|Aubergine( baigan Bharta) with Crusty bread and zesty sour cream|
Baigan bharta can be served as a main course dish with Rice and Phulkas. Baigan bharta is a traditional Indian Aubergine mash eaten for main course.
However this is my take on the traditional recipe to suit all the palettes. Although some people make pâté in a terrine or a bread tin, the recipe I am showing here is rather simple and would not require that. Aubergine pâté can be served with crusty bread, a perfect vegetarian dinner party starter. This is also a make a head dish, so less to worry on the day you have to serve. It can be served warm. I serve mine with zesty sour cream it goes so well with the Aubergine mash but replacing it with some salad or chutney is also a very good idea.
If you are a vegetarian this is a perfect recipe for you, and if you are a vegan you will only have to skip the sour cream.
Serves: 3 to 4
For the Baigan Bharta / Aubergine (Eggplant) Mash/ pâté
One firm glossy and heavy Aubergine
3 small onions finely chopped
3 small tomatoes finely chopped
1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
3 to 4 Curry leaves (optional for the pâté)
1 green chilly seeds removed chopped (optional)
A pinch Hing/ asafetida (optional for the pâté)
½ tsp. Cumin seeds
½ tsp. Mustard seeds
½ tsp. Chilly powder (optional for the pâté, substitute with Black pepper)
Turmeric powder (1/2 tsp)
Coriander powder (1 tsp)
Blanched Peanuts crushed (1/4th cup)
Water (1 cup)
A tbsp. Oil
Salt to taste
Coriander to garnish
To serve (for pâté)
A loaf of Crusty bread or as required per serving.
Sour Cream (2 -3 tbsp. per serving)
Zest of a Lime (grated rind of 1 lemon)
Step 1 (Smoky Aubergine)
Although there is a long list of ingredients you can skip some of the ingredients for the pâté.
Start by scoring the aubergine ( not too deep, roughly to ease removing the skin after its baked), massage a little oil all over the aubergine , cover it with foil place it on a baking tray and place in the oven for 220ᵒC ( for a fan assisted oven, for other ovens 220 to 250ᵒC will work) and bake for about 40 minutes, however check after 35 minutes between as you don’t want the aubergine to burn, just the skin has to turn brown and interior has to become soft ( as shown in the picture below) for a smoky taste.
Other way to do this, which is also slightly quicker way to do it is insert a fork in the aubergine and roast it to get a similar effect. However, it’s very messy and I can put it in the oven and forget about it so I use the oven ;).
1.Heat the oil in a large saucepan, Add the about a ½ tsp of cumin and mustard seeds each allow to splutter, if using curry leaves and a pinch of Hing add it now.
2. Fry the onions, ginger garlic paste and tomatoes( adding a little salt at this point will speed up the process) for about 12 – 15 minutes or until mushy. Add the spices and a green chilly, stir well. Add a ladle of water and cook on low flame, for a mushy consistency.
3. Check on the Aubergine, using a fork or knife, remove the browned skin; transfer the fleshy aubergine to a bowl and mash.
4. Add the mashed Aubergine to the tomato and onion gravy, cook for 5 minutes or until well incorporated. Adjust seasoning (add salt at this point) Add the crushed or powdered peanuts at this point. And turn of the heat. Garnish with finely chopped coriander
5. You could serve it at this point if serving as Baigan Bharta, if serving as pâté, blend it to a smooth consistency.
6. For the zesty sour cream, add the grated rind of a lemon to the sour cream.
7. Serve the pâté alongside the zesty sour cream and toasted or griddled crusty bread.