When Tim and I were recently jonesing for some Indian food, this recipe definitely hit the spot. You'll have to start a little early since it involves roasting eggplant and tomatoes before really starting the recipe. But, once you start cooking, things go fairly quickly so there's not overly much time spent in front of the stove. I love the smoky flavor that eggplant adds to this vegetarian dish, and tomatoes and lemon juice add just the right amount of acidity. Chickpeas add enough protein to make this a filling dinner served over rice. I thought the spices here were really well balanced - the dish was perfectly savory and not very spicy. You can add more chili flakes or a minced fresh chili if you like your Indian food spicy, but I thought this was delicious on the mild side so that you could really taste the veggies and other spices.
Baingan Bharta with Chickpeas (Indian Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Chickpeas) (adapted from the taste space, original recipe here)
2 medium eggplants (about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds total)
9 Roma tomatoes, halved
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 medium red onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T unsweetened coconut
1 T ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
Pinch chili flakes (more if you want the dish to be spicy)
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 T minced fresh cilantro, divided
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Prick the eggplants with a fork, and then place on the baking sheet. Add the tomatoes, cut side up. Drizzle the vegetables with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, watching closely in the last 15 minutes of roasting. When done, the eggplants should be totally collapsed. Set aside to cool.
2. Once the vegetables are cool enough to touch, peel the eggplants and dump the contents (along with any liquid) into a medium bowl. Slip the skins off the tomatoes and pinch off any cores that remain tough, and add the tomatoes to the bowl with the eggplants. Mash with a potato masher until no large chunks remain.
3. Have all the remaining ingredients ready before you start, because once you add the garlic, everything will move quickly. In a large skillet, heat about 1 T of oil over medium high heat. Cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the onion and cook about 10 minutes, until softened and browned.
4. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add the coconut and cook for one minute. Add the coriander, cumin, garam masala, and chili flakes, and cook for one more minute. Add one tablespoon of water to the pan, stir to deglaze, and then cook until the water is evaporated.
5. Add the mashed tomatoes and eggplant to the skillet and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chickpeas and stir until heated through, about 5 minutes.
6. Stir in half the cilantro and the lemon juice. Add salt to taste. Serve over rice and garnish with the remaining cilantro.