Indian Curry/Stew

Hara Baingan Bharta /Spicy Mashed Roasted Eggplant

This dish formed a quintessential part of the lunch served on Makar Sankrati [an Indian festival] in my grand mother’s house from as long as I can remember.The comfy platter with kaali urad dal khichdi [black lentils with rice],hara baingan ka bharta [roasted eggplant], dahi [yogurt], mooli [parsnips], homemade ghee [clarified butter] and achaar[pickle] are my best kept ways of remembering and celebrating Makar Sankranti till now.

As mentioned before in my previous post,my grandmother’s house has a big vegetable garden. Almost all the winter lunches were served there on a charpai [four legged cot]under the bright winter sun amid the home-grown decor of spinach, methi, cauliflower, garlic, onions,cabbage, radish, carrots etc. I have very fond memories of sitting on the charpai with lunch plate in my hand and picking up fresh leaves of garlic and onions and eating it with the meals. The taste of unwashed, organic stuff was unmatched under the warm rays of sun. I am a survivor of these homemade foods and authentic Indian dishes.A mention of winter lunches still takes me back to my granny’s vegetable garden and the food relished there during all my growing years.

In India,still the sil -batta [type of stone grinder] is used for grinding fresh spices for food, for making the chutneys and for other chores of the kitchens, I saw my mom using sil- batta to grind the herbs for making this dish.Those times were different with machines not being very popular and not widely used,hence the food preparations took more time and effort.You can see images of sil-batta here. Last week,her modern world grand-daughter prepared it in her American kitchen using a blender 🙂 Of course, its difficult to recreate that sil- batta texture even by using a 12 speed blender but I guess that’s what moving and adapting with times is all about!Afterall,its the era of fast and easy food 🙂

Okay coming back to the recipe,this hara baingan bharta was made only once a year on makar sankranti.If you ask me,I do not know why. Maybe because it paired the best with the meal served on that day or maybe its got something to do with nip in the air.Talking. of which , I can really relate to the fact that the best cilantro,mint and other herbs are available in India during winters and since this recipe requires these herbs,may be that’s the reason! I wanted to make this bharta for a long time but was waiting for the temperatures to fall down. As a kid eating these recipes ,I never thought that I would be recreating them some 2000 miles away from home, in a new country, with modern age equipments and serving them to someone who came into my life[aka my husband] much later than I learnt all these things.There are so many times I miss while making all this, the company, the family, the laughs, the warmth, the festivals, home but I guess life takes on its course,for good. I m doing what I am doing right now for some reason! Thts my karmaoh sorry I am deviating … so I should stop now.

Coming back to food,in hindi green color is hara ; eggplant is baingan and bharta is a word used for any sort of mash. So this is green colored mashed eggplant …how easy is that!!!Now you need a lot of fresh cilantro/coriander leaves for this dish.If you are not a cilantro person, use parsley but frankly I havent tried it so I can’t comment on how it will taste.Another shining and irreplaceable ingredient is raw mustard oil which gives the bharta a pungent taste.If you find the taste of raw mustard oil very strong , just cook it slightly beforehand but for the authentic flavor, I recommend raw mustard oil, that’s where the actual bharta taste lies! If you want to use olive oil or sesame oil , go ahead and use it and just don’t call it a bharta then…call it a dip or relish ! The whole point is using a slightly pungent and strong flavored oil.Please refrain from using canola or vegetable oil…it will not work in this recipe.Also, I like my bharta on the spicy side so you will have to cut down the green chillies from what I have mentioned in the recipes if you like less hot.The recipe is darn easy with minimal basic ingredients.

What I need :

  • 1 eggplant, big and fat
  • 1.5 cups of  fresh cilantro leaves [about 1 bunch][clean the leaves properly to remove all dirt and grit]
  • 3-5  green chillies [adjust to taste]
  • 1 ” shoot of fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder [anchoor] [can be subsituted with fresh lime juice]
  • 1/2 cup red onions , finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp raw mustard oil for drizzle
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil for tempering
  • Salt to taste

How I did it :

Roasting the Eggplant: Do any one of the following

  • In Microwave : Micro the eggplant in a microwave-safe dish for about 7-10 minutes till the eggplant is tender and spongy to touch.
  • In Oven : Preheat your oven at 400 F. Put the eggplant on a cookie sheet or any oven safe dish and bake for about 40-45 minutes.
  • In Broiler : Heat the broiler to 425 F and broil the eggplant till the skin is charred.You will need to rotate the eggplant in between for even cooking on all sides
  • On Stove Top [This is what I do]:Line the dripping pan of your burner with foil or the aluminium foil drip pans available in stores.Roast the eggplant on high flame on all sides till its soft and the skin is charred.

Making the Bharta :

  • Once cooked ,let the eggplant cool a bit. Once cool to handle, peel off  and discard the skin. Transfer the skinless eggplant to a bowl and using a fork or potato masher , just mash the eggplant thoroughly. [please do not use blender]. Set aside
  • In the blender add the cilantro leaves,green chillies, salt , dry mango powder and make a smooth paste with minimal amount of water [if needed].
  • Next, mix this cilantro paste with the mashed roasted eggplant, 2 tbsp of raw mustard oil  and set aside.
  • In a small pan , heat the 1 tbsp oil on high till it starts smoking slightly.
  • For tempering :Once hot enough, add the chopped garlic and ginger and saute for 1-2 minutes till they start browning. Next add the chopped onions and cook till the onions are dark brown in color but not burnt.
  • Just when you are ready to serve,to the mashed eggplant add the tempering and mix well.
  • Serve warm immediately with chapatis or parathas [flatbreads]


  1. The taste and flavor of raw mustard oil is really strong, so adjust the amount of mustard oil as per your palate.
  2. To add more texture, you can add raw chopped onions, bell peppers, cucumbers etc to the mash and use it as a dip/relish.

Eggplant on FoodistaEggplant

Sending this to Meatless Mondays

Sending this to Only-Low oil or Low Caloriehosted by Priya and started by Pari

Sending this to Any one can cook series at Taste of pearl city

Sending this to Hearth n Soul #16

Sending this to Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays

Sending this to Vegetarian Foodie Fridays #20

43 thoughts on “Hara Baingan Bharta /Spicy Mashed Roasted Eggplant

  1. I’ve never seen an Indian eggplant dish like this. It looks so good!

    I’ll need to make it very soon, however, I think I’ll end up skipping the mustard oil just because I probably couldn’t find it. Is there another oil that would work as a substitute, or possibly mustard paste or powder with oil?

  2. Very beautiful presentation tanvi,lovely recipe too, heard a lot abt this dish but never got a chance to try it out…looks delicious,will try tis soon

  3. Hi Tanvi – Thanks for suggesting sesame or olive oil. I think there is a small Indian grocer in my area but Ie didn’t see mustard oil whn I was last there (where I learned that . I might check again or just use the sesame oil (I have lots of that!).

  4. What a bright and beautifully vibrant dish! It must be extra special to be made only once a year. I loved hearing about your memory of eating in the garden – how lovely!

  5. I am never an eggplant lover mainly when it comes to the charring process…But if my hubby sees this dish he will surely jump in the screen and goble it up…….

    1. Kamalika,
      My husband is your brother and I m your husband’s sister going by what you say…I hope that makes some sense 🙂

  6. Tanvi, am super interested in kaali urad dal khichdi, sorry but do you plan to cook? looking fwd :P..loved 1st and 3rd pic! oh yes i know grinding in sil -batta bring amazing texture and best is the taste, as these modern mixer change the real taste from the heat produced by motor…..but can’t we import them to our NRI’s home? 😉

  7. Hey Tanvi,

    I nev er knew that baingan ka bharta can be made this way as well. A very innovative and tempting recipe 🙂

  8. Tanvi, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful memory of your grandmother’s home and winter meals as a child. I will be sharing it on my hearth and soul hop highlights on my thoughts on friday at a moderate life because I find it such a joy to hear how other’s grew up and grew to love food! Thanks for linking to the hearth and soul hop again this week! alex@amoderatelife

  9. This looks fantastic, it’s just a pity my boyfriend won’t go near eggplant so it’s sort of pointless making this just for me. 🙂

  10. Looks very delicious, nice preparation. Roasting the eggplant will definitely add up some taste to it. Thank you for sending it to the event.

  11. What a vibrant, colourful spicy dish. Sounds delicious! My grandmother used a sil-bata (in Malaysia). I used to love watching her, this tiny woman, grabbing the large stone and rolling it back and forth to make spicy pastes for the curries. I don’t know what’s happened to that stone, I wish I had it. Thanks for bringing back memories.

  12. Grrr…you kids and your modern appliances 😉 LOL! This sounds fabulous…I love the color of it, too. I am so in love with Indian food right now. Thank you for sharing this with the hearth and soul hop this week 🙂

  13. Now that the weather has cooled just a touch, my cilantro is making a comeback, and I’d really love to give this recipe a go. Thanks for sharing with with the Hearth and Soul hop. Your posts are always so wonderful and a perfect fit for the spirit of the hop.

  14. I never knew that we can roast baingan in oven also thanks dear ….this green dish is attracting me a lot….I bet this would have tasted well also….very nice shots dear

    Hamaree Rasoi

  15. I felt like I was in your granny’s garden and I know I would love this dish! Thank you for sharing it with us at the hearth and soul hop!

  16. I really enjoyed reading your post. And this recipe looks soooo good! You write with similar devotion to food that my best friend does. In fact, I am sending her a link to your blog so she knows what I mean. Thanks for linking at Vegetarian Foodie Fridays!

  17. I love bharta and make it quite often but never tried to grind the cilantro and add it in. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Love your recipes and l might have mentioned earlier but I do love cooking in mustard oil and the unique flavor that it imparts.

  18. I tried this tonight and it was fantastic. You are absolutely right about the unique flavor that mustard oil contributes to the dish. The only thing I changed was that I doubled the aamchur powder. Thank you.

Leave a Reply