Baingan Bharta (Punjabi Eggplant)

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that growing up I was not an eggplant fan.  So why am I posting 2 recipes (Baba Ghanouj and this one) with eggplant within a month?  They became a part of my adult life and I learned what I was missing out on.
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I’m not sure about the timeline but I do remember maybe a few months after I got married, we had gone down to see my in-laws for the weekend.  Mom had made baingan bharta and I was trying to be nice so I ate it without telling her I was not a big fan of eggplant.  It was ingrained in me since I was a kid that you ate what you got, especially at someone else’s house without a fuss.  Man am I thankful for that specific rule!
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Though I took maybe only about a tablespoon’s worth (and spread it out so my MIL wouldn’t notice – yep…. totally resorting to childhood antics), baingan bharta became a new favorite of mine.  Since then, I have tried it at various restaurants and at home but nothing compares to the way my MIL makes it.  This recipe is hers and I’m excited to share it.
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Notes:
Try to pick eggplants with fewer seeds as this will give you more flesh and will be less bitter.  Male eggplants tend to have fewer seeds and to tell the difference, at the bottom of the eggplant, there will be an indentation.  If it is deep and shaped like a dash, the eggplant is female, if it is shallow and round, it is a male.
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If you do end up with an eggplant with more seeds, after roasting the eggplant, don’t skin it right away.  Let the eggplants sit on a tray and continue steaming to soften the seeds.
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You can store the roasted eggplant in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

From my Mother-in-Law’s kitchen to yours, we hope you enjoy this one!

Best Ever Baba Ghanouj

Growing up, I was never a fan of eggplant.  I’m not sure if it was the seeds, the flavor, or the way it was cooked but I just didn’t take to it.  So imagine my surprise when I went out to a Mediterranean restaurant with some friends and ended up loving my first bite of Baba Ghanouj!
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Yep.  It was love at first taste!

The smoky flavor, the silky texture, and a guilt free snack all rolled into one.  What’s not to love?

Roasted or Grilled?
I personally love it grilled either over the stove or especially on a bbq,  The flavor of the char stays in every bite which totally makes this recipe so amazing.

How do you eat it?
Baba Ghanouj is usually served as an appetizer with pita bread and crudités.  I have on occasion been known to add it to a Falafel bowl if I’m in the mood.  It tastes really delish!
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This particular recipe is made without tahini, which is a sesame seed paste traditionally used to make baba ghanouj and hummus.  I did add a lot of garlic and some cayenne and smoked paprika to enhance the smoky flavor.

food processor or by hand?
Honestly, both work but I prefer my food processor as it gets the job done quicker and I prefer a smoother texture.

Go ahead and try it out!  This recipe will not disappoint!
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