Indian Eggplant Curry (Bhaingan Bharta) is a flavorful traditional Indian dish that is a true delight to make! This healthful vegan dinner recipe is perfect for those looking for a unique and nutritious meal!
If you’re a fan of Indian food 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!
One of my favorite Indian dishes is eggplant curry.
When I was in college, I would get a massive craving for Indian Bhaingan Bharta and couldn’t possibly be satisfied until I devoured the dish with garlic naan (of course!) After trying desperately (in vain) to re-create the eggplant curry from a great Indian restaurant in Reno, I felt I kept getting close, but wasn’t quite hitting it.
Well, my efforts paid off because after many attempts, I got closer and closer until I landed on this particular recipe I’m sharing here today. I will definitely be making this one time and again when my craving strikes!
The authentic version of this recipe calls for a spice I couldn’t find at the grocery store: asafetida. This spice does make a difference in the flavor, so if you buy them online or find them in a local grocery store, 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!
Ingredients for Indian Eggplant Curry:
The ingredients needed for this recipe are very basic: eggplant, tomato, peas (I use frozen), onion, ginger, and spices. What gives Bhaingan Bharta its unmistakable flavor is the spicific combination of spices used. While differing amounts may be used, the types of spices are largely the same to generate amazing flavor.
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:
May I suggest you serve this delicious dish with one of the following?:
- Add vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and/or potato if desired.
- Increase the amount of spice in the recipe.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of asafetida.
- Replace habaneros with jalapenos or 2 Thai chilies.
- Add 1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk to make curry creamier and richer.
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Indian Eggplant Curry (Bhaingan Bharta)
- 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 tsp garam masala optional
- 1 tsp asafetida
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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, garam masala, and turmeric. Cook until onion is translucent, about another 8 minutes. If using frozen peas, add them now.
- 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.
- Perform a taste test and add salt as necessary. Serve over brown or basmati rice!