Roasted Eggplant and Bell pepper with Kale
Indian restaurants serving North Indian cuisine typically have a dish called Baingan Bharta. This dish is made with roasted eggplant stewed with onions and tomatoes spiced with garam masala, the quintessential spice mix for North Indian dishes. A parallel can be drawn to babaghanoush, its middle eastern cousin, which is also made of roasted eggplant – but the similarities end there. While I don’t know the genesis of baingan bharta, my hypothesis is that the dish came to India with the Mughals and took its own spicy form in India. My version is simple in its flavors and does not use many spices, relying on the flavors of the vegetables and aromatics to shine through.
What You Need
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 medium sized tomatillos
- 1 bunch kale
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
- 2 thai green Chillies
- 4 green onions
- 2 Tblsp of oil
- 1/2 Tblsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Salt and pepper to taste
How It’s Done
- Finish the mis en place. Mince the chillies, ginger and garlic. Chop the green onions, de-stem the kale and chop fine.
- Massage the kale with olive oil and salt and set aside while you work on roasting the vegetables. This reduces the bitterness and also helps kale cook faster.
- Roast the eggplant, bell pepper and tomatillos on the gas flame, periodically turning them so they are evenly charred and roasted. You can also roast them in the oven, although I find the gas stove top method more efficient. Roasting concentrates and enhances the flavors of the vegetables. Below are images of the roasting eggplant and bell pepper.
- Wrap the roasted vegetables in separate aluminum foils and let sit for a few minutes. The steam will help remove the charred skins.
- While the roasted vegetables are resting, heat oil in a pan and when hot, add the green onions and sauté for a minute, then add the ginger, garlic and chillies and let cook for another minute. Add turmeric and sauté.
- Now, decking the tomatillos and chop, and add to the pan. Let the tomatillos sweat and release their juices.
- Skin the eggplant – it looks like the image at the bottom. This roasted eggplant can now be easily cut- just run a knife through vertically and horizontally. Remove the seeds from the bell pepper and chop similarly, into small pieces.
- Add both to the stewing tomatillos, also adding the kale to the pan. Mix well.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and cook until the kale is cooked, about 7-10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with naan or chapati or rice.