Baingan Chokha

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Baingan Chokha or Bharata is a simple, zestful, smoky relish, made with fire-roasted eggplant, fresh herbs, and mustard oil. Simple, zestful, smoky relish traditionally, served with Litti, a stuffed roasted dough ball. This dish is vegan, gluten-free, and low-fat.

 

baingan chokha

 

BAINGAN CHOKHA 

Baingan chokha or Bharta is a smoky relish made with fire-roasted eggplant, some herbs, and mustard oil. It is traditionally, served with Litti, a stuffed roasted dough ball.

Litti-chokha is a popular dish in North Indian cuisine. Chokha is made with one or a combination of veggies. Fire-roasted veggies are mashed, flavored with some fresh herbs, and spices, and drizzled with some mustard oil, to give chokha a robust flavor.

Chokha is typically made with eggplant (baingan), potatoes (aloo), or tomatoes. I have shared recipes for Baingan Chokha and Tomato Chokha on my blog. It can be made with a combination of veggies like Baingan aloo chokha (eggplant potato), or baingan aloo tomato chokha (eggplant potato tomato).

Pic Shown: Green Garlic Cilantro Chutney, Baingan Chokha, Tomato Chokha, Avocado Litti

 

litti chokha

 

INGREDIENTS FOR BAINGAN CHOKHA

1 medium eggplant

6-8 garlic cloves

1 large potato (optional)

1 large tomato

2-3 green chili, chopped; adjust to taste

1 medium onion (optional), chopped

1/2 inch ginger, chopped or grated

1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt

1 tablespoon mustard oil – For milder flavor use olive oil; Skip this if adding tempering.

A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

few mint leaves (optional)

green garlic (optional) – fresh or frozen green garlic; available in most Asian/Indian supermarkets.

freshly squeezed lemon juice, adjust to taste

FOR TEMPERING (OPTIONAL)

1/2 tablespoon mustard oil – For milder flavor use olive oil

1 teaspoon panch puran

1/8 teaspoon asafoetida

2-3 dried whole red chili

Pic Shown: Baingan Chokha

 

baingan chokha

 

HOW TO PICK BAINGAN (EGGPLANT) FOR CHOKHA

Picking fresh vegetables is a key to making this delicious chokha. It is important to use fresh, young eggplant. Look for eggplant with a glossy, smooth skin, green stem, and is heavy for its size.

Eggplant should be firm and not hard to touch. To check for ripeness, lightly press the eggplant against its skin, if you can see the imprint, the eggplant is ripe. Choose small to medium size eggplants. They are sweet, and less bitter than the large ones. 

The more mature the eggplant (left to grow longer) will have more seeds, and with more seeds comes more bitterness.

Eggplants do not stay fresh for a long period of time. It is best to use them within a day or two.

DIFFERENT METHODS TO ROAST VEGGIES

Start by roasting the eggplant. Roasting the eggplant brings out its natural sweetness and flavors and gives them a rich velvety texture. The robust flavors of roasted eggplant, and roasted garlic, are reflected in this simple relish.

There are different ways you can roast the veggies. Traditionally, veggies are roasted on an open fire or on a stovetop, to bring out the rustic, smoky flavors of the veggies. You can roast the veggies in an oven, in an instant pot using an air-fryer lid or crisp lid, or in an air fryer.

Rinse the veggies well, and pat dry the veggies with a clean kitchen towel. Follow one of the methods discussed below to roast the veggies.

AIR FRYER | AIR FRYER LID ROASTED TOMATOES 

You will need Mealthy Crisplidtongs

IMPORTANT: Completely UNPLUG the Instant Pot unit, before proceeding with this recipe.

Using a pastry brush, grease the crispy basket with some cooking oil. Arrange the eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic in the crispy basket. Using a pastry brush, apply some oil over the veggies.

Note: You can place the veggies directly on the trivet (that comes with crisplid), or use the crispy basket, both work fine.

Depending upon the size of the veggies, you may have to work in batches.

Place the trivet (that comes with crisplid) inside the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place the crispy basket on top of the trivet. Now place the mealthy crisplid on top of the inner pot. Plug the crisp lid and lower the handle.

Roast the veggies at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes, check halfway through.

Check if the veggies are done. The veggies will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the veggies, if it goes through it without any resistance the veggies are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.

Note: Potatoes take a little longer to cook. Remove the veggies that are cooked and continue with the process.

Note: Please use timing as a guideline. Depending upon the size of the veggies, the cooking time will vary. 

Remove the crispy basket and allow the veggies to cool down for a few minutes.

Pic Shown: Air Fryer Baingan Chokha

 

baingan chokha

 

OVEN-ROASTED TOMATOES 

You will need 9*13 inches baking sheettongs

I love roasting veggies in an oven. This oven method works great when cooking big. It saves a ton of time and cleanup is easy.

Preheat the oven at BROIL or 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Arrange the veggies on a 9*13 inches baking sheet. Brush the veggies with some oil.

Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven. Roast the veggies for 25-30 minutes, check halfway through.

Pic Shown: Oven Roasted Veggies

 

 

Check if the veggies are done. The veggies will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the veggies, if it goes through it without any resistance the veggies are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.

Note: Potatoes take a little longer to cook. Remove the veggies that are cooked and continue with the process.

Note: Please use timing as a guideline. Depending upon the size of the veggies, the cooking time will vary. Different ovens work differently, adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Remove the veggies from the oven, and let it cool down for a few minutes. 

STOVETOP ROASTED TOMATOES 

You will need roti jalitongs

Place a Roti Jali on a stovetop. On a medium heat, roast the veggies.

Turn the veggies every few minutes for even roasting. 

Check if the veggies are done. The veggies will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the veggies, if it goes through it without any resistance the veggies are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.

Remove from heat. Let veggies cool down for a few minutes. 

HOW TO MAKE BAINGAN CHOKHA 

STEP BY STEP process of making Baingan Chokha.

ROASTING VEGGIES

Use one of the methods discussed earlier to roast the veggies.

Once the veggies are at room temperature, peel the skin, and place the veggies in a mixing bowl. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the garlic pods and add it to the bowl.

Using a potato masher, mash the veggies to the desired consistency. I prefer a mix of small and large chunks to add texture to the chokha.

Note: You can use a handheld blender or a food processor to mash the veggies. Pulse a few times, or to a desired consistency.

Next add raw onions (optional), green chili as per taste, grated ginger, green garlic (optional), and a handful of fresh cilantro. Raw onions give this relish a savory depth, green chili gives the required heat to this dish and fresh cilantro adds brightness and a nice refreshing flavor to this relish.

Lastly squeezed some fresh lemon juice, Pink Himalayan Salt, drizzle some mustard oil or olive oil. Fresh lemon juice balances the sweetness with its tangy flavor. Mustard oil adds a punch to this simple dish with its smoky, pungent flavor. If you are not a big fan of mustard oil, use olive oil. 

Note: Do not add oil, if adding tempering.

Pic Shown: Baingan Chokha

 

 

FOR TEMPERING (OPTIONAL)

Tempering is optional. I think it adds a layer of flavoring to this simple dish. This relish is versatile. Serve it with meat, veggies, or simple flatbread. I like to serve it with Litti

Heat some mustard oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add panch puran spice mix, dried whole red chili, and asafoetida. Turn OFF the heat. Add the tempering over baingan chokha. Mix well. 

Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve Baingan Chokha with some avocado litti, tomato chokha, and Dhaba (restaurant) style dal fry, green garlic cilantro chutney, jaggery, and some salad. YUM!!!

TIPS FOR DELICIOUS BAINGAN CHOKHA

Use fresh vegetables. Please refer to the post discussed earlier on HOW TO PICK EGGPLANT FOR CHOKHA. 

Potatoes can be boiled or roasted. We like the roasted potatoes in the chokha. Feel free to use boiled potatoes if you prefer.

Applying some oil to the veggies helps veggies crisps evenly. Cooking spray works just fine.

Cooking time may vary depending upon the size of the veggies. Please use timing as a guideline. Different air fryers and ovens, work differently.

Traditionally, raw mustard oil is added to the chokha for robust flavor. You can heat the oil and add it, works just fine. For a mild flavor, use some olive oil.

We like the flavor of raw onions in the chokha. You can sauté the onions first, before adding them to the chokha.

Lemon juice adds freshness and a hint of tanginess to the chokha. Well, the balance of sweet and tangy relish. You can also use lime juice works just fine or some dried mango powder

Green chili adds spiciness to the chokha. You can add some red chili powder. Adjust to taste.

Pic Shown: Baingan Chokha (Bharta)

 

baingan chokha

 

VARIATIONS TO THIS BAINGAN CHOKHA

Traditionally, raw mustard oil is used for robust flavor. Some may not like the pungent flavor of mustard oil. You can heat the oil and add it to the chokha or use some olive oil for a milder flavor.

Raw onions, green garlic, and cilantro add a nice crunch and freshness to the chokha. Feel free to add as little or more depending upon your liking.

Roasted and raw garlic, both have a distinct flavor. You can use either of them. Roasted garlic adds a sweeter, milder garlic taste to the chokha. For robust flavor use raw garlic.

Roasted red bell pepper, adds a nice smoky, sweet, peppery flavor to the chokha. Roast the red bell pepper, peel the skin and discard the seeds. Chop the bell pepper and add it to the chokha.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS TANDOOR

Tandoor is an open, clay oven, used in India for baking and/or roasting purpose. Typically, veggies are roasted in the tandoor and are used to make the chokha. At home, we use the oven method for the same.

WHERE CAN I FIND GREEN GARLIC

Green garlic is available in most Asian / Indian grocery stores. You can find fresh green garlic in the produce section or frozen green garlic in the frozen vegetable section.

HOW TO SERVE BAINGAN CHOKHA

Chokha can be served warm or at room temperature. Serve Tomato Chokha with some avocado litti, tomato chokha, Dhaba (restaurant-style) dal fry, green garlic cilantro chutney, jaggery, and some salad

HOW TO STORE BAINGAN CHOKHA

Chokha stays fresh for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Don’t add raw onions, green garlic, cilantro, or any other vegetable to choke if you plan on storing it. Reheat the chokha and stir in onion, green garlic, and cilantro. Enjoy!!

CAN I FREEZE BAINGAN CHOKHA 

Yes, you can freeze baingan chokha for up to a month. Don’t add raw onions, green garlic, cilantro, or any other vegetable to chokha if you plan on storing it.  

Thaw the chokha overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat the chokha and stir in onion, green garlic, and cilantro. Enjoy!!

Pic Shown: Green Garlic Cilantro Chutney, Tomato Chokha, Baingan Chokha, Avocado Littil

 

litti chokha

 

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baingan chokha

Baingan Chokha

Jyoti Behrani
Baingan Chokha or Bharata is a simple, zestful, smoky relish, made with fire-roasted eggplant, fresh herbs, and mustard oil. Simple, zestful, smoky relish traditionally, served with Litti, a stuffed roasted dough ball. This dish is vegan, gluten-free, and low-fat.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Bihari, Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

INGREDIENTS FOR BAINGAN CHOKHA

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • 1 large potato (optional)
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2-3 green chili, chopped; adjust to taste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 inch ginger, chopped or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil – For milder flavor use olive oil; Skip this if adding tempering.
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • few mint leaves (optional)
  • 3-4  stem  garlic greens, white and greens chopped (optional)
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice, adjust to taste

FOR TEMPERING (OPTIONAL)

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the veggies well, and pat dry the veggies with a clean kitchen towel.
    Follow one of the methods discussed below to roast the veggies.

AIR FRYER | AIR FRYER LID ROASTED VEGGIES

  • You will need Mealthy Crisplidtongs
    IMPORTANT: Completely UNPLUG the Instant Pot unit, before proceeding with this recipe.
  • Using a pastry brush, grease the crispy basket with some cooking oil. Arrange the eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic in the crispy basket. Using a pastry brush, apply some oil over the veggies.
    Note: You can place the veggies directly on the trivet (that comes with crisplid), or use the crispy basket, both work fine.
  • Depending upon the size of the veggies, you may have to work in batches.
  • Place the trivet (that comes with crisplid) inside the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place the crispy basket on top of the trivet. Now place the mealthy crisplid on top of the inner pot. Plug the crisp lid and lower the handle.
  • Roast the veggies at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes, check halfway through.
  • Check if the veggies are done. The veggies will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the veggies, if it goes through it without any resistance the veggies are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.
    Note: Potatoes take a little longer to cook. Remove the veggies that are cooked and continue with the process.
    Note: Please use timing as a guideline. Depending upon the size of the veggies, the cooking time will vary.
  • Remove the crispy basket and allow the veggies to cool down for a few minutes.

OVEN-ROASTED VEGGIES

  • You will need 9*13 inches baking sheettongs
  • Preheat the oven at BROIL or 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Arrange the veggies on a 9*13 inches baking sheet. Brush the veggies with some oil.
  • Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven. Roast the veggies for 25-30 minutes, check halfway through.
  • Check if the veggies are done. The veggies will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the veggies, if it goes through it without any resistance the veggies are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.
    Note: Potatoes take a little longer to cook. Remove the veggies that are cooked and continue with the process.
    Note: Please use timing as a guideline. Depending upon the size of the veggies, the cooking time will vary.
  • Remove the veggies from the oven, and let it cool down for a few minutes.

STOVETOP ROASTED VEGGIES

  • You will need roti jalitongs
  • Place a Roti Jali on a stovetop. On a medium heat, roast the veggies.
  • Turn the veggies every few minutes for even roasting.
  • Check if the veggies are done. The veggies will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the veggies, if it goes through it without any resistance the veggies are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.
  • Remove from heat. Let veggies cool down for a few minutes.

HOW TO MAKE BAINGAN CHOKHA

  • Use one of the methods discussed earlier to roast the veggies.
  • Once the veggies are at room temperature, peel the skin, and place the veggies in a mixing bowl. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the garlic pods and add it to the bowl.
  • Using a potato masher, mash the veggies to the desired consistency.
    Note: You can use a handheld blender or a food processor to mash the veggies. Pulse a few times, or to the desired consistency.
  • Next add raw onions (optional), green chili as per taste, grated ginger, green garlic (optional), and a handful of fresh cilantro.
  • Lastly squeezed some fresh lemon juice, Pink Himalayan Salt, drizzle some mustard oil or olive oil.
    Note: Do not add oil, if adding tempering.

FOR TEMPERING (OPTIONAL)

Notes

Please refer to the post for the following:
  1. How To Pick Baingan For Chokha
  2. Tips For Delicious Baingan Chokha
  3. Variations To This Baingan Chokha
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
 
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baingan chokha

Jyoti Behrani

Hello!! Welcome to my blog, my journey Living Smart and Healthy! Cook with me easy and authentic Indian food and around the globe. Will be sharing tips and tricks on easy authentic cooking, without spending hours in the kitchen or comprising on authentic flavors. Keeping things simple and healthy is what I am all about. Life is simple, so lets keep cooking simple too!!

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