This month we have decided to explore the world a little (food-wise) and bring you this flavoursome Baingan bharta dip, which is popular in Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine is great if you want to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, as they combine vegetables with the most amazing array of spices and herbs to create some fabulous dishes. When we were researching this recipe, we noticed that many people described this dish as “comfort food”. The dish is smooth, tasty and, as we move into Autumn, brings a lovely welcome inner warmth.
Aubergines have many names, and can be known as “brinjals” in India or “eggplant” in North America, Australia and New Zealand. Here in Spain we can buy two varieties – the deep purple one (like shown in the picture) and a paler stripy version. They look the same inside, taste very similar and you can use them in the same way in this recipe.
Aubergines are low calorie and low in fat, so are great to include in your diet if you want to enjoy eating tasty food whilst losing weight (or maintaining a healthy weight). We´ve already discussed the health benefits of aubergine earlier this year, in our creole aubergines recipe, so you can read more by following the link to this article.
Why should I peel an aubergine?
In this recipe we suggest that you peel and remove the aubergine skin. When we cook the aubergine in the oven or under the grill, we sometimes look to turn the skin brown, this brings a different flavour to the dish, one that is slightly smoky. You can opt to leave the skin on, but if you have turned the skin brown, then we recommend peeling the skin off, so that the smoky flavour does not overpower the dip. Older aubergines tend to have slightly tougher skins, which is another reason we suggest for peeling it.
If you´re not a fan of aubergine, then swap this for courgette, it will work just as well. You can still roast the courgette in the oven (or grill it), but there is no need to remove the skin.
Baingan bharta dip recipe
Calories: 323 total, 80 per serving
2 medium sized aubergines
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 small red onion, finely diced
½ tbsp ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 fresh tomatoes, blended into a puree
2 green chilies, minced
Dash lemon juice
Large handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
Cut the aubergines in half and make some cuts in the skin. Place them (skin up) onto a lined baking tray. Add a drizzle of water to the base of the baking tray. Then place the aubergines into a medium-hot oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until they become soft. (Alternatively, you can place the aubergines under a medium grill and bake there). Give them a little shake, part way through cooking and add a little more water if necessary to prevent them sticking to the base.
Once cooked put the aubergines onto a cooling tray and allow them to cool.
Meanwhile, dry fry the cumin seeds in a large frying pan (don´t use any oil – heat the pan first then add the seeds). When the seeds begin to sizzle, add in the red onion with a little water (and drop of sunflower oil) and sauté lightly until the onion softens (5-7 minutes). Add in the ginger and garlic and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, chilies and lemon juice and begin to cook this mixture to allow the tomatoes to turn into a thick fairly dry sauce.
Whilst the tomato mixture is cooking, the aubergines should have cooled. Peel and discard the charred skin from the aubergine and mash lightly. Add the aubergine into the tomato spice mixture and mix well. Stir in the chopped coriander.
You can serve this dip hot, or allow the mixture to cool and serve room temperature (or cold from the fridge).
More information and plant-based recipes
We publish recipes regularly on our blog page and they are also sent out through our newsletter – you can sign up to the newsletter by adding your name and email address to the box on our website. We offer a plant-based diet here at La Crisalida Retreats to help you to relax and rebalance inside.