Baingan Bharta Instant Pot? We know, sounds a bit crazy, but yes totally doable.
Baingan bharta is a classic Indian vegetarian dish cooked with smoky and flavorful roasted eggplant cooked in onions, garlic, tomatoes and chilies. Served with toasted naan or pita bread as a main course or serve it as a dip with some chips as an appetizer. This make ahead dish will be a hit either ways!
This Baingan Bharta Instant Pot recipe is adapted from my stove-top version of baingan bharta. The traditional way to cook this recipe is to cook the whole eggplant over charcoal or direct fire. Given the mess it creates with the charred eggplant on open fire aka my indoor stove top burners, I cook this over the grill in the summers or in the oven.
Last summer, while my mom was with me, we experimented quiet a lot of dishes using eggplant. Baingan bharta was one of those. And although it is not as ‘instant’ as we would like, we were happy to see the flavors not being compromised. It tasted very similar to the oven broiled eggplant that is then cooked on stove top.
So the most challenging part is to sauté the sliced eggplant 3-6 discs at a time until they start to get lightly charred. It tool me about 30 minutes to char and partially cook 2 medium eggplants. The process after that was super easy and since the eggplant is peeled before cooking, there is no mess trying to peel a hot charred eggplant.
You can also change up this Instant Pot Baingan Bharta recipe by:
- add mustard seeds instead of cumin or skip them altogther
- add or skip green chilies
- tomatoes and scallions for garnish are optional
- 1.5 LB eggplants 2 medium
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon green chilies minced
- 12-15 curry leaves optional
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 to matoes diced and divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup scallions chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
Peel and slice the eggplants, about 1/4th inch thick slices.
Set Instant Pot to saute(more) mode. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the Instant pot and line up a single layer of eggplant slices. Cook on each side for 2 mins or until they get lightly charred. Use a glass lid to also help the eggplant cook.
Take out the partially cooked slices, add more oil and cook the remaining eggplant sliced adding oil as needed. Set aside all the eggplant slices.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to the Instant Pot. Add cumin, turmeric, onions, garlic, and green chilies, mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water and deglaze the pot with a spatula clearing any browned bits from the pot. Add half of the tomatoes and mix well. Add the eggplant slices and salt. Close Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Pressure cook for 4-6 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices and how much they are already cooked.
Allow Natural pressure release or quick release after 5 mins. Open the Instant Pot and set it to sauté mode. Mash the eggplant slices with a spatula or potato masher. Add half of the remaining tomatoes, scallions and cilantro. Allow any excess water to evaporate. Garnish with remaining tomatoes, scallions and cilantro. Enjoy with toasted naan, pita bread or chips.