Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mashed & curried Eggplants {Baigan Bharta}

These past few days I have been exhausted – not because of work but because I have been fasting.  Abstaining from food and water from sunrise to sunset – but that is not the difficult part.  Believe it or not, the difficult part is when you can eat at sunset.  Many always ask me, “So you have a really huge dinner then when you break the fast?”  To which I reply, “On the contrary…even a small fruit can fill you up so easily and you have no desire to eat more”.  But why do people fast?  Why do people abstain from food and drink?  Is it healthy?  These are questions that also come up when people know I am fasting.

First of all my religion asks of me to fast every year from the 02nd to the 20th of March.  Fasting has been common in most religions.  It is a time to pray and meditate and connect to my inner spirituality.  Considering all this, I spent my time preparing simple dishes and keeping it light every night.

The Fast is over and spring is in the air.  The scene at the markets have changed and you see a dwindling in the seasonal winter vegetables and fruits.  Luckily aubergine or brinjal or egg plant as you call it is an all season versatile vegetable.  The word 'Bharta' (pronounced BHURR-taah) refers to dishes in which the ingredients are roughly mashed either before or after the dish is prepared. Bhartas are largely North Indian in origin and made from all sorts of vegetables.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4


½ kg purple eggplants or brinjals
2 medium sized red onions
2 medium  tomatoes
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
A sprig of curry leaves
1 teaspoon garlic paste
½ cup coriander leaves
1 teaspoon jaggery
3 tablespoons corn oil


  1. Steam and mash whole brinjals and keep them aside.  
  2. Chop onions and tomatoes. 
  3. Heat oil and add garlic paste.  Fry for a minute.  
  4. Add chopped onions and fry for a further couple of minutes.  
  5. Now add the tomatoes, jaggery, chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and turmeric powder.  Allow to cool.  
  6. Add mashed brinjals.  Cook till oil floats on top.   
  7. Serve hot as a side dish with chappatis.

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