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Sunday, 4 November 2012

A sleepless husband and Baingan ka Bharta

My husband loves Saturday afternoons. Weeklong he dreams about that delicious half an hour of sleep on that half day.
I love sleeping too, but for me afternoons spent lazing in the winter sunshine of Assam always won hands down when pitted against slumbers on full stomachs at the forbidden hour.
I would have loved my husband's company in the garden, but I knew I had an invincible opponent in “Siesta”.
I had reluctantly resigned myself to spending the delightful afternoons in the garden alone, but Ramlal changed it all.
He was short, plump and dark. He had a sing-song nasal voice and wore a soiled kurta, and he had all the ladies on campus vying for his attention.
I never imagined that tall ENT surgeons, proud Officers of the Indian Air Force, would feel threatened by Ramlal – but that is just what happened.
A few weeks into our stay in Assam, I was curious and baffled when my husband started suggesting going out for lunch and doing a host of other things on his precious afternoons. Then, I realized with devilish delight that his sleepless afternoons were engendered by envy for Ramlal.
As Ramlal breezed in with his bicycle load of the fresh and juicy home grown vegetables – he was almost like the Pied Piper in his ability to attract the ladies. A scuffle inevitably ensued over his cauliflowers and radishes as he smiled complacently.
As ladies indulged in closely contested matches to place one of the ten cauliflowers from his garden that week on their tables, even cauliflower worshipping husbands (like mine) were jealous.
A sigh of relief always followed his receding form as he departed having peddled his produce, and contented burps always followed the Gobhi parathas the next day.
 Ramlal was then forgiven, forgotten and even reluctantly blessed until the next Saturday afternoon.
 The relinquished Saturday siestas led to football matches in the lawn and I had several reasons to thank Ramlal.
Baingan Ka Bharta
I hate to admit this but cooking vegetables flawlessly has always flummoxed me. I was delighted when I learnt to make Baingan ka Bharta because it was the one dish that uncomplainingly turned to pulp and still tasted good. Until then I had been turning everything else into pulp with my cooking endeavours as well but they were just silently making their way into the dustbin.
Anyway now the Baingan ka Bharta has made me the invincible queen of the kitchen. The best part of it is, that the baingan can be roasted in advance and converted to bharta in a few minutes at a later time, tasting as fresh as ever and making you look like a magician.
1.    Take a nice big fat baingan (brinjal).
2.    Take a handful of cloves (laung) and pierce the baingan with their pointed ends and leave the cloves there. In effect studding the entire surface of the baingan with cloves.
3.    Now turn on the gas and place the clove studded baingan on the hob on the naked flame. Go about other work as it roasts. Whenever you remember next, walk over and turn the baingan slightly so that by the end all the sides have been roasted.
4.    Check that the whole baingan has been done by inserting a knife into it from various angles (much like you’ve seen magicians piercing their wives at magic shows). If you find no resistance to your knife, you’re good to go.
5.    Let the baingan cool for a bit and then remove the skin by dipping your fingers into a bowl of water at frequent intervals.
6.    This peeled baingan can be left in the fridge for whenever you want to exhibit your skills as a magician in the kitchen.
7.    For the tadka. Peel and roughly chop an onion and wash and roughly chop a tomato. Also chop up some ginger.
8.    Heat oil 2 tablespoons of oil in a kadhai, add chopped ginger followed by the onion and tomato simultaneously.
9.    Sprinkle salt so that they cook really fast.
10.                       Add a chopped green chilli and then put the baingan in.
11.                       Break the baingan with the ladle and mix in the masala. Don’t mix too much.
12.                       Generously sprinkle as much fresh dhania (coriander) as you like into the baingan
And ta-daaaa your bharta is ready. Dig in!


  1. Interesting - Long studded Began Bharta !
    Must try & let you know

    1. Please do. It's great. I used to have friends dropping in to find out what I was cooking when I roasted my laung studded baingan. It smells and tastes that good.

  2. I used to hate brinjal. But the bhaigan kar bharta is one dish that has managed to keep me addicted to this veggie. Will try roasting it after piercing it with cloves. Never knew about it...

    1. Yes do try it. I am sure youll love the dish even more. And there is good reason to like it. It is a really healthy dish. I eat it for dinner frequently because with its high fibre and low fat attributes it really helps keep the weight down

  3. For a moment I was terrified by the tantalising suggestion the title makes! I am yet another devotee of the Saturday afternoon siesta and I'll also welcome a Ramlal to deliver fresh, contaminated produce to our kitchen, as opposed to vegetable grown by open sewers and irrigated by the same. Wonderful way to share a recipe!

    1. Thank you! Yes now that I am in Mumbai I really miss having a Ramlal for the weekly veggie supply. It is amazing how good vegetables taste when they are grown uncontaminated and in small numbers in little gardens. When I moved to Mumbai I used to find all the vegetables had a synthetic taste that I disliked. I am not surprised city bred children dislike veggies. They dont even know the real taste.

  4. Loved the prologue to the recipe! Lovely fluid style of writing!

  5. LOlz....Additionally u can insert garlic cloves in raw brinjal to get that effect :)

    1. Really? I didnt know that.Must try it. How do the cloves of garlic go in though?

  6. sure Ramlal got his satisfaction of all the hardwork with his growing vegetables with the attention he got from the ladies!!

    1. Yes. I dont think even six packs would have got him that kind of attention

  7. You are so awesome! I do not believe I've truly read through a single thing like that before. So good to discover another person with a few original thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!
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  8. Wow! Thank you for your generous compliment. I have never received such a wonderful compliment before. I am staggered and so very grateful. Yes I like being original and it is people like you who keep me going. Youve made my day and I was just about to begin writing my next blog post so I am happy and so eager to write again. I really liked your webpage. Im going to try some of those recipes soon. Judy Williams right? Pleasure to meet you and hope to meet really often. One of the best things about having a blog is getting to meet so many wonderful people.

  9. another brilliant post!! skipped that baingan ka bharta part.

    1. Thank you sooooo much Debajyoti. I assume you dont like baingan - a lot of people dont I know.