Such a classic recipe, one of my desert-island dishes for sure. The wonderful smoky flavours make this the most comforting of dishes.
2 large aubergines
4 tsp sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2–3 green chillies, finely chopped
large handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
Place the aubergines straight onto a gas burner over a high heat for a few minutes, turning them regularly. The skin will blacken and blister while they roast. When sufficiently roasted/charred, set them aside to cool (this will take a good few minutes before they can be safely handled). Once cooled, peel the skins from the roasted aubergines, then mash the flesh together in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over a high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, and as soon as they start sizzling add the chopped garlic and continue to stir for a minute. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring, for 5–6 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, green chillies and fresh chopped coriander and cook for a further 2–3 minutes. Add the rest of the spices and the salt and mix well. Finally, add the mashed aubergine, and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Serve with chapatti, or warm a pitta bread, cut into half and fill the baingan bartha into the pitta pocket.