(Almost) Spiceless Eggplant Bharta

August 28, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I could not believe it when I I tasted this eggplant bharta that my Aunt Lakshmi had made. It's a traditional Indian dish, but it had no, (absolutely NO) spices or spice blends added, other than turmeric (which is simply for the color rather than flavor). Except for fresh ginger and green chilies to give the dish a bit of flavor, it seemed so improbable that I had to try it for myself. This time I substituted finely minced serranos and fire-roasted poblano chiles, which boosted the smoky quotient a notch. —Panfusine

Test Kitchen Notes

The smoky flavor of the charred eggplant and poblano peppers plays nicely against the sweetness of the tomatoes. This veggie dish is a perfect starter or side dish utilizing summer's bounty and cooking outdoors on a grill keeps the kitchen cool. —Diane Hartford

What You'll Need
  • 2 medium Italian or white eggplants
  • 2 to 3 poblano chiles
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the vegetables
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 cup finely sliced or diced red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 pinch salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (1/2 a lime)
  1. Rub the eggplants with a bit of oil, puncture them to enable steam to escape, and grill them over a gas flame or grill until the skin is charred and they're cooked through.
  2. Rub the poblanos with oil and place over a grill basket and grill them over a gas flame as well until the skin gets charred. Set the eggplant and poblanos aside to cool while you slice the onions and mincing the ginger.
  3. Peel the charred skin off the eggplant and poblanos and mash them together into a pulp.
  4. Heat the oil and add the minced ginger. Sauté for a minute and add the onions to fry until they become translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook down until thick.
  5. Add the salt and turmeric, give it a stir, and then add the mashed eggplant/poblano mixture. Add half of the chopped cilantro. Stir, cover, and simmer on a low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes until the flavors of the ingredients combine. Check every couple of minutes to see if there is sufficient moisture. (If not, sprinkle in some water and cover again).
  6. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with lime juice, and garnish with the remaining cilantro. Serve warm with pita bread or Indian roti.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kaite
  • deanna1001
  • Bevi
  • Panfusine
A biomedical engineer/ neuroscientist by training, currently a mommy blogger on a quest for all things food - Indian Palate, Global perspective!

9 Reviews

sandy L. March 9, 2019
I forget about this recipe and when I come back to it I am always reminded that it is absolutely delicious! Broiling the eggplant and pepper works well when grilling isn't convenient. I served it with quartered naan for cocktails. All loved it.
Kaite August 11, 2015
This was so good! My husband likes it on rice, but I like to eat it on its own. I added a few chili flakes as my poblanos seemed to lack some heat. This is easily one of my favorite recipes!
deanna1001 September 25, 2014
Made this last night. Heavenly. Nice way to use up a bunch of poblanos from my CSA. Used my broiler for the eggplants and the gas burner for the peppers. I'll add this recipe to our CSA recipes...with full credit! Thanks. And then I had some on crackers for lunch. Even cold it is fantastic.
Panfusine September 25, 2014
Thanks so much Deanna1001, so glad you enjoyed it and hope the other CSA members enjoy it too. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.
quiche'n'tell July 17, 2014
I like to drizzle a little mustard oil on top to give it a wasabi-like zing. It's heavenly with fresh naan or rotis.
Panfusine July 17, 2014
OOH.. Mustard oil sounds amazing.. WIll have to try that the next time I make it!
Georgette M. July 7, 2014
Do you seed these?
Panfusine July 8, 2014
Depends upon the eggplant specimen. I usually pick the smaller sized ones at the market which end up with those tiny white immature 'seeds and those get incorporated as is. If the eggplant is seedy then yes, I run the 'core' of the grilled eggplant through a coarse sieve to get rid of the mature seeds
Bevi September 6, 2013
I love eggplant bharta. I will give this a try after farmers' market this week. I can get white eggplants!