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Grandma’s Famous Bhartha

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Let’s try and recreate a traditional delicacy from the past – the famous Baingan Bhartha… charcoal-smoked aubergines that bring back memories of the delightful flavours and aromas wafting from Grandma’s kitchen. There’s just one problem: our swank modern-day kitchens don’t have charcoal-fired ovens – so we’ll have to sacrifice the “charcoal flavour” that Grandma’s Bhartha had. But other than that, this recipe is completely authentic down to the last detail.

The ingredients you require for recreating this traditional dish are:

  1. Aubergines (Baingan): 1 Kilogram, large

  2. Onions: 150 grams

  3. Tomatoes: 500 grams

  4. Ginger: One 10-gram piece

  5. Mustard Oil: 250 millilitres

  6. Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: 1 teaspoon

  7. Kashmiri Deghi Mirch: 1 teaspoon

  8. Green Chillies: 4

  9. Salt: to taste

  10. Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: For garnishing


Preparation:

Apply a thin layer of Mustard Oil on each aubergine. Skewer the aubergine and roast it over an open flame. Keep turning and roasting till the skin of the aubergine blackens and begins peeling off. Remove the aubergine from the skewer and immerse it in a pan containing water. Allow it to cool. Repeat this process for each aubergine. When the aubergines have cooled, remove the stem, peel the aubergines and chop them coarsely.

Finely chop the onions.

Finely chop the tomatoes.

Peel and finely chop the piece of ginger.

Remove the stems of the green chillies, and wash, slit, deseed and chop them.

Wash and coarsely chop the coriander leaves.

Method:

Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a Medium flame. When the oil reaches its smoking point add the cumin seeds and sauté till the seeds begin to splutter. Add the onions and continue to sauté till the onions take on a transparent texture. Now add the ginger and continue stirring and frying the contents for half-a-minute or so.

Reduce the flame to Low heat and add the Kashmiri Deghi Mirch and salt. Keep stirring. Next, add the tomatoes and keep stirring.

Add the chopped aubergines and keep frying and stirring for around 5 minutes. Add the green chillies and keep stirring.

Remove the pan from the flame and transfer the contents to a serving dish. Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.

Your traditional Baingan Bhartha is now ready to be served. This dish is usually eaten with Roti or Naan.

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