Roasted Eggplant Dip - Baingan Bharta

February 27, 2012 2 Comments

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind.

Teaching classes. Traveling. Promoting my new Spice Tiffin in Williams-Sonoma stores around the country. Launching a new spice line. Driving the kids to and from school, piano, tae kwon do, and swimming. Doing laundry. Cooking. Making dinner. Reading, changing, and rereading the edits on my new book, Vegan Indian.

I often feel the futility, like drinking from a fire hydrant.

As I type, I'm (Sun. 02.26.12 9 p.m. pacific) I'm sitting at the airport in Seattle waiting for the red-eye back to Chicago. I land at 5:10 a.m .. head home..and start making lunches for the girls. The one time saver is that I'm traveling in my workout gear so I'll head straight to the gym for bootcamp. (Now you know one of my secrets - sleep in your clothes as much as you can get away with it!:)

I won't lie - it's not easy keeping it all together in the midst of launching a new company and developing a new brand, but what helps is all of you. So, stay with this blog and I promise I will continue to update it with fun, exciting recipes and cool pictures.

For now, I want to share a recipe from my upcoming book, Vegan Indian. Those of you who know Indian cuisine intimately, you'll know this as Baingan Bharta. For those of you that don't, I call it Roasted Eggplant Dip.

Granted, in North India, we eat this roasted, blended and spiced eggplant with roti or rice, but in my cooking demos I've been serving it up as a quick eggplant dip with toasted pita chips. I refer to it as 'an Indian version of Baba Ganoush' and people actually get it. Like it. Love it. And ask for more. That's what happened this weekend at the Williams-Sonoma in Bellevue, where I was signing copies of my current book. First, can I say what an honor it was to see copies sitting on the shelves of Williams-Sonoma?


Try making this eggplant dish or dip yourself and you'll be absolutely amazed by how easy it is - especially if you keep my Spice Tiffin handy. Travis, the amazingly wonderful manager of the store in Bellevue (he took my cold call one weekday and immediately had me in to cook and demo), would love, love, love to sell you one, so stop in soon and pick one, two, or like me a dozen up for all your cuisine categories and spice needs. He and Dianna, their culinary director there can even help you with spices to fill your box. I personally have 2 boxes for Indian, a box for Italian, East Asian, baking, Oatmeal Toppings, Soup, Sundae Sprinkles, and even one for everyday Tabletop. Spice Rubs, Specialty Salts - the possibilities are endless.

If you purchase one of ours tins and email me, I'll even send you the spice categories I've created for each cuisine. The plan is to eventually make clear labels for the box and inner containers but for now you can use the categories I've created to give you ideas on how to group your spices.

For now, here's that eggplant recipe that not only makes perfect use of the spices in your box, but also gives you a fun, healthy, and alternative way to spice up eggplant. One thing to note - there is no curry powder here!

Roasted Eggplant Dip
Baingan Bharta, makes 5 cups

3 medium eggplants with skin (purple variety)
2 tablespoons oil (canola, vegetable, or grapeseed)
1 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 large yellow or red onion, peeled and diced (2 cups)
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated or minced
8 cloves garlic, peeled and grated or minced
2 medium tomatoes, peeled (if possible) and diced (1 cup)
1 - 4 green Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed, chopped
1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

  1. Place oven rack in second-from-top setting. Preheat oven to broil. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet to avoid a mess later.
  2. Poke holes in eggplants to release steam and place on baking sheet. Cook them in oven for 30 minutes, turning over in between. You want the outside skin to be charred and the eggplants to look sunken when they are done. Take tray out of the oven and let eggplants cool for 15 minutes. Take a sharp knife and cut a slit lengthwise from one end of an eggplant to the other. Pull the eggplants open slightly. Carefully scoop the inside eggplant 'meat' and put into a bowl. Discard the skin, and make sure you pick out any skin that ends up in the bowl.
  3. In a deep and heavy pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add cumin and cook until the seeds sizzle, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add coriander, garam masala, and turmeric. Mix and cook another 30 seconds.
  6. Add onion and brown for 2 minutes.
  7. Add ginger and garlic - cook for another 2 minutes.
  8. Add tomatoes and chiles, cook for 3 minutes until the mixture softens and thickens.
  9. Add the 'meat' from the roasted eggplant and cook for another 5 minutes, mixing occasionally to avoid sticking.
  10. Add red chile and salt.
  11. Blend this mixture together using an immersion blender or a traditional blender. Serve with toasted pita chips, rice, roti or naan.

Have fun with this one -- spread it over toasted bread or spooned into a baked potato. Some folks even asked me to jar it and sell it to them. Hm...they got me thinking!

2 Responses


April 17, 2012

i made your roasted eggplant dip recipe(baingan-bharta). In a word… WONDERFUL!!! and sooo EASY!!
i served it hot with chickpeas on a bed of steamed spinach and brown basmati rice.
the amount lasted a few days,so i enjoyed it cold as a dip as well as another meal!!
Thank you, Anupy!!!


April 20, 2012

Hello Anupy,

I love cooking, but not as much after my daughter is born. I was looking for some simple ways to cook healthy and tumbled upon yr videos in all the news channels. Later I visited this website and was very happy to see Indian cooking been taken to another level. I am still intimidated by slow cooker as I haven’t seen anyone use it and I will be the first one to experiment on it. I really liked the rajma, lamb biryani and would like know more about soups. Will you please post some soup recipes on your blog? How do we know how much time will it take for any new recipe? or do we have to follow the cookbooks and try not to experiment much?

You have lovely daughters. god bless you..

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