A Glutton With Brains

"A gourmet is just a glutton with brains." Philip W. Haberman Jr.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Eggplant Bharta

Since my Freshman year in college I have gone through periods of vegetarianism. It all began with a few peta videos I had to watch for a class. I've had a complex relationship with meat ever since. Because of this, I have survived the last several years largely on tofu and eggplant. I know there are a lot of people who aren't crazy about eggplant but I've decided that if this is the case, you've probably had undercooked eggplant. Eggplant is terrible when it's not prepared well. Mainly, if it's not cooked all the way through. A half cooked eggplant is just nasty. I find this is often the case with most eggplant dishes I've ordered in restaurants. It often comes out undercooked and rubbery. But a well cooked eggplant is divine. It should be soft and luscious not hard and chewy.

Though this recipe comes from that same Ayurvedic cookbook I told you about, it's really a versatile dish. I've used leftovers on sandwiches with some veggies. You can use it like a dip. It goes well with chicken or pasta even. Plus, it's pretty easy. You can broil the eggplants while preparing other dishes.

Fit for a King Eggplant Bharta
from The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook

2 large eggplants

olive oil to rub on eggplants

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 large onion

1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

3 medium tomatoes, diced

1 tsp salt

Set oven to broil.

1. Wash and dry each eggplant. Pierce all over with a fork. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Broil on a baking sheet or broiler pan for about 45 minutes total, rotate halfway through. It will collapse and look mushy when it's ready to come out. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

2. Make a slit down the center of each eggplant and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Mash flesh with a fork. Discard peel.

In the meantime
3. In a large frying pan on medium high, heat oil. Add onions and cumin saute until onions are golden, about 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt. Cook until tomatoes soften, about 4-5 minutes.

4. Add mashed eggplant, reduce heat to medium low and cook for another 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Serve hot with rice. Garnish with cilantro for a little extra color.

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