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Baingan Bharta Recipe – Air Fryer or Oven

Baingan bharta is a popular Indian Vegan Eggplant recipe full of delightful flavors. Learn how to make restaurant style baingan bharta by roasting the eggplants in an air fryer, oven or on the stove top.

Spit roasted eggplant with smoky flavor is mashed with tomatoes, onion and fragrant spices to make this delicious recipe. Punjabi baingan bharta is a super popular Indian Curry / side dish.

Similar to Chana MasalaPalak Paneer, Punjabi Kadhi Pakora, Rajma Masala and Paneer Makhani , this is an iconic Indian food loved by all.

Pinterest image with text overlay for air fryer baingan bharta which is spicy Indian eggplant mesh.

Air Fryer Baingan Bharta

Learn to make this smoky eggplant mashed dip using an air fryer. This is one of my favorite recipes that uses air fryer since it gets done so perfectly and results are always consistent.

I am also including instructions to make it using oven or stovetop in case you do not use air fryer. This preparation makes best vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free baingan bharta.

What is Baingan Bharta

Baingan Bharta is a delicious, tangy and spicy Indian dish made from minced roasted eggplant, onions, tomatoes and a variety of spices. It is a popular dish among vegetarians and commonly eaten in India. 

Baingan is Indian name for eggplant and bharta is a Hindi word used for mashed dip. So baingan bharta can be described as an eggplant dip. The distinctive feature of this dish is the smoky flavors of eggplant when they are roasted to perfection.

This eggplant curry is a mouthwatering and flavorful recipe from India. It is a favorite dish in Indian restaurants worldwide. We show you how to cook this delicious Indian dish.

Restaurant Style baingan bharta is easy to make at home. Serve it with naan, paratha or rice for a scrumptious Indian meal.

Vegan baingan bharta made in air fryer served with garnishes as Indian dinner.

Classic Fire Roasted Baingan Bharta

Traditionally eggplants were roasted in an open fire pit or Tandoor ovens to make this earthy smoky dish. Plum purple eggplants or aubergine are typically used since they have a lot of meaty flesh inside.

You can roast the eggplants in an air fryer or bake it in the oven. You can also do it on a electric stove top using metal mesh.

Smoked eggplant is then mashed and stir fried with browned onion and tomato sauce along with typical Indian spices like garam masala, cumin and coriander powder.

It results in fragrant and flavorful smoky dip that is so satisfying. It is a delight to all eggplant lovers.

Delicious eggplant mashed dip served with chopped cilantro garnish on dinner plate.

Which eggplants are best to make baingan bharta?

I prefer to use big purple eggplants. Choose blemish free and firm texture. You can also use Sicilian eggplants which are round and big.

I also use Japanese or Chinese eggplants which are long and slender. However they have less pulp / flesh inside.

The tiny baby eggplants used for stuffing in recipes like Bharli Vangi or Potato Eggplant Curry are not suitable for this recipe.

Other names

Baingan Bharta is a Punjabi / North Indian Hindi word. In Marathi , this recipe is called as Vangyache Bharit. In Tamil it is called kathirikai gothsu and in Bihari it is baingan chokha.

Serving Suggestions

This vegan baingan bharta is typically used as a side dish along with other curry recipes. Instant Pot Dal Makhani, Punjabi Dum Aloo or Air fryer Tindora Fry are excellent pairings.

In typical Indian thali style dinner serving, you serve it with hot freshly made roti, parathas or steamed white basmati rice.

Typically baingan bharta is served with fresh pickled onions, lemon wedges and spicy green chilies.

A dinner plate with two rotis, dal, baingan bharta and a side salad.

Smoky Flavored Eggplant Dip

You can also use this recipe as a dip and serve along with crackers,  crostini,  toast or fresh veggies like carrots,  cucumbers and broccoli.

Along with Greek Tzatziki DipCilantro Hummus and Vegan Olive Tapenade,  this is my favorite dip to serve on a Mediterranean Mezze platter or charcuterie board.

Dhaba Style Baingan Bharta

Dhaba is the Indian name for street food stalls. In Northern Indian states including Punjab Region, these roadside food vendors serve finger licking delicious food including baingan bharta.

The key to dhaba style baingan bharta is the aroma of smoky garlicky flavors. Also frying the spices in warm oil brings out intense earthy flavors. Don’t skip making it.

A saute pan full of freshly made eggplant bharta curry ready for serving.

Ingredients

Vegetables : Globe purple eggplants ( also called aubergine ) . We also use minced garlic and ginger, chopped onion and chopped tomatoes to make masala gravy ( curry) . For the fiery spicy taste, add green chilies. Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish. You can also add lemon or lime juice for more zesty taste.

For Oil Tempering : You do warm oil tempering with spices to bring out rich earthy taste. I love to use mustard oil for this preparation but you can use any other cooking oil of your choice.  Cumin seeds , cayenne or red pepper powder, garam masala, cumin coriander powder and turmeric powder are rest of the spices and herbs used in adding layered flavors. 

Exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. 

An overhead image of a serving bowl filled with delicious smoky eggplant dip called baingan bharta.

Instructions

Prepare the eggplant for roasting

Wash and dry the eggplant.  Using a knife , make a few slits through the skin and insert a garlic clove in each slit. Brush the eggplant with some oil.

Process step collage showing how to prepare roasted eggplant for making bharta.

Roasting Eggplants on gas stove top

On the medium heat,  roast the eggplant on direct flame till they are charred on the outside. Keep rotating every minute or so, to make sure it roasts evenly on all sides. The skin should look dark and burned.  ( roughly 7-10 minutes per eggplant )

Roasting Eggplants using Air Fryer

Arrange the eggplant on an air fryer basket. Set the temperature to 375º Fahrenheit . Air fry for about 20-22 minutes rotating half way till the eggplant looks wrinkled and charred.

Roasted eggplant on the air fryer basket.

Oven Baking Eggplants for making bharta

Preheat the oven at 400 °Fahrenheit.  Put the prepared eggplant on a baking tray. Bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes until eggplant is tender and cooked inside.

To Make Bharta or Mash

Let the eggplant cool down completely. Peel off the burnt skin.  Finely chop or mash the pulp using either the potato masher or the fork. Keep aside.

Warm up oil on medium heat in a sauté pan. Add in cumin seeds and allow them to sputter and brown.

Add onions and green chilies ( if using ) . Sprinkle some salt. Sauté for a few minutes on high heat till onions are translucent and look golden.

Add the tomatoes and minced ginger. Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring frequently till tomatoes release water and start to thicken.

Add the rest of the spices. Continue to stir for a couple more minutes. Add in the mashed roasted eggplant and garlic pulp and salt. Mix well.

Cook for about 5 minutes so everything is mixed well. Adjust seasoning and salt if needed. Turn off the heat. Add lemon juice and mix well. Garnish with cilantro leaves.  Serve warm. Enjoy !

Process step collage showing four main steps involved in making this air fryer baingan bharta recipe.

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Vegan baingan bharta made in air fryer served with garnishes as Indian dinner.

Baingan Bharta Recipe - Air Fryer or Oven

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Baingan Bharta is a delicious, tangy and spicy Indian dish made from minced roasted eggplant, onions, tomatoes and a variety of spices. Learn how to make restaurant style baingan bharta by roasting the eggplants in an air fryer, oven or on the stove top.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large eggplant
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1-2 green chilies minced or crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

For Oil Tempering

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil - mustard oil preferred
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or red pepper powder - adjust per spice tolerance
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • Chopped cilantro leaves to garnish

Instructions

    Prepare the eggplant for roasting

    Wash and dry the eggplant.  Using a knife , make a few slits through the skin and insert a garlic clove in each slit. Brush the eggplant with some oil.

    How to Roast Eggplant on stove top

    On the medium heat,  roast the eggplant on fire till they are charred on the outside. Keep rotating every minute or so, to make sure it roasts evenly on all sides. The skin should look dark and burned.  ( roughly 7-10 minutes per eggplant )

    How to Roast Eggplant In Air Fryer

    Arrange the eggplant on an airfryer basket. Set the temperature to 375º Fahrenheit . Air fry for about 20-22 minutes rotating half way till the eggplant looks wrinkled and charred.

    How to Oven Bake Eggplant

    Preheat the oven at 400 °Fahrenheit.  Put the prepared eggplant on a baking sheet. Bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes until eggplant is tender and cooked inside.

    How To Make Roasted Baingan Bharta or Mash

    1. Let the eggplant cool down completely. Peel off the burnt skin.  Finely chop or mash the pulp.  and keep aside.
    2. Warm up oil on medium heat in a sauté pan. Add in cumin seeds and allow them to sputter and brown.
    3. Add onions and green chilies ( if using ) . Sprinkle some salt. Sauté for a few minutes till onions are translucent and look golden.
    4. Add the tomatoes and minced ginger. Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring frequently till tomatoes release water and start to thicken.
    5. Add the rest of the spices. Continue to stir for a couple more minutes.
    6. Add in the mashed roasted eggplant and garlic pulp and salt. Mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes so everything is mixed well. Adjust seasoning and salt if needed.
    7. Turn off the heat. Add lemon juice and mix well. Garnish with cilantro leaves.  Serve warm. Enjoy ! 

Notes

How to store Vegan baingan bharta?

Baingan bharta tastes best when it's served freshly prepared and hot. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can also freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to a month. Reheat it in a microwave and serve hot.

Serving Suggestions :

In typical Indian thali style dinner serving, you serve it with hot freshly made roti, parathas or steamed white rice. It also is served along with pickled red onions, green chilis and lemon wedges on the side.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 170mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g

Nutritional values are provided as a courtesy and the values are approximate. The values will change depending on the exact ingredients, measurements and brands used. As always, for specific health issues and dietary requirements please consult medical professional.

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