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 as a dip with some chips as an appetizer. This make-ahead dish will be a hit either way!
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 stovetop burners, I cook this over the grill in the summers or in the oven.
Last summer, while my mom was with me, we experimented with quite 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 the stovetop.
To get the smokey flavors sauté the sliced eggplant 3-6 discs at a time just as they start becoming lightly charred. It took me about 30 minutes to char and partially cook 2 medium eggplants. Once the eggplant sliced are charred, the remaining recipe is really easy.
Variations for Baingan Bharta Instant Pot recipe:
- add mustard seeds instead of cumin or skip them altogether
- add or skip green chilies
- tomatoes and scallions for garnish are optional
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Baingan Bharta Instant Pot
- Peel and slice the eggplants, about ¼th inch thick slices.
- Set Instant Pot to saute(more) mode. Add ½ 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 slightly 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, green chilies, and curry leaves. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Add ¼ 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.
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