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Eggplant with Fragrant Spices & Herbs (Bhartha)

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 5 cups.

Servings: six as a side dish.

This is a delicious way that Indian and Pakistani cooks prepare roasted or grilled eggplant, and it tastes best made a day or two ahead. It’s good as a light lunch, served hot or cold with rice pilaf and a bowl of yogurt, or as a side dish with pita triangles. You can even use it in sandwiches. 


  • 2 medium globe eggplant (about 1-1/4 lb. each)
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne, or to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped (to yield 2 cups)
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 small fresh green chile, such as jalapeño, cored, seeded, and minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per 1/2 cup
  • Calories (kcal) : 150
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 100
  • Fat (g): 11
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 125
  • Carbohydrates (g): 12
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 2


  • Light a grill fire. Grill the eggplant over the open fire or gas flame, turning them frequently, until the skins are black and parched and the flesh feels soft when pierced with a fork, about 18 minutes. (Alternatively, prick the eggplant in several places and roast on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 350°F oven until soft, turning two or three times, about 1 hour.) When the eggplant are cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin and put them in a colander to drain. Squeeze the eggplant gently to get rid of the extra moisture and chop the pulp. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and a little salt; set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the onion over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and fresh chile and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring a few seconds until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the eggplant pulp and the chopped cilantro. Cook, stirring often, until all the liquid in the pan evaporates and the oil begins to separate and forms a glaze over the mixture, about 20 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve in a bowl sprinkled with more cilantro leaves.


Rate or Review

Reviews (6 reviews)

  • chefwannabe | 09/25/2019

    This is a lovely vegetarian side dish to complement an Indian themed menu. However, it never seemed as good as my favorite restaurant Eggplant bharta until I discovered accidentally how to make it creamy without cream or deep frying. I added about 1/2 cup of coconut milk at the end and it really bammed it up! I also used only 1-2 tablespoons of oil.

  • OrechietteSF | 01/17/2011

    This one is ok, but this one is healthier and easier: http://aplestoaples.blogspot.com/2011/01/eggplant-bhartha.html

  • Christene | 10/25/2010

    Wonderful Recipe. Easy to follow. Just have patience with the onions, especially if you're doubling the recipe. My husband said it reminded him of his mom's. (She's a punjabi living in India.)

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