Monday, September 10, 2012

Baingan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Salad)

I'm not surprised they call this baingan bharta because it's totally bangin'. It might not look pretty (at least not this particular photo), but it's scrumptious - creamy, spicy and smoky. I can't help but compare it to baba ganoush and sorry baba g., but baingan bharta wins, hands down. If you make it for a party, be sure to have enough because you'll want to pull yourself up to the bowl and keep it all to yourself. It's so good, you'll find yourself craving eggplant (when was the last time you said that).

Yield: 4 servings

2 large eggplants
1 tablespoon sesame oil (or peanut oil), plus more for eggplant
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or peanut oil)
1 medium white onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small serrano pepper, seeded (if you want less heat) and minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and soft stems, minced (plus more leaves for garnish)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, plus more for sprinkling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups Greek yogurt, beaten until smooth

1.      Heat oven to 500º F.
2.      Line a baking sheet with foil. Make 3 slashes in each eggplant, from top to tail, equally distanced around the eggplant. Rub the eggplants with a little sesame oil. Sit them on the baking sheet and roast until soft all the way to the center and the skin is brown, about 45 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan and flipping the eggplants halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool.
3.      Once cool, skin the eggplant. Chop the flesh until it's relatively smooth but not mushy.
4.      In a large skillet, warm the sesame oil and vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion and saute until it turns golden brown. Add the eggplant flesh, garlic, chile and cilantro leaves. Cook 2 minutes. Add a splash of water if it begins to stick.
5.      Add the turmeric, cumin, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir and cook another 5 minutes.
6.      Turn off the heat. Add the yogurt and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, and garnish with cilantro leaves and a sprinkle of ground cumin. Serve either warm or slightly chilled.

barely adapted from Aarti Sequeira
raw eggplants
roasted eggplants
roasted eggplants (skins removed)
chopped roasted eggplant
raw onion
golden brown onion
adding eggplant, garlic, chile and cilantro
adding the yogurt (spices already mixed in)
baingan bharta

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