I absolutely ADORE Indian food. I could probably eat Indian food every day, and be perfectly happy. The husband however, would not be. Sadly, he doesn’t care for the smell or the taste of most Indian food. Lucky for me, he doesn’t complain as long as I only make it occasionally.
I found this recipe for eggplant bhurtha a few years ago, and even with the occasional substitution, it always turns out delicious! The ingredients are relatively customizable, as are the spices.
I typically serve this dish over rice, or with an Indian style bread such as naan or chapatis. If I have yeast on hand and plenty of time, I usually make naan. However, if you find yourself running short on time or ingredients, chapatis is your best bet. Chapatis is made using whole-wheat flour, salt, and water. How simple is that! Chapatis is also lower in calories and fat than naan, so it’s a win-win.
While I do have pictures of the finished chapatis bread, I completely forgot to take pictures throughout the process. I’m sorry! It won’t happen again. No worries though, it is very easy to make and I will leave detailed instructions below.
Onto the bhurtha!
Preheat your oven’s broiler on high, then slice off the stem of your eggplant. Rub the eggplant in a bit of olive oil, and place on a baking sheet. Broil for 30 minutes or until the skin is beginning to blister and bubble. It should look like this:
After the eggplant comes out of the oven, carefully slice the eggplant lengthways. You will want to scoop the flesh out of the skin, and put it aside. I know, I know. It looks gross. But don’t be deterred by its looks: it’s going to be delicious!
After the eggplant has cooled down, place it on a cutting board and give it a quick chop. When you’re done, it should look like this:
Now, set the eggplant aside, and heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan on medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds and let them cook until they begin to pop and turn golden brown. Be careful! They are easy to burn. Once the cumin is golden brown, add the onion, garlic, and the ginger powder. (*The original recipe calls for a tsp of fresh ginger, but since I didn’t have any on hand, I used approximately 1/8 tsp of ground ginger).
Cook until the onion is translucent, or about 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes along with the rest of the spices (including salt and pepper).
Cook for about 5 more minutes, and then add the eggplant and the peas.
Turn the heat down to medium low, and cook for about 15 minutes. At this point, I usually like to take about half of the bhurtha and puree it in the food processor. I really like my bhurtha to have a spreadable texture, but still retain some larger pieces of onions, tomatoes, and peas.
Serve with chapatis or other flat bread.
Eggplant Bhurtha: serves 3
- 1 large eggplant
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 medium onion, sliced or rough chopped
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- finely chopped cilantro (optional)
Preheat the oven’s broiler on high. Rub a bit of olive oil on the outside of the eggplant. Place under the broiler, and cook until the skin is blistering and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Carefully cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and scoop the flesh out of the skin. Discard the skin; chop up the flesh, and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds, and let them crackle for a few seconds and turn golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. Add the onion, ginger and garlic; cook and stir until the onion is translucent. Stir in the tomato, and season with turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Cook and stir for a few minutes.
Place the eggplant and the peas in the skillet, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until some of the moisture evaporates. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
Nutrition Info: 166 calories, 9.9g total fat, 7.4 g dietary fiber, 398mg sodium, 4g protein, 55µg Vitamin A, 18mg Vitamin C, 35mg Calcium, 1.3mg Iron
Chapatis: makes 10 pieces
- 2 cups (225g) whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
Place the flour and the salt in a bowl. Mix with hands. Form a well in the center, slowly adding the water a bit at a time. Mix well after each addition, using your hands. It is very important that the water is added little by little! If you add it all at once, the dough will be too wet.
Once a smooth dough is formed, turn it out onto a flat, floured surface and knead for 7-10 minutes. Then cover the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the plastic wrap and separate the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll out each piece, then set aside. The rolled out dough should be thin and round, like a tortilla.
Heat a skillet on high. Once steam begins to rise from the surface, lower the temperature to medium, and add the first rolled out chapatis. Once the dough starts to puff up and bubble, flip the chapatis, and press down on it using a clean dish towel or a spatula. Flip one more time, then remove from the skillet. Wrap in tin foil to keep the chapatis warm until ready to serve. Repeat with each piece of dough.
Nutrition info, per flat bread: 88 calories, 0.4g total fat, 116mg sodium, 3.2g dietary fiber, 0.3mg Iron