Baingan Bharta

For almost a year, I have been trying to find the perfect Baingan Bharta (smoked eggplant curry) recipe. I follow one of my favorite vegetarian Indian chef's Manjula on Youtbe. Although her recipe (and many others) was good it lacked the "roasted" flavor I was seeking.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nINxnKIx8H0
Through countless attempts, following recipes to the tee, and experimentation, I finally figured out what was missing- black cumin seeds and black cardamom.


If you don't like eggplant, this recipe may change your mind.
Ingredients:
 ¼ tsp oil
1 Eggplant 


Tomato Mixuture:
2 medium size tomatoes
1 green chili
¼ inch piece of ginger



Tardka (Tempering):
3 TBSP oil
1 black cardamom

¼ tsp black mustard seeds
¼ tsp asafetida or hing 
¼ tsp black cumin
½ tsp cumin


Masala (Spice Mixture):
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp red chili or paparika

2 TBSP chopped cilantro
½ tsp salt adjust or to taste


¼ tsp garam masala



Directions:
It is better to measure all ingredients and put them in groups, right next to the stove.
  1. Use ¼ tsp oil to coat eggplant, pierce in various places with a fork, and broil eggplant for 30-45 minutes.   This will make the eggplant easy to peel after it's cooked. Peel eggplant and chop finely, you do not want large chunks.
  2. Blend tomato mixture until smooth and set aside.
  3. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in wok or large pan on medium heat. When oil is hot add add cardamom seed then add the mustard seeds. When the seeds began to crackle, add the asafetida and both cumin seeds. Sauté for 25-30 seconds.
  4. Add tomato mixture. Stir well and allow it to cook, stirring occassionally as the oil begins to seperate. 
  5. When much of the moisture has begin to disappear (6-8 minutes), stir in the masala mixture except for the garam masala, and cook for 2 mintues.
  6. Stir in the chopped eggplant and cook another 7-8 minutes. Stir continuously, this will ensure the well mixture of the tomato puree and eggplant.
  7. When the curry becomes red in appearance, add the garam masala and stir well to incorporate. 
  8. I like this curry best with cumin flavored rice, but for those that are not gluten intolerance, roti is also an excellent choice. 

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