Baingan Bharta


1 eggplant
2 tbsp. sunflower oil (or olive oil)
1/2 large tomato
1/2 onion (white or red), chopped
1 cup winter squash or pumpkin (completely optional, but adds a special seasonal element)
1 inch ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garam masala 
1/2 tsp. chili powder (or 1 tsp. fresh chilies, minced)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
Fresh cilantro


Prepare eggplant: Place oven on 'broil'. Slice eggplant in half and cover all surfaces with oil. Broil on baking sheet for 20-30 minutes until meat is tender and skin begins to turn black. Using a spoon, scoop out meat and set aside.

Prepare squash or pumpkin: Cut in large pieces and boil for 5 minutes (I used a small winter squash, and simply cut in half to boil). Using a knife, separate skin and cut into bite sized chunks.

Prepare tomato: Chop tomato OR grate using a cheese grater to separate the seeds and pulp (a little trick I learned from watching chef Madhur Jaffrey) and discard skin.

The fun part: In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute. Add cumin, garam masala, chili powder and turmeric. Saute for 1 minute. Add tomato, broiled eggplant and blanched squash/pumpkin and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

The extra part: Transfer mixture to bowl of food processor, pulse several times until slightly blended, but still chunky. If you do not have a food processor just skip this step, but chop the eggplant before adding to pan.

Garnish: Fresh cilantro


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