It’s peak eggplant season around here, so on a recent beach camping trip to Morro Bay I decided to campify one of my mother-in-law’s specialties, an Indian eggplant dish called Baingan Bharta. It’s a bit like baba ghanoush in its preparation. Eggplant is roasted and then mashed with some onion, ginger, garlic and spices. The result is smoky, creamy and well spiced, great for scooping up with flatbread.
At home, we place the whole eggplant in the oven, but at camp it can be wrapped tightly in foil and tossed directly in the embers of your campfire. Roast it until it’s very soft and finish the dish in a skillet on the grate of your campfire or on a camp stove.
I’ve had it both with and without peas mixed in, but I definitely prefer it with peas. I brought a bag of frozen peas and they were fine even after defrosting in my cooler for two days.
Serve this as a healthy appetizer with fresh veggies, or make it a meal with flatbread and a simple pot of beans. Enjoy!
Fire Roasted Indian Eggplant
Prep Time / Cook Time/
Activity GuideCar Camping
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- 1 cup peas
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
- Cast iron skillet
- Cutting board
- Long tongs
- Medium bowl
- Stove or grate set over a campfire
- Wrap the eggplant tightly in heavy duty foil and place directly in the embers of a campfire. Cook the eggplant, turning often with long tongs until it’s very soft and tender. This may take anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on how hot your fire is. Remove from the fire and set aside to cool.
- When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel and mash it, placing the soft flesh in a bowl.
- Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet set on a grate over a campfire. Alternatively, you can use any large skillet on a camp stove. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt, and stir for about a minute.
- Add the tomato and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir in the eggplant and the peas. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Taste and add additional salt and spices as needed. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. Serve with hot flatbread.