Indian Eggplant Curry (Bhaingan Bharta)

Indian Eggplant Curry (Bhaingan Bharta) is a flavorful traditional dish that is a true delight to make! This healthful vegan dinner recipe is perfect for those looking for a unique and nutritious meal!
Bhaingan Bharta - Indian Eggplant Curry #healthy #dinner #recipe

If you’re a fan of Indian food and/or love eggplant curry and haven’t tried making it at home, I highly suggest it! Eggplant curry has been one of my favorite Indian meals since I was in high school (so, 17,000 years ago).

I always assumed making Indian food at home was complicated and daunting, but I assure you, it’s not! 

The ingredients needed for this recipe are very basic: eggplant, tomato, peas (I use frozen), onion, ginger, and some spices.

With so few ingredients and the result of a marvelously healthy and delicious meal, there’s no reason not to dive in!

So let’s make it!

How to Make Indian Eggplant Curry:

  1. Begin by roasting the eggplant. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant in half length-wise, drizzle some oil on the flesh (so that it doesn’t stick to the baking sheet) and place the halves on a baking sheet flesh-side down. Roast 40-50 minutes or until the skin is brown and pulling away from the flesh. 
  2. While the eggplant is roasting, begin preparing the curry. Heat the oil to medium-high and add the cumin seeds. Toast the seeds for two minutes then add the ginger. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes until very fragrant, then reduce heat to medium and add the chopped onion. Sauté about 3 minutes before adding the garlic, habaneros, ground cumin and turmeric. Cook until onion is translucent, about another 8 minutes. If using frozen peas, add them now.
  3. Once eggplant is finished roasting, allow it to cool enough to handle and peel the skin off (it should come right off). Place the flesh in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the eggplant to the rest of the ingredients, reduce the heat if necessary and cook 5 minutes. Add the tomato (and the green peas if using fresh or canned peas), cover and allow to cook another 5 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Do a taste test and add salt as necessary. Serve over brown or basmati rice!

Bhaingan Bharta - Indian Eggplant Curry #healthy #dinner #recipe

One of my favorite Indian dishes is eggplant curry.  I posted an eggplant curry recipe last year, trying desperately (in vain) to re-create the eggplant curry from a great Indian restaurant in Reno; but after a Pinterest session brought me this recipe, I got one step closer and will definitely be making this one time and again. 

The original recipe calls for two spices I couldn’t find at the grocery store, garam masala and asafetida.  I bet these spices make a difference so if you know where to get them, definitely add them in.

I also used a couple of habaneros instead of green chilies because I was craving some (a ton of) heat.  If you have never tried eggplant curry or if you’re unsure whether or not you even like eggplant, try this recipe…it may surprise you!

Serving Suggestions:

May I suggest you serve this Indian Eggplant Curry with one of the following?:

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Add vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and/or potato if desired
  • Increase the amount of spice in the recipe
  • Replace habeneros with jalapenos or 2 Thai chilies
  • Add 1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk to make curry creamier and richer.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of Garam Masala and/or 1/2 teaspoon of asafetida 

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Bhaingan Bharta - Indian Eggplant Curry #healthy #dinner #recipe

Indian Eggplant Curry (Bhaingan Bharta)

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: gluten free, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 Servings
Author: Julia

Classic Indian Eggplant Curry is easy to make, vegan and delicious

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 (1.5-inch piece) ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 habanero chilies finely chopped*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 large eggplant roasted
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh green peas
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant in half length-wise, drizzle some oil on the flesh (so that it doesn’t stick to the baking sheet) and place the halves on a baking sheet flesh-side down. Roast 40-50 minutes or until the skin is brown and pulling away from the flesh. The eggplant flesh should now be darker and appear wet. (You can also roast the eggplant by wrapping the whole thing in foil and putting in the oven, but this method takes much longer).
  2. If you’re serving the dish over rice, prepare the rice while the eggplant is roasting. I steamed one cup of dry brown rice, which was the perfect portion to go with the eggplant.
  3. While the eggplant is roasting, begin preparing the curry. Heat the oil to medium high and add the cumin seeds. Toast the seeds for two minutes then add the ginger. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes until very fragrant, then reduce heat to medium and add the chopped onion. Sauté about 3 minutes before adding the garlic, habaneros, ground cumin and turmeric. Cook until onion is translucent, about another 8 minutes. If using frozen peas, add them now.

  4. Once eggplant is finished roasting, allow it to cool enough to handle and peel the skin off (it should come right off). Place the flesh in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the eggplant to the rest of the ingredients, reduce the heat if necessary and cook 5 minutes. Add the tomato (and the green peas if using fresh or canned peas), cover and allow to cook another 5 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Perform a taste test and add salt as necessary. Serve over brown or basmati rice!

Recipe Notes

*Choose your heat level. I removed the seeds from one of the habaneros, but kept the seeds in one of them. If you don’t like spicy food, don’t use habaneros – try jalapenos and remove all the seeds or leave peppers/chilies out entirely.

Adapted from: Crave Cook Click

Indian Eggplant Curry collage with two photos of curry

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Comments

  1. Esther

    Thanks Julia for the recipe!
    You are mentioning that Garam Masala and asafetida can be used. Would they be in addition to the current spice OR a replacement of current spice? Also, what would be the approx quantity?

    Thanks a lot.

    Esther 😉

    Reply
    1. Julia Post author

      Hi Esther,

      You can replace the cumin and turmeric with 2 teaspoons of Garam Masala and 1/2 teaspoon of Asafetida. If you love a lot of flavor, you can keep the cumin seeds and turmeric and simply add in the 2 tsp garam and 1/2 tsp asafetida. Hope you enjoy! xoxo

      Reply

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