Baingan Is True Love – These Aubergine Dishes are The Testimony
Image Credit: Bharwa baingan preparation, stuffed with spices.

Brinjal is the king of vegetables; this is what we learned in school. A big, round and purple vegetable with a crown-shaped stem on its head makes it an attractive vegetable; its delicious taste justifies its colloquial title, the ‘King of Vegetables’.

Baingan is the Hindi name; however, it’s also called Eggplant and Aubergine in different parts of the western world. Its culinary usage makes it an indispensable part of many cuisines. India is Baingan’s home turf, and many delicious regional dishes are prepared using the Brinjal.

Baingan Ka Bharta

One of the most popular dishes of Baingan is the ‘bharta’. The big and round brinjals are roasted over direct fire, often with garlic stubbed inside it for its flavour to seep right through. The outer layer of brinjal is peeled off and discarded, and the fleshy roasted brinjal is mashed to prepare ‘Baingan Ka Bharta’.

Dhabas in North India, especially on the highways of Punjab, are an ideal place for you to try this delicacy. Onion and tomatoes are sauteed with chillies and ground spices to lend it its sweet and spicy taste. Chopped coriander leaves are its ideal garnish, and soft and fluffy Tawa rotis are its perfect accompaniment.

Baghar- e- Baingan

‘Baghar’ means to temper, and this nawabi dish made with small brinjals is one of my favourite vegetarian dishes. Baghar-e-baingan is known for its creamy, nutty flavour from roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, and coconut paste. An onion-based gravy is prepared using the paste, and shallow fried brinjals are added. The final touch of curry leaves and mustard seed tempering adds a delectable flavour, resulting in an irresistible dish.

Litti is eaten in Bihar with baingan ka chokha

’ is the brinjal curry from Kerala, ‘Baddanekai Yennegai Gojju’ is a stuffed brinjal preparation in Karnataka, and not to forget, the simple and delicious ‘Aloo-baingan’ is cooked regularly in North Indian households, and is much loved across India for its simplicity and lightness. ‘Bharwaan Baingan’ (Stuffed Baingan) is another common way of preparing Brinjals in India.

Aubergines are used in many traditional international dishes. ‘Babaghanoush’, a mashed Aubergine preparation from Turkish-Middle eastern cuisine, is one of the classic examples of Aubergine’s global appeal. Babaghanoush is an inevitable dish on the Mediterranean menu in restaurants worldwide.

Malanzane ’Alla Parmigiana’ is an Italian dish with sliced eggplants layered with tomatoes, marinara sauce and lots of cheese; gratinated Malanzane (aubergines) makes for a delightful meal.

Khoresh Badamjan’; a Persian eggplant stew, ‘Borani Banjan’ of Afghanistan, ‘Mousakka’ is a fantastic eggplant and meat dish from the middle east, ‘Rollatini’ from Italy, and the classic dish from the French cuisine ‘Ratotiulle’, is a classic case of the beautiful usage of Aubergines or Eggplants, in the international cuisines.

Eggplant, thus, is a versatile and low-calorie vegetable celebrated for its many culinary usages worldwide. In India, ‘Baingan’ (Aubergines) is one of the most used vegetables. Fantastic recipes using ‘baingan’ are spread across the length and breadth of India and the rest of the world.

Being one of my favourite vegetables, and the happiness I have experienced enjoying it over the years in many recipes, I bow down in respect to the King of vegetables, Baingan.

Sidharth Bhan Gupta is a Hospitality/F&B Consultant travelling across India exploring regional cuisines.