Smoked Eggplant (Baingan Bartha)

This dish is great comfort food, and is pretty simple to make.  I first tried it at an Indian restaurant and fell in love with the smoky flavor and creamy texture.  I serve it over basmati rice, but it would be great with naan too.  If you are new to cooking Indian food, this is a great place to start!  The quantities here make enough for 2 hungry people, but it would be easy to make more. Normally, this would include some chopped tomatoes added after the ginger, but I didn’t have any tomatoes on hand.

1 eggplant
vegetable oil
2 tbsp ghee
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
pinch cayenne pepper (or more, if you like spicy food!)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Grill your eggplant.  Rub all over with a little vegetable oil, then either place over a foil-lined gas burner or on a grill.  Rotate every few minutes, until all the skin is black and charred and the eggplant is soft (10-15 minutes).
Remove the eggplant from the burner or grill and cool.
Scrape off all the skin, then mash the pulp (seeds included) in a bowl using a potato masher or wooden spoon.
Heat the ghee in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  
Add the onions and saute until golden brown, 7 or 8 minutes.
Add the ginger and cayenne and cook for about a minute, then add the eggplant puree and salt.
Cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking.
Remove from heat, spoon over rice, and garnish with cilantro
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