Baingan ka Bharta (Indian Eggplant)

Baingan ka Bharta (Indian Eggplant Dish) by myheartbeets.comIf you like eggplants and Indian food, this recipe is definitely for you. This spiced and smoky Baigan ka Bharta is bangin’…. yup, I went there. I couldn’t resist… the play on words was way too tempting. It’s true though – this recipe is fabulously tasty.

When you think of “Indian cuisine” – Baingan ka Bharta is high on the list. While the recipe varies by region, many Indian restaurants tend to serve Punjabi Baigan ka Bharta, one of the most popular ways of making this dish. Baingan means eggplant and Bharta is a mixture of mashed vegetables. Combine the two and you’ve got an Indian mashed eggplant dish. It tastes better than it sounds.

To make this popular Punjabi dish, you first have to “smoke” your eggplants. Some old school folks (like my parents) do this by turning on the stove and cooking the eggplant right over the flame. You can certainly do this over a direct flame or on a grill – just cook until the skin is nice and charred. I prefer using my oven (less chance of me burning my fingers). Heat your oven to 500 degrees, make a few slits in your eggplant and rub it with oil. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping it over halfway then broil for five minutes. See step 3? That’s what you get when you peel the eggplant.

Baingan ka Bharta (Indian Eggplant Dish) by myheartbeets.comDoing this infuses the eggplant with a wonderful smoky flavor. Mix the smoky eggplant with the spiced tomato masala and eat it with Paleo Chapati or Paleo Naan. It’s also great served over Basmati rice or spaghetti squash. Baingan ka Bharta can be served as a side dish or as your main meal.

There’s actually a world record for cooking the largest amount of Baingan ka Bharta: 750 pounds. It was done as a protest against a bill that would introduce genetically modified eggplants to India. Protestors delivered a plate of bharta to the Prime Minister’s house along with a note saying if the bill passed, this would be the last GM free bharta he’d eat – no word on whether he ate it (prob not). They gave the rest away to orphanages and to others in need in Delhi. This happened back in 2011. In case you’re interested – there’s currently a moratorium on genetically modified eggplant in India, but the debate continues.

Anyway, back to this tasty, smoky and savory Baingan ka Bharta – if you like eggplant, you will love this.

Baingan ka Bharta (Indian Eggplant Dish) by

4.8 from 4 reviews
Baingan ka Bharta (Indian Eggplant)
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch knob ginger, minced
  • 1-2 Serrano pepper, minced (adjust according to preference)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • small handful cilantro, chopped
Prepare Eggplant
  1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. Make four slits in each eggplant and then apply 2 tablespoons of oil over both of the eggplants. Place them on baking sheet and then roast in the oven for 40 minutes, flipping halfway.
  3. Turn the heat up to a broil for 5 minutes, then remove the eggplants from the oven.
  4. Allow the eggplant to cool, then remove the skin and chop the flesh. Set aside for now.
Prepare Sauce
  1. While the eggplant is cooking, add 2 tablespoons of oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Then add cumin seeds.
  2. Once the cumin seeds begin to splutter, add onions and saute for 10-15 minutes or until the onions turn golden brown.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, Serrano pepper and spices.Stir fry for a minute and then add tomatoes. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove lid and stir-fry for another five minutes.
  5. Stir in the cooked eggplant and cook for another 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.


  1. Kate Koger says

    This sounds amazing I love eggplant but sadly my family are not big fans :( – that will change – one day!!!!! (fingers crossed!!)

  2. Pamela says

    Excellent! I had leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg on top. Fantastic flavor. This is a new staple dish for us.

  3. Lauren says

    I made this today and it’s delicious! Next time I will double the quantity so there will be lots of leftovers. :)

  4. Mojie says

    It was very easy to make, my husband and I both love this dish and always wanted to make it.
    Thank you

  5. Tahirah Salam says

    Hi Ashley!

    I made this last night and it really was bangin’ LOL! We had it with salmon curry and your paleo naan. FANTABULOUS!

  6. Tahirah Salam says

    I just made this again on Saturday and this time I doubled the recipe. I think this is going on my “once a week” menu for some time!

  7. Edie says

    I made this for the first time last summer, trying to use up all the eggplant from our garden. I like Indian Cuisine but no one else in my household does so I would make a small helping. I can’t remember where I got the recipe but I don’t grill the eggplant just peel and cut it up for the dish. Totally loved it, made it a few times last summer, ate it over rice. :) My favorite dish for eggplant is the Middle Eastern Maloube (spelling) with eggplant, rice and meat all cooked together, served with a yogurt salad.

  8. says

    Made this today and it was delicious! I used about 1.5 cans diced tomatoes instead and it turned out rather redder than yours, and next time I’ll cook the eggplant for less time (it was so soft after 40 minutes it was basically mush), but overall it tasted good, enjoyed it w some of your saag recipe (w collards instead of mustard greens), can’t wait for my almond flour to get here so I can have it with naan!

    While I’m commenting I might as well thank you for all your great recipes, I’ve also made your butter chicken and have malai kofta meatballs waiting in the freezer for me to make the sauce (and am planning on making your kadai chicken, samosas, and naan soon to have in the freezer too). As a celiac college student with multiple disabilities it’s so hard to eat without going broke or sapping all my energy or getting tremendously bored, but hopefully with the help of your blog Fall semester will come with significantly less vitamin deficiencies than it did last year 😀

  9. Cassandra says

    I finally got around to making this last night, and it was SO good! Even my 2-year-old kept demanding, “More!” Thank you for yet another wonderful recipe!

  10. Leslie says

    THIS WAS AMAZING!!!! I went to a new Indian restaurant a couple months back and the server suggested this dish. So it was a happy accident that I found your recipe on Pinterest. It is way better than the restaurant’s version. THANK YOU!!!!!

  11. Leslie says

    THIS WAS AMAZING!!!! I went to a new Indian restaurant a couple months back and the server suggested this dish. So it was a happy accident that I found your recipe on Pinterest. It is way better than the restaurant’s version. THANK YOU!!!!!

  12. says

    OMG… it’s SO delish… this recipe is definitely a KEEPER! I used to live in Sunnyvale and frequented Taj Mahal for their curry eggplant dish with naan since 1980’s! They’re no longer in business (sold to another Indian but it’s more of Punjab cuisine). Gosh, how I miss this dish! THANK YOU!!! <3

  13. laura says

    I made this last night. OUTSTANDING !!!! I use one jalapeno instead of the Serrano because that was what I had and no paprika but followed everything else… you will love this recipe. promise!

  14. J says

    hello! lovely recipe, and website. my partner and i love indian cuisine, and often try to improvise dishes at home that we’ve eaten at various restaurants. of course, we find our sauce is never quite to that almost-blended look that you receive when eating out. even the image you have here, of the first step, seems to appear pretty homogeneous, despite the relatively quick stir-fry time. so this leads me to my question (finally! hehe)

    how do you get that homogeneous texture to the sauce, without throwing it into a food processor or cooking on the stove for hours? does it have to do with how finely the vegetables are chopped prior to adding to the skillet? i can’t wait to hear back from you. we are testing this recipe right now, on a whim.

    jenna and ryan

    • says

      Hi Jenna and Ryan! Thanks for the kind words! The tomatoes are diced and so they are pretty small. While they do completely break down during the cooking process, I think that the eggplant adds texture so it’s not a completely smooth dish. If you want it smoother though you could always use an immersion blender? Hopefully I’ve understood/answered your question properly? Let me know what you guys think of the dish!

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