Introductions may be in order since I have at least 1 reader in 3 different continents.
So. An eggplant is called
Baingan – Hindi
Begun – Bengali
Brinjal – most of India
Aubergine – elsewhere in the world
Eggplant – in North America
Melanzana – Italian and hence
Mad Apple – in old English
<Digression Alert #1: Interestingly from my lengthy 45.47759 second perusal of Wikipedia, the tomato, the potato and this here thingamajig are all distant cousins of the Nightshade family. As are capsicum and bell peppers. Fun fact, eh? Isn’t the internet the most wonderful thing? Educational! And if you are reading this still, entertaining. Well, maybe, not, but still you learned something didn’t you? Now put on that dress, perk up on those heels and wow them at the cocktail party with this scintillating conversation piece.
If you happen to be male, well, with those heels and that dress you won’t need scintillating conversation. >
So now we are going to make Baingan ka Bharta, which translates into Eggplant of Mashed, literally. What it is is a mash of eggplant innards ( this is 100% vegetarian, ji ) made into a spicy dip like thing.
So here we go:
1 large eggplant. Pick a smooth one, which feels heavy for it’s size. Caress it gently, feel the smoothness, let the …. uh sorry, got carried away!
1 large or 2 small onions
2 (at least) tomatoes
2 green chillies (1 if less adventurous, 0 if wimpy)
Pots and pans and things to stir with, Knives to chop with – the usual cast of things
A grill – No, I won’t tell you what a grill is or how to get one. You really want to know, eh? OK fine, read this then
Fire up the grill, and place the eggplant on. Medium high should do it. Keep an eye on it, turning everyonce in a while to ensure even cooking. No, you don’t have to chop the eggplant, just throw it on in it’s plump natural state.
<Sorry I have to have something swingy to chop vegetables to…>
Chop onions, finely. Chop tomatoes, finely. Chop chillies, finely. Done? Fine!
Go check on the eggplant, quick.
In a pot, sprinkle oil in and turn it on.
<Nooooo, you know what I meant, and it wasn’t what you’re thinking. Oh, you weren’t thinking it, but now you are? Well, sorry. Shall we go on?>
Insert onions into heating oil. Keep it down low.
<I won’t take that on, thus sparing you yet another silly digression.>
Meanwhile, the eggplant should be crustily charred on the outside and soft on the inside, just like someone I know very well. Transfer to a glass tray and peel the skin off the brinjal, aubergine, eggplant, baingan whatever you call it. Get rid of the skin, you don’t need it anymore.
Turn your attention back to the onions, they should be softening now, so add the tomatoes, and the rest of the spices and let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes. For those seeking precision, the exact cooking time is approximately 5.78452 minutes as measured by an hourglass.
When the oil rises to the surface and the tomatoes are all mashed into nothingness, introduce the eggplant to the stuff cooking in the pot ( or pan ).
Mash gently with spatula so the whole thing becomes one mash. Don’t go too crazy mashing it, as it pretty much comes together.
Let cook for another 5 minutes and you, sir, or madam, are done!
<Fun fact #2. The Romanians make something similar without the Indian spices. It is a delicious spread / relish / dip called Zacuscă. Let me see if I can get them to write the recipe down for me and I’ll share it if I do get it. Promise. >