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Baigan Ka Bharta

4 tsp. vegetable oil
2 eggplants, halved lengthwise
1/4 tsp. mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1-inch ginger, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder (optional)
1/2 tsp. dried mango powder (amchoor)
1/2 tsp. garam masala
Salt, to taste
A few drops of lemon juice, to taste (optional)
Some fresh coriander, chopped

• Rub 1 tsp. of oil evenly on the eggplants and put in a hot oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until the skin begins to burn and they are tender on the inside. After cooling, peel, then use a blender to blend the pulp into a smooth paste.
• Heat the remaining oil. Pop the mustard seeds in it and add the bay leaf, green chilies, ginger, and onions. Stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggplant pulp, tomatoes and turmeric powder and cook for 7 to 8 minutes (add a little water if needed). Add all the other masalas and stir. Add the lemon juice and coriander and stir well.
• Garnish with some chopped coriander and serve warm as a spicy accompaniment.

Makes 4 servings

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