Pumpkin Baingan Bharta

Baingan Bharta is my third favorite Indian dish (after the Rucci fry at Rucci in Overland Park, KS) and Cauliflower Manchurian, also known as the greatest meal ever.  For those not familiar with the dish, baingan bharta is an eggplant curry made from ginger, garlic, chilies, and cilantro.

But You Said Pumpkin

That’s right.  Baingan Bharta is traditionally made with eggplant, but this is Fall and stores are so full of pumpkin that there is no room for shoppers.  So, in the hopes of eating seasonal, I thought it might be fun to swap out eggplant for pumpkin.  (This is, of course, not a decision I take lightly, me since I really love eggplant.)

I also played with the spice blend just a little.  Whenever I cook with pumpkin, I try to use nutmeg, allspice, and sometimes cinnamon because those spices typically go with pumpkin (think pumpkin pie.)  In this case, I added ground coriander because it can be used as a nutmeg substitute and it is very Indian.

Pumpkin Baingan Bharta

  • 2.5 pounds pumpkin, cut into 1 inch squares
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 can of plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup, yogurt or heavy cream
  • 1 Serrano chili, diced
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the pumpkin in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Bake the pumpkin in the oven for 45 minutes.

Mix the garlic and ginger in a food processor with just enough water to form a smooth paste.  This can be done with any quantity of ginger and garlic.  It can also be made by mashing the garlic and ginger with a knife.

Put the remaining oil in a skillet and heat over a medium flame.  Toast the cumin seeds for 1 minute.  Add the onions and cook until they become soft, which usually takes 3-5 minutes.

Add the garlic ginger paste, curry powder, coriander, and chopped tomatoes.  Reserve the tomato juice.  Cook for 2 minutes.

Add the pumpkin, tomato juice, yogurt, and chilies.  Cover and cook for five minutes.  Remove the lid and continue cooking until the sauce thickens, typically about 10 minutes.

Add the cilantro and cook for another thirty seconds and serve with rice and naan.

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