Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mushed Eggplant (Begun Bharta)

Eggplant is an incredible vegetable that creates delicious dishes in all cultures. It is, in fact, one of my most favorite vegetables...its tastes wonderful whether in curry, grilled, baked or smushed! Here is the way I prefer it most with just some roti or plain rice - you don't need anything else. It's got a distinct eggplant flavor, spicy, tangy and just a whole lot of delicious flavors that slowly blooms in your mouth.

You can start with any eggplant, the big round ones are in season now and available plenty in the bazaar so that's what I used this time but thinner long eggplants work too. Oh, the green eggplants are very savory too.


1/2 an large round eggplant
1/2 sliced onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 dry red chilies
salt to taste
mustard oil to sautee

1. Heat about 2-3 tbsp. of mustard oil, add the onions and sautee till golden and translucent.

2. Add the garlic and cook through. The oil will foam, it is normal.

3. Add the dry red chilis in the oil and let gently roast till it puffs up slightly.

4. Stick the half eggplant on a fork and char roast over an open flame. Blacken it completely till it is cooked inside.

5. Let the eggplant cool and gently remove the burnt skin.

6. Place in clean bowl and add the mustard oil, onion, garlic and chili and smush and mash it all together. Add salt to taste.

Thats it!!

The same onion, garlic, chili and mustard oil mix can be used to make other smashed vegetables like roasted pumpkin, boiled beans, boiled potatoes, fresh coriander leaves (gently fry it in the oil and use a blender with tiny bit of water to puree it), fried fish...there are no limits.

Mustard oil is a staple in a bengali kitchen mainly used in bhartas and fish curry. It should be only used with vegetables and fish, meats are not that tasty at all with it. Its also used in many snacks like puffed rice and tomato dish...that's another recipe!

Mustard oil is like vinegar or soy sauce, there can be many grades or types. Fresh ones or good ones have a very strong smell and a spicy odor, older oils have a faint odor and much more tame spice. The best flavor comes from the stronger oils.

Mustard oil can be found for consumption and body oil-a little odd yes, but its a natural heating agent. So, its a great oil to use for winter and applied to the body in the winter naturally heats the skin keeping you warm. But, the pungent odor and staining can hamper a regular lifestyle ;)

More on mustard oils on another post and some natural remedies with it!



stranded on earth said...

Thank you for posting this great, easy-to-read recipe. I'll be sure to check out your other recipes, too.

A New Yoker... said...

Thanks for stopping by!, Let me know how the recipe turns out :)

stranded on earth said...

The bharta turned out delicious! The eggplants were too heavy for me to char roast it; it was taking too long. So, I oven-roasted it instead.

I like your photographs. What kind of camera do you use?

A New Yoker... said...

Glad you enjoyed it :)
I use a simple digi cam Samsun L100. Do you have a blog?

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