Baingan Bharta (more or less)

My love for Baingan Bharta has turned into a bit of an obsession lately; especially  since I mentioned it in my recent post for blueberry salsa. This recipe is an adaption of the link I posted from Manjula’s Kitchen. But, it’s a tad different with the addition of yellow zucchini squash.

The entire dish comes together quite easily, although the mashing of the ingredients while cooking takes a little elbow grease.  It works wonders to curb a desperate craving for Baingan Bharta, say… really late at night when everything is closed and the nearest Indian restaurant is 45 miles away.

Baingan Bharta – Vegan and Gluten Free


  • 1 vidalia onion
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil or vegan margarine
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 medium yellow zucchini, skinned and most seeds removed
  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes ( I say 2-3 because my adorable little doggy decided to sneak my third tomato off of the table while I wasn’t looking, so I had to use two)
  • 4-6 pieces of okra, chopped
  • 2 fresh hot peppers of your choice, or more depending on desired spice level (my 8 year old said that this amount was nice and mild :)
  • 2-3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt to taste


Cut eggplant in half, and sprinkle the exposed fleshy part with salt.  Drizzle with olive oil and place onto cookie sheet “skin side up”. Roast for about 30 minutes at 350 °F. ** You can get away with not flipping the eggplant over, although I always feel an overwhelming need to flip.

Once finished roasting, change oven to “broil” setting and broil eggplant for about 5-10 minutes, or until nice and browned on top. This adds a delicious smoky flavor. A little bit of liquid smoke added to the pan of veggies works well too if you want to forgo the broil… just roast a touch longer.

** While eggplant is roasting, chop the Vidalia onion, the peppers, zucchini, and the okra into bite sized pieces.  In large frying pan or shallow saucepan, cook onions and peppers with cooking oil or margarine over medium- high heat until onions begin to caramelize.  Add okra and zucchini and reduce heat to low. Cook about 7 more minutes, turn off heat, and set aside.

Remove skin from eggplant and try and scoop out as many seeds as possible. Its not necessary to worry about all of them, but getting most of them out will ensure a less seedy dish.

Boil a small pot of water and blanch the tomatoes by dropping them in boiling water for about 1 minute. Transfer to ice-bath and skins will peel right off.

Cut tomatoes and eggplant into small pieces and transfer to pan with the onions, peppers, zucchini, and okra. Add spices and cover with lid about 10 minutes over medium heat.

Continue to cook all ingredients while mashing the mixture until a desired consistency is reached.  You can achieve this easily with a potato masher. If you don’t have a potato masher, a sturdy heavy whisk will work okay, but you may have to use a bit more “umph” to get it all smashed up well. The extra cooking/mashing time should take about 10 more minutes. You can cook it longer if you lie yours really smooth and creamy, but I leave mine a little chunky.

Salt to taste. Serve over Basmati rice (adding a little veggie bouillon to the rice while cooking and about a tbsp of freshly minced cilantro once it’s finished is sooooo good).

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24 Responses to Baingan Bharta (more or less)

  1. Sasha Rose says:

    This was awesome!!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  2. Lisa says:

    I live in a community heavily populated and influenced by the Indian culture. I absolutely love Indian food and have grown up around it and eating it. I was oh so excited to come across this recipe and so I rushed to the store, grabbed my ingredients and whipped up a batch of it last night. The okra was not a good fit and the dish itself did not form a well balance on my palate. I added some curry and that helped a bit, but it did not revive the recipe. I won’t ever make this again.

    • allyson says:

      Hi Lisa… well shoot. Sorry you didn’t enjoy the recipe.

      Yes, I am a big fan of Indian food too, but I would definitely not call this recipe authentic :)

      I would think a recipe developer/chef who is very experienced in Indian cuisine may give you the results you are looking for.

      Thanks for trying it out though!

  3. [...] should be roasted until very soft, as its used as the binder in this stuffing. Here’s a quick explanation of how to do just that. I also salted my eggplant before roasting, so keep this in mind when [...]

  4. Caitlin says:

    this was really good. i used a zucchini since i didn’t have okra, and i thought it would go well with the yellow squash. the only thing that i missed was the eggplant/yellow squash/zucchini skins. i have never removed the skin before, but i realized how much additional flavor and texture it gives. also, i LOVED the way the eggplant cooked!
    thanks for the great recipe!

  5. [...] Manifest Vegan’s Baingan Barta [...]

  6. Caitlin says:

    I’m going to make this over the weekend! I got all of the necessary ingredients except for okra..I can’t seem to find it. I’m going to try to find it again tonight, but if I can’t, is there something that would be an appropriate substitute?

    • allyson says:

      Hi Caitlin!

      That’s great!
      … as far as the okra, you can just leave it out. :) There’s not too much okra in the recipe anyways, and I tossed it in there because we had a few growing in our garden, and I wanted to keep the recipe accurate [to the exact ingredients I used] for everyone.

      But, I don’t think it will affect much if you just omit it altogether.
      I hope you enjoy! Have a great weekend. :)
      ~ Allyson

  7. Hannah says:

    Excellent, another promising summer squash recipe! And very different from my typical approach, so it will be a tasty change of pace.

  8. Maggie says:

    I’ve just started to dabble in making vegan Indian recipes and this looks delicious! It’s great knowing how easy it is to make and the list of ingredients are already in my fridge and pantry :) Thanks for the great recipe!

    PS I can just picture your doggy sneaking one of your tomatoes..hehe

  9. Looks fabulous! I love anything with eggplant. :)

  10. Michelle says:

    I’ve never heard of this dish, but it sounds amazing. I’m going to have to try it…for sure!

  11. Prerna says:

    Baigan bharta is my family’s all time favorite. There are a zillion ways how they make it back in India, its amazing to see and discover all of them. I love your recipe and will definitely give it a try.
    Love your blog, I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from here.
    Keep up the good work!

  12. Caitlin says:

    i loooove eggplant, but have never cooked it this way. when you cut it in half, do you do it lengthwise? i always cut it into 1/2″-3/4″ slices.

    • allyson says:

      Hi Caitlin,

      Yep, I sliced it lengthwise. :) I used to always slice eggplant in pieces too, but I really like this method, as it practically cooks itself! Just check on it every now and again, but it’s pretty effortless while it’s roasting in the oven. ..

  13. Becky says:

    How perfect for summer! We get most of the main ingredients in our CSA basket! Bookmarking.

  14. Sarah says:

    Oh yeah! This sounds and looks awesome… especially now that I’m avoiding indian restaurants after a certain recent episode. I love indian food- you can’t beat a good curry, that’s for sure. x

  15. Morgan says:

    YUM! I love eggplant. Thanks for yet another awesome recipe!

  16. Hannah says:

    I have to try this – I’m only just coming around to eggplant but I love spices and heat, so I think it’ll be a winner for me as well as you :)

    • allyson says:

      Hannah- I seriously believe this is a perfect “intro recipe” for eggplant. in fact, Baingan Bharta single handed-ly converted me into a full blown eggplant fanatic. I hope it does the same for you- add more peppers if you like more heat- I personally looove the fire and actually add a few more than called for :)

  17. this looks so good! Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables, but I’ve never tried this dish before. Can’t wait to attempt it in my own kitchen, now :)