Mama’s Punjabi Recipes – Aloo Baingan (POTATOES AND EGGPLANT)


Eggplant are very popular in India per se and especially so in the North where they are generally cooked in only a few variants, with the most popular being the bhartha or the dish that is presented here, aloo baingan.

The plant that bears the eggplant is native to the Indian Subcontinent but it is widely available all over the world and cooked in many ways. There are many varieties of the plant that produce different sizes, shapes and color, though typically purple. The small variety, sold in grocery stores here as “Indian eggplant” are the ones used for this recipe as they provide the best taste and consistency, although this dish can be made with the large, round eggplants cut into pieces. You may try it that way and will notice the difference in overall presentation and flavor.

One thing to remember when cooking with eggplant is that once it is cut and left open, the flesh will start to oxidize and turn brown and eventually black. It is for this reason that I suggest placing the cut vegetable in water so that the flesh remains clean and fresh.

On a healthy note, eggplants have all the B vitamins, and are high in B9 (folate) as well as in calcium (1%), phosphorus (3%) and potassium (5%).

Aloo Baingan

Aloo Baingan


•1 lb small desi baingan (small Indian eggplant)

•1 lb aloo (potatoes) (small round are preferable)

•1 large pyaaz (onion)

•2 medium tamater (tomato) – soft ones are best

•1 medium clump of adrak (ginger root)

•1 medium kernel of lasan (garlic)

•2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil

•Spices: namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), haldi (tur meric) and sukha dhania powder (dried coriander seed powder), garam masala 


1. Cut the eggplants and potatoes lengthwise and let them soak in water so that they don’t turn dark.

2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet, wok or khadai. Cut the onion, ginger and garlic into small pieces and brown them in the oil. Now add the diced tomatoes. Add the turmeric, pepper and coriander powder and stir for a while till the mixture has a nice consistency and aroma.

3. Drain the eggplant and potatoes, add to the skillet and stir well to coat them with the masala. Be sure to add salt at this point, to your taste. Cover the skillet well and turn the heat down to medium.

4. The vegetables will cook in their own steam so let them cook covered for 15 minutes. Check to seek that they are tender and stir gently to make sure they are sticking to the bottom. Turn the heat to very low and then let cook covered in their own steam for 10 more minutes.

5. Uncover the skillet and sprinkle with garam masala and let it sit covered for a while to let the taste and aroma of the garam masala seep through. This dish is best eaten with roti or naan.


Shakuntla Malhotra recently returned to Houston after a six-week vacation in her homeland India. She is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.