This Spicy Roasted Eggplant Dip is a combination of Trini-Indian Baigan Choka & Baigan Bharta dishes - combining roasted eggplant with onion, tomatoes, chili, and a scotch bonnet pepper for a flavorful mashed eggplant dip.
Peel the onion and garlic and slice the chili peppers into two or four pieces. If you're using cherry tomatoes, you can keep them whole; otherwise, cut larger tomatoes into wedges.
Wash and dry the eggplant. Next, you'll need to create 4 slits in the eggplant (evenly apart, so there is one on every side of the eggplant), lengthwise along the entire eggplant. This will create 'pockets' in the eggplant (refer to the images above).
Stuff the pockets with some of the garlic, onion, tomatoes, and herbs. This will help the flavors to infuse while they cook. Then drizzle the whole eggplant with a little olive oil.
Step 2: Roast the eggplant
Roast the stuffed eggplant in a preheated oven for around 20 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC.Optionally, turn on the broiler at the end and broil it for a little while longer to add some charred flavor to the ingredients.
Step 3: Remove the skin
Once baked, remove the eggplant from the oven and allow it to cool down enough to handle. You can remove the skin from the eggplant.I find it easiest to peel the skin. However, you can 'scoop' out the flesh with a spoon if preferred.
Step 4: Mash The Spicy Eggplant Mixture
Add all of the ingredients to a food processor, add salt & pepper and blend into the desired consistency (this can be fairly chunky or super smooth).Alternatively, you can hand-mash the spicy eggplant mixture using a potato masher or even pestle & mortar.
With a flame
Roast the eggplant over the open flame of your gas-cooker for about 5 minutes on each side until the skin is blistered and it's limp/soft and easily pierces with a skewer or knife.It's a good idea to use a heatproof 'rack' over the flame so that the eggplant cooks evenly.I find this more hassle due to the nestled ingredients within the eggplant 'pockets'. So, if doing the above, it's a good idea to place tin foil on your stovetop base for easier clean up (as juices will run).You can alternatively separately blister the tomatoes and pepper and then chop and saute the onion, tomatoes, and chilies until softened. Once all ingredients are ready, combine and mash.
How To Store Baigan Choka?
Fridge: Allow the roasted eggplant dip to cool and then store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for between 2-3 days.
Freezer: Allow it to cool and transfer to a freezer-safe container. It can then be stored for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
To Reheat: Reheat the roasted eggplant dip on the stovetop or in the microwave until warm through.
Adapt this to your preferred heat level: I know Scotch Bonnet definitely will be too spicy for many, so feel free to adjust this spicy eggplant to your preferred level, so it's enjoyable for you.
Be careful when preparing chilies: be careful not to touch your face, especially your mouth and eyes. If possible, wear gloves.
The Onion: Some traditional versions of this dish use raw onion or lightly saute it. I roast mine - feel free to add it raw if preferred.
Feel free to omit the tomatoes: This spicy eggplant recipe works really well with and without tomatoes.
To add the 'chunkaying'/'chongkaying' step: Heat 2-3 tablespoon oil (olive oil or mustard oil work well- though you could also use ghee or even butter for alternative options) until it's scalding, and then pour this directly over the mashed spicy eggplant mixture and mix well.
Feel free to experiment with spices: For example, Punjabi versions of this roasted eggplant dip often include cumin and garam masala.
Read the blog post above for more FAQs - including how to substitute the scotch bonnet and more!