Recipe Oroh (charred aubergine curry)

Morning Glory

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Oroh (spelling varies) is the Gujurati name for this charred aubergine dish. It is also known as baingan bharta in North Indian. Recipes for this dish vary but all start with whole charred roasted aubergine (bringal). I also used a head of roasted garlic in this dish, which is probably not traditional but I reckon it adds to the smoky roasted flavour. Mango powder adds the perfect souring agent to this spicy smoky dish, but you could use a little lemon juice instead. Serve with naan bread and plain yoghurt.

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Ingredients (serves 2)
1 aubergine
1 head of garlic
4 banana shallots or 1 medium onion, fairly finely sliced
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp asafoetida
½ tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
5 bird’s eye chillies (I used green and red)
½ x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
½ tsp Amchar/mango powder (or to taste) or a little lemon juice
Salt to taste
Chopped green chillies and/or flash fried fresh curry leaves to serve.

Method
  1. Roast the whole aubergine until charred. You can do this in a very hot oven, over a gas flame or on a BBQ (outdoor grill) or under a grill (broiler). Roast until the skin chars and the flesh inside is softened. This will take approximately 10 mins if cooking directly over a flame or up to 30 minutes in a high oven. Set aside to cool.
  2. When cooled, split the aubergine from stem to base and scrape out the interior. Scrape as close to the skin as possible. Roughly chop the aubergine flesh.
  3. Heat the oven to 180C. Cut the top off the garlic bulb, exposing the tops of the garlic cloves. Wrap in foil and roast for 25-30 mins until soft when pressed. Leave to cool for a few minutes before squeezing the soft roasted garlic out of their shells. Set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep sided frying pan and add the sliced shallots (or onions). Cook gently until they become golden brown. This will take at least 10 minutes.
  5. Turn up the heat and add the cumin seeds, frying for a 30 seconds to toast them.
  6. Add the asafoetida, turmeric, cinnamon and Kashmiri chilli and cook for a few seconds before adding the chopped aubergine and chopped tomatoes. Add the roasted garlic.
  7. Pierce the chillies in several places and add whole to the pan. Stir and continue to cook over a gentle heat for 30 minutes. Add water if the mixture becomes too dry. Add salt and mango powder (or a little lemon juice) to taste. Garnish with fried curry leaves and/or chopped green chillies.

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