Baigain Bharta

1 teaspoon asafetida
1 green chili sliced
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon salt
1 medium onion, chopped
a healthy amount of fresh cilantro-chopped
1 large eggplant
vegetable oil

The eggplant should be grilled to give the dish a nice smoky flavor. You can do this either by putting the whole eggplant on an outdoor grill and turning a couple of times, or what I do is to grill it on my gas range. I put down some tin foil to catch some of the juice which will come out and then put the eggplant directly on the flame. The outside of the eggplant will burn as the inside is cooked. Once the eggplant is cooked put it in a dish and let it cool a little. Once it is cool enough to work with then peel the skin off. This will be easy because it is burnt. Don't worry about getting all the skin off, a little remaining will add to the nice smoky flavor.

OK, now heat a tablespoons or so of oil in a frying pan/wok/tardka. When it is hot add some mustard seed (about a teaspoon or so). Let the seeds pop in the oil and the add the chopped onion. Fry until the onion has become translucent, then add the eggplant, asafetida, green chili, and salt.

Fry this for 5 or 10 minutes. Add the chopped cilantro, and enjoy.

This dish is usually eaten with flat bread-either chapatis or naan. You can try it with pita. Dip the pita in, make a rollup sandwich, whatever.

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