I have noticed that I have become a bit more inclined towards celebrating festivals after coming to London, maybe it is out of being homesick during festive times and also to ensure that I remember the traditions involved I guess. ‘Makar Sankrant’ is a Hindu festival celebrated by my community ”Maharashtrians” with great pomp and enthusiasm as it heralds the season of Harvest. Similar to this festival is Lohri which is celebrated by the Punjabis in the North of India, Pongal in the state of Tamil Nadu, Uttaryan in the state of Gujrat. One festival so many names and so varied ways of celebrating! It is not only in India that this festival is celebrated it’s also welcomed in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Laos amongst others!
My mother always used to make a smoked aubergine vegetable dish called Vangyache Bharit – written in Marathi as – वांग्याचे भरीत on Makar Sankrant so I decided to make it too for Sankrant this year which was on the 14th of Jan’14. We also exchange small ladoos made of sesame seeds and jaggery called ”Tilache Ladoo” and wish each other by saying तिळगुळ घ्या गोड गोड बोला -‘Tilgul ghya god bola. It means that we shall forget and forgive any past bitter exchange of words and start afresh with this sweet offering and only speak sweet words of love. Til stands for sesame and Gul stands for jaggery in Marathi, so TilGul means a sweet made using sesame and jaggery as the main ingredients
The recipe is modified in various regions of the state of Maharashtra and also the variety of vanga/eggplant/aubergine or brinjal as we know it in urban India, is different in various parts of the state and in various states of India, of course differing due to climate and soil. Aai ( meaning Mother in the Marathi language – my mother tongue) always looked for the light green vanga or eggplant with white stripes on its skin which she rightly said tastes way better than its darker purple-skinned cousin.
Aai’s recipe which I will share now is how we have always made this dish at home. There are several variations and styles depending on which part of Maharashtra you hail from and also various sub-cultures and availability of local ingredients and palates.I guess what makes this recipe so special is that it brings back happy memories of childhood, festivity, celebration and the unmistakable smoky and rich vanga (eggplant/aubergine) taste with the crunchy red onion and a slap of hot spicy green chilli mixed in between, all balanced so well with the various masalas that go into this bharit Ummm!
Image Credit WebDunia
Vangyache Bharit- वांग्याचे भरीत (Baingan ka Bharta) (Smoked Aubergine)
- 1 Knife
- 1 Chopping Board
- 1 Tongs
- 1 non-stick heavy bottom saucepan with lid
- 1 Large vanga/baingan/eggplant/aubergine
- 1 Large Red Onion
- 3 Green Chillies
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin / Jeera
- 2 tsp Garam Masala
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp Hing / Asafoetida
- 1.5 tsp Turmeric
- 1.5 tsp Red chilli powder
- 3 tbsp Oil
- Fresh Coriander/Cilantro leaves to garnish
- Roast the eggplant on a gas hob over a naked flame, completely turning it on the side and moving it up and down so you don’t miss any bits. Refer to my recipe notes if you would prefer to do this in the oven or on a BBQ.
- Allow this to cool and then charred skin will come off easily.
- Roughly mash the aubergine using a fork.
- Finely chop one large red onion.
- Remove the skin from the garlic cloves, place garlic and green chillies into a mortar pestle and ground into a rough paste.
- Heat the saucepan and add oil, when the oil is hot, add asafoetida. Then add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter, then add the cumin.
- Now add the garlic and green chillies, chopped red onion and cook on low heat until the onions sweat.
- Then add the red chilly powder, turmeric and garam masala and stir well, follow it up with the smoked aubergine.
- Mix well and cook until done.
- Garnish with finely chopped coriander/cilantro.
- The beauty of this dish lies in the deep and rich smoky flavour of the eggplant, I would love to use charcoals and do this bit on an open rustic fire but well I make do with my hob. You could use the oven but it will take much longer but directly on the hob – though a bit messy, it’s quicker!
- While roasting the aubergine on the hob ensure you monitor it closely and use tongs to turn it over. Cooking over a flame on a gas hob directly should be done very carefully. Use the overhead extractor fan so that the smoke does not set off your fire alarm.
- For oven cooking, make some cuts in the aubergine using a sharp knife, rub lightly with some oil and wrap tightly with foil and place on a baking tray, and roast in a preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes at 180-degree celsius. Allow to cool completely before unwrapping and peeling off the skin.
- My Aai does not add tomatoes to this dish and at times uses some Goda masala as well as it has dry grated coconut which can really alter the taste. Many people add chopped tomatoes.
- Serve with hot rotis or steamed rice and dal.
- We also enjoy this cold, cool completely, and serve it with a generous helping of set curd/ yoghurt.
- Mash with your hands in a smooth mass of soft cooked, smoked eggplant.
LEARN HOW TO COOK WESTERN COASTAL INDIAN CUISINE FROM THE C.K.P COMMUNITY WITH MY EASY-TO-FOLLOW RECIPES.
FIND BELOW A LIST OF INDIAN RECIPES ON MY BLOG, SOME TRADITIONAL, SOME FUSION, AND MANY REGIONAL FAVOURITES!
- Fresh dill and yellow moong daal recipe
- Goda sheera/ sooji ka halwa/ Indian dessert
- CKP Surmai curry
- Pompfret fry
- Konbichi khichadi – Prawn khichadi
- Valache Birdhe – (वालाचे बिरडे) – MADE IN A TYPICAL C.K.P WAY
- Kairi Panhe/ Aam ka panha – Raw mango summer drink
- Cauliflower- vatana bhaji – cauliflower and green peas vegetarian side dish
- Podhnichi khichadi
- Akkha masoor aamti CKP style / Whole red lentils with skin curry recipe
- Achari Mutton curry
- Spicy Chicken curry
- Egg curry
- Kadhi – fusion of Punjabi and Gujrati kadhi recipes with vadi’s
- Gujrati Kadhi
- Shahi Khichadi
- Sweetcorn and paneer bhaji/sabzi (vegetable side dish)
- Tomato and coconut chutney
- Steamed Idli batter
- Ragi (Finger Millet) and blueberry pancakes
- Masala egg omlette
- Chicken tikka masala
- Tikka masala curry paste
- Tawa chicken Frankie roll
- Chai concentrate
- Grated carrot salad
- Strawberry flavoured shrikhand