This Mashed Indian Eggplant (Baingan Bharta or Baingan ka Bharta) may be one of the easiest Indian recipes that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or cooking. Mashed eggplant/aubergine is cooked with garlic, onions, ginger, Indian spices, and chopped tomatoes. Serve it as part of a vegetarian meal or as an appetizer with naan bread.

An Indian mashed eggplant dish with basmati rice and naan bread

The humble eggplant (which in my opinion does not have a lot of flavor) is fire-roasted and transformed into one of the most flavorful eggplant dish that could rival most Indian restaurants. If you’re one of the eggplant haters (I’m not a hater, I just don’t love eggplant), this Indian recipe will convert, I promise! 

This Baingan Bharta recipe hails from the Punjab state in North India. “Baingan” is Hindi for eggplant/aubergine, and “bharta” means to mash.

Indian spice combination

You can create many flavor variations depending on the spice mix. This easy Baingan Bharta gets its best flavor from spices like turmeric powder, cumin powder, and garam masala. Additionally, this eggplant bharta gets its spice from Kashmiri and Indian red chili powder, along with green chilies (which can be jalapeño or serrano peppers). The spice level is up to you.

You probably have all the spices in your spice rack, except for the Kashmiri. This can be found in Indian stores or simply ordered from Amazon.

A decorative bowl filled with mashed Indian eggplant

Garlic-infused eggplant

The first step is to cut slits into the skin and flesh, then place garlic cloves inside each slit. This imparts garlic flavor into the eggplant and softens them so they can be mashed.”

A unique way to cook eggplant/aubergine:

The whole eggplant is cooked over an open flame, imparting a slightly smoky flavor to the eggplant flesh as it cooks. The more charred skin, the smokier the flavor. Note: I prefer not to cover the skin in oil before charring, as it creates more smoke. This step can also be done on an outdoor grill or in the oven under the broiler (oven grill in the U.K.), or roast the eggplant in the oven, which won’t impart as much of a smoky aroma unless the skin is charred.

A closeup of mashed eggplant cooked with Indian spices

Optional additions to Punjabi Baingan Bharta

Peas. They can be fresh or frozen.

Serving Spiced Indian Eggplant Mash

My favorite way to serve it is like an Indian chutney with Warm Naan Bread or roti (I also have a recipe for gluten-free naan bread). I also like it as a side for Tandoori Chicken, or as a vegetarian meal with Vegetable Basmati Rice.

Yield: 4

Mashed Indian Eggplant (Baingan Bharta)

A round copper bowl with handles filled with mashed Indian eggplant and cilantro

Smokey eggplant/aubergine is mashed and cooked with onions, spices, tomato and cilantro/coriander.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant/aubergine (about 1 pound/510 grams) or 2 small
  • 4 small or 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons light flavored oil
  • ¾ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated
  • ¼ teaspoon red Indian chilli powder (kashmiri)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 small green or red chili pepper, finely chopped * see note
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped, seeds and juice removed ** see note
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro/coriander leaves chopped

Instructions

  1. Use a sharp knife to make a vertical slit in eggplant at even intervals. Wiggle the knife to make the slits wider and stuff each with a garlic clove.
  2. With your stove/cooker gas flame on medium, place the eggplant directly on the flame. Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated.
  3. Once you see the skin start to char, turn until the entire skin is charred and the eggplant is softened. Note: the more the skin is charred, the smokier the eggplant/aubergine will be. If the eggplant gets too soft, it will be hard to handle. If you don’t have a gas flame, you can broil/oven grill until the skin is charred.
  4. Place the charred eggplant/aubergine into a bowl, cover with a lid, plastic wrap or foil and allow to steam and cool.
    Once cooled, peel of the charred skin, add to a bowl and mash along with the garlic.
  5. To a frying pan, add the oil over medium heat. Cook the onion until softened, don’t brown, adjusting the heat as needed.
  6. Turn heat to low and add the ginger, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin, garam masala, salt and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring to cook the spices.
  7. Add the chili pepper and chopped tomatoes, cook until the tomatoes are softened, stirring often.
  8. Add the mashed eggplant and mix well. If too thick, add a little water to thin out to make it the consistency you like.
  9. Taste for seasoning, add more salt if needed.
  10. Stir in the cilantro/coriander leaves and serve hot.

Notes

* Add as much or a little as you like to adjust the spice level to your liking.

** You can also use a can/tin of chopped tomatoes drained of juice

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 170Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 0mgSodium 279mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 6gSugar 11gProtein 3g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.