), and fry until medium brown. I like my onions this way 🙂
  • Go in with the peppers and cook on medium-high for 3 mins (Image 11), before adding in the curry powder and cumin (Image 12).
  • Stir the onion-pepper spice mix for 1 minute, and add the tomatoes (Image 13). Cook on high heat, and continue to stir – preventing the mixture from burning. You want the mixture to be soft and mushy (about 5 minutes).
  • Stir in the mashed eggplant and chillies (optional), cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes (Images 14-15). Add salt and lemon juice, stir and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  • Finish your baingan bharta with garam masala and cilantro (Image 16).

lettuce leaves filled with baingan bharta (Indian eggplant recipe) with 2 bowls of bharta next to them

Best Ways To Serve Baingan Bharta

With back to school season round the corner, I’m eager to keep things super simple in the recipes department. I love how versatile this baingan bharta recipe is. I mean, just look at the few ways we enjoy this dish:

  • Pizza: We love to use this baingan bharta to spread on rotis, tortillas and bread. With a sprinkle of cheese, this recipe transforms into a mouthwatering pizza – fast and snappy!
  • Pasta: It serves great as an addition to pasta sauces to create a runny and veggie packed sauce, that pairs beautifully with pasta.
  • Dip: Feeling adventurous? Throw a portion of baingan bharta in the blender, add some cooked chick peas, and va va vroom! You have your very own baba ganoush recipe…perfect as a dip for your veggies. Why not spread on toast for breakfast, to create a nourishing meal!

Top Tips For Making Baingan Bharta

  1. Choose the big round variety of eggplant to create this recipe. Be careful to pick ones that have a bright shiny surface, and no marks or indentations.
  2. Be patient and allow the eggplant to roast for the full 45 minutes. You want to make sure it’s fully cooked through – before removing the skin.
  3. Be safe and wait for the roasted eggplant to cool before peeling.
  4. Use your fingers to peel and avoid food waste by scraping off any flesh from the skin.
  5. Don’t discard any juices and add them to your dish – you want all that gorgeous flavor!
  6. Cook on medium-high throughout and keep stirring to prevent burning
  7. Allow the complete 20 minutes of simmering as this ensures that all the flavors come together nicely to create a luscious dish.
  8. Add more chillies if you’re after a hot kick!

lettuce leaves filled with baingan bharta (Indian eggplant recipe) with 2 bowls of baingan bharta next to them.

More Vegetarian Lunch And Dinner Recipes You Might Like:

Have you wondered how to roast brinjal? What’s your favorite way to enjoy eggplant? Have you tried my Baingan Bharta recipe? Leave me a comment below!

If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and twitter!  Can’t wait to see your photos.

Desi~liciously Yours,
Shahzadi

Baingan Bharta (Indian Eggplant) | Healthy Ethnic Food Recipes

Easy, quick to prep and scrumptious. This Baingan Bharta (Indian Eggplant) is a sure pleaser for the entire family. Roasted eggplant cooked in aromatic South Asian spices, simmered  in a thick tomato-pepper sauce and garnished with tangy lemon and cilantro. If you’re on the hunt for healthy desi recipes – with less oil, spices and salt – this is it! Best enjoyed with roti, quinoa, or lettuce leaves. Vegan and gluten free.

  • 3 eggplant (large, washed)
  • 1 onion (large, peeled and finely chopped)
  • 3 garlic (cloves, medium, finely chopped)
  • 1 pepper (large, orange, cut into small cubes. Red and yellow peppers work well too)
  • 4 tomatoes (large, washed and chopped into small cubes)
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2 inch)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1.5 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 green chilli (optional. Feel free to add more if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup cilantro (fresh, washed and finely chopped. I use the stems too)
  1. Preheat the oven to 420 degrees F. Using a sharp knife or fork, poke around each eggplant.

  2. Roast the eggplant in the oven for 45 minutes, turning at 25 minutes. You want to ensure the eggplants are cooked through.

  3. In a large pot, on medium-high heat, add oil and fry the cinnamon stick and mustard seeds. Once the seeds start crackling, add the onion and garlic. Fry until medium brown.

  4. Add the peppers and cook until soft (about 3 minutes) followed by the curry powder and cumin. Cook for an additional minute, to allow the spices to release their flavor.

  5. Add the tomatoes and cook on high – stirring continuously to prevent burning. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and mushy (about 5-7 minutes).

  6. Stir in the mashed eggplant and chilli (optional). Cover and cook on low heat for 10 mins minutes, stirring occasionally.

  7. Add salt and lemon juice, stirring to mix well. Cover and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

  8. Finish with garam masala and cilantro.

  1. Choose the big round variety of eggplant to create this recipe. Be careful to pick ones that have a bright shiny surface, and no marks or indentations.
  2. Be patient and allow the eggplant to roast for the full 45 minutes. You want to make sure it’s fully cooked through – before removing the skin.
  3. Be safe and wait for the roasted eggplant to cool before peeling.
  4. Use your fingers to peel and avoid food waste by scraping off any flesh from the skin.
  5. Don’t discard any juices and add them to your dish – you want all that gorgeous flavor!
  6. Cook on medium-high throughout and keep stirring to prevent burning
  7. Allow the complete 20 minutes of simmering as this allows all the flavors to come together nicely to create a luscious dish.
  8. Add more chillies if you’re after a hot kick!
  9. You can roast the eggplants in advance and place in the fridge until you are ready to prep the whole dish.

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