Thursday, March 7, 2013

Punjabi Baingan Bhartha / Indian Eggplant Dish (vegan, gluten-free)

This is my favorite way to eat eggplant. Like green beans, I wasn't really a big fan of eggplant until I had them Indian I can't get enough! The amazing thing to me about the exotic flavors of Indian food, is that the main ingredients tend to be very similar, yet result is such a drastic difference in taste when adding a different vegetable. This dish is very filling and will serve four. Enjoy!

3 medium eggplants, whole

Prick eggplants with a fork or knife, and place on a lined cookie sheet. Bake at 450 for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until collapsing. Cool completely. (Often I bake these late in the evening and let them sit in the oven overnight.) Peel open and spoon out the fleshy part of the eggplant, seeds included. Set aside.

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
dash or two of salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it!)
1 tomato diced (or 1/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes)
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
1/2-1 tsp garam masala

Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a deep sauté pan or small stock pot; add onion, ginger and salt and cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic cloves and cook 1 minute more. Add turmeric and red pepper flakes and stir in well, cooking 1-2 minutes more. Add tomato, and cook until tomatoes appear glossy, like the coconut oil is separating from them (about 5 minutes).

Now, add in the eggplant flesh. Heat through and begin to crush or mash the eggplant while cooking about 10 minutes. The eggplant should be well mashed.

Add fenugreek leaves and cook another 2 minutes or so, then add the garam masala. It is important not to overcook the garam masala, just another minute or two.

All set to serve with fresh cooked basmati rice!

*gluten-free and soy-free, contains tree nuts (coconut).

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