Saturday, February 19, 2011

Baingan Bartha (Mashed/Pureed Eggplant/Brinjal Indian-style)

Baingan, in Hindi means eggplant/brinjal/aubergine. Bartha means a mash-up or a mess, literally. Hence, this dish is a soft mixture of eggplant with tomatoes, onions, garlic, coriander cooked with selected Indian spices. I should mention that this is popular in the Northern India and I, being a South-Indian have tasted it(and loved it) in restaurants serving North-Indian fare. The original recipe I used, is from my chithi, who is well-versed in not just North-Indian and South Indian food but even Mediterranean, Mexican, Thai and Oriental cuisines.

I was not a big fan of brinjals until I was married and was shocked (slightly) when I knew my hubby loves them! Nevertheless, I wanted to cook brinjal for him. So, I started frying them well (for dry brinjal curry), added stuff like onions, roasted peanuts, and gradually, started liking eggplant over time :)

Baingan Bartha is recommended even for eggplant-detesters! Yes, the spongy nature of brinjal and its unique taste can be camouflaged by adding tomato-puree and onions and spicing it up with masala powders!

Choosing good quality eggplants is important and that determines the taste of your final dish as well. I prefer to buy firm ones with bright n shiny skin, not wrinkled and without any brownish spots/patches, and use them within 2-3 days of buying.


Brinjal/ Eggplant - 2 (if long and slim like the ones I used), or 1 big fat one
Onions (chopped) - 1 cup
Tomatoes - 2
Tomato puree - 4 tbsp
Cilantro (Coriander leaves) - 1/4 of a bunch
Green chillies -3
Garlic - 4 pods
Ginger (shredded) - 1 tsp

Oil - 4 tbsp ( for massaging the skin before burning them + for tempering/tadka )
Cumin seeds (jeera) - 2 tsp
Dhania-jeera powder (coriander+cumin powder) - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Pav Bhaji or Chole Masala - 1/2 tsp


  • Wash and clean brinjals and pat them dry. I didn't hunt for the real fat brinjals, that's supposed to used for the recipe, but these were pretty good too.

  • Apply oil all over the skin of eggplants and microwave for 10-15 minutes.
  • The traditional recipe calls for roasting the eggplant on direct flame to give it a smoky flavor. But I use microwave or oven for speedier cooking! :P
Two of them have their skin on, while the one at the bottom has been peeled off.

  • Allow it to cool and then peel off the skin. When using the flame, the peelability test tells us whether the brinjals are ready or not. Continue to heat more, if the skin does not easily come off. Mash-up the flesh of brinjals. You can also chop some of them, if you like to see whole cubes in your dish.

  • Take a kadai or a pan, heat 2 tsp of oil, splutter cumin/ jeera seeds.
  • After a minute, add the chopped onions and fry for one more minute. Add a little salt(1/4 tsp) for the onions.

  • Now, make a paste of tomatoes, green chillies, garlic and coriander leaves and add to the kadai. Fry till the raw smell vanishes.

  • I like to add tomato puree at this stage. This is optional, of course. I looove the rich tomato taste. The puree (I use Heinz) comes in handy especially when you don't get fresh, ripe and juicy tomatoes. 

  • Mix in shredded ginger and stems of coriander leaves. This gives a nice crunch between the soft mashed-up brinjal.
  • Add a little water and boil the mixture. 

  • When it becomes a little thicker, add the mashed flesh of brinjal. 
  • Add the spices - Red chilli powder, Dhania-jeera powder, Garam masala, Turmeric powder. 
  • Check for salt and add if necessary.

  • Let everything get mixed up together. The final consistency should be thick and pasty and not liquidy. Whirl them all together for a while.
  • Finally sprinkle 1/2 tsp of pav bhaji masala or chole masala and mix. Your baingan ka bartha is ready to go :)

This makes a good combination with chapathis, rotis, phulkas or even plain rice.


  1. Hey Divs this is one thing I wouldn't add chat masala to. The taste comes out when you let it simmer until it becomes quite thick and tastes of the NICELY toasted (for the lack of a better english word) awesome stuff. Try that next time. Or when I make it next I'll bring some to office. :)

  2. Sure, Pri :) Thanks for that tip!


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