Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Smokey, Sweet, Perfect With Pita. Eggplant Bharta

   There's a big holiday coming up here in the US of A, and that's Independence Day, aka, the 4th of July. Now the Canadians just had Canada Day last week, the French will be celebrating Bastille Day on the 14th, but this week is our turn and the traditional way in which people in the US  celebrate is they start firing up the grill. Among the burgers, dogs, ribs, corn, etc that find their way to the flames this time of year, around our house I'd have to add one thing more. Eggplant.
   
   If you've never roasted an eggplant you've really been missing something. Smokey, melty and delicious, nothing quite beats preparing an eggplant this way. Another good thing, no open flames are necessary. If you can't get a fire, an oven works too. Of course, you won't get all the extra smokey flavor with an oven but it definitely works. Over the years, I've roasted eggplants to be used in many recipes and one of the most popular is this eggplant bharta, smokey and sweet with a bit of local honey. I served it a couple of weeks ago at a vegetarian tasting dinner I had for some friends and it was quickly gobbled up or rather scooped up with grilled pita bread wedges.  Which is why I 'm sharing this recipe now. 

   This is a perfect dish for all July 4th cookouts, plus those white eggplants. When I saw them at the Sonoma Organic Farmers Market, I knew they were going to wind up on my table and no, white eggplants taste no different from purple eggplants,
   
 

Eggplant Bharta



Here's What You Need:

 3 eggplants (about 3 cups)
1 and 1/2 cup of onions finely chopped
6 Tbs peanut powder
1 and 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp tamarind concentrate mixed with 3 Tbs water
6 tsp honey (or molasses for a vegan dish)
3/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp kashmiri chili or 1/4 tsp pprika mixed with 1/4 tsp cayenne
3 Tbs of vegetable oil
3/4 tsp brown mustard seeds
Fresh cilantro

Here's What To Do:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (if you're using an oven) otherwise fire up the grill.
Poke the eggplants all over with a fork so they don't explode while cooking. Rub them with a bit of vegetable oil.
Place the eggplants directly on a grill or over the flame of your stove, like this.


(You can also roast them on a cookie sheet on the top rack of a 450 degree oven.)

Roast them until the skin is charred on the outside. Rotate them as you cook.
Once they're cooked, let them cool and peel them.


Place the peeled eggplant in a bowl and mash them.

Chop the onions finely.

 Mix them into the eggplant along with the peanut powder and salt. Set it aside.


In a small bowl mix together the honey or molasses, garam masala and chili.
Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet. When it's hot, add in the mustard seeds.
When the mustard seeds start to pop, pour the mustard seeds and oil into the tamarind, honey chili mixture.

Pour the honey, tamarind and mustard seed mixture into the eggplant.


Mix it together well.
Scatter finely chopped cilantro across the top of the dish and serve it up.

   I served this with wedges of grilled pita bread and assorted crackers for dipping, spreading and general mopping up purposes. It's also great just on a plate with a lot of other dishes, but the thing I really love about this is its' appetizer/keep a crowd happy til the food comes potential. Crunchy, sweet, spicy, and smokey this eggplant's got it all.

   Coming up next, using record breaking heat to make pickles, with carrots. Yeah you heard me right. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

2 comments:

  1. I love bharta very much, especially if it made eggplant bharta,, when i goes to my hometown my grandmother makes bharta for me and is very delicious.Egg Breakfast Quesadillas

    ReplyDelete
  2. Eggplant never tasted so good!!

    ReplyDelete

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