It felt like almost every day in India we were discovering new food and recipes. But there were several dishes that we kept going back to, one of our absolute favourites was baingan bharta - and the similar doi begun from Bengal. For baingan bharta, aubergines are usually cooked whole over an open fire, then peeled, thoroughly mashed, and mixed with a spice paste.
This was the first time we tried making this dish ourselves, and we made a few adjustments to the classic recipe. Instead of cooking the aubergines whole, we sliced them and grilled them on the barbeque to enhance the charred smokey flavour, leaving the skins on for texture, before gently mashing them and combing with the onions and spices. Like they do with bengali doi begun, we finished our dish with a covering of natural yogurt, and enjoyed it with fresh chapatis.
Recipe (serves 2-3)
- 2 large aubergines
- Plain natural yogurt (or coconut yoghurt)
For the spice paste:
- 1 tbs ghee or coconut oil
- 1 tomato
- 1 onion finely sliced
- 1 small piece of ginger, crushed
- 1 crushed clove of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 or 2 dried red chilles
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1. Start by making the spice paste.
Add the butter to the pan and fry the cumin seeds and dried chilles for 30 seconds. Then add the onions and cook until well tanned. Finally add the ginger, garlic, turmeric and garam masala and tomatoes and cook for another 3-4 mins.
2. Cut the aubergines into chunky slices and season with salt. Grill on the barbeque (or roast over an open fire) until well charred and cooked through. They may look a little burnt but this is exactly what you want.
3. Remove the aubergines from the grill. Using a fork gently mash them and combine with the spice mixture.
4. Heat through, cover with yogurt and serve with chapatis.