This smooth-textured, luscious side dish—the word bhartha means to pulverize in Hindi, referring to the fact that the ingredients are traditionally mashed in a mortar with a pestle—is excellent served with rice on Naan.

Yield: serves 4


  • 2 medium eggplants (2 lbs.)
  • 8 Tbsp. ghee
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 thai green chiles, stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 12 Tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp. kashmiri red chile powder or paprika
  • Salt
  • Sliced tomatoes, for garnish
  • Julienned ginger, for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. Cook eggplants directly over a medium gas flame, turning, until charred and softened, 10–12 minutes each. Remove skin and roughly chop flesh. Mash eggplant flesh with the bottom of a drinking glass; set aside.
  2. Heat ghee in a pot over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook for 30–45 seconds. Add onions and cook until browned, 25–30 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and chiles; cook until lightly browned, 4–5 minutes. Add tomatoes and sugar; cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add eggplant, garam masala, chile powder or paprika, and salt to taste. Cook until hot, 3–4 minutes more. Serve garnished with sliced tomatoes, julienned ginger, and chopped cilantro leaves.