Marriage changes you. It influences your personality, and your responsibilities and priorities change. Your partner’s personality rubs off on you a little and vice versa. I have definitely become more calm, and patient after marriage. Things that would bother me earlier, still do bother me, but to a lesser extent. I would not attribute all the changes to V, although his role is undeniable, but marriage brought with it certain changes which have changed me, for the better. So, yes marriage changed me.

Marriage also changes your eating habits. I have seen a change in what V eats. He has started accepting mushrooms in his diet- he is still not crazy about them but has made his peace with mushrooms. All for me.

I too have adjusted my taste buds to his. From someone who wouldn’t touch bharta with a ten-foot pole, here I am writing about it on GMT.

That’s Change.

That’s Growth.

Baingan bharta is a dish made from roasted eggplants cooked with onions, tomatoes, chillies, ginger and garlic. Some people also add peas and other various vegetables to it.

Baingan (pronounced bane-gun) is what Indians call eggplant in hindi. And bharta (pronounced bhharta with the first “a” in bharta pronounced the same way you pronounce “u” in mud. Pardon me, but phonetic symbols are not my strongest point!), is the hindi word for roughly mashed/pureed vegetables.

This dish can be prepared two ways with roasted eggplant – one with accompanying raw ingredients which typically includes mustard oil and the other with cooked ingredients. The recipe below uses the latter method.

Honestly Baingan ka bharta was my least favorite dish growing up. It was hardly made at home, and when made, I never ate it. I wanted to like it, because eggplants are good for you, but I just found it too slimy to look at.

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I am not fond of eggplants. Never have been. But, post marriage, since V likes them A LOT, I have been forced to change my preferences. (Yes! Marriage is all about the compromise). And now I have finally warmed up to this vegetable. So, the other day when we ordered Eggplant Parmesan at a restaurant, I did not mind trying it out. It was really good and that’s when I made a mental note to myself to try making it at home.

And thus, began the search for a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan. I googled and one of the first search results had Bobby Flay’s version of Eggplant Parmesan. I remember watching the throwdown episode which showcased this recipe. Don’t remember who won, though, but I do remember Bobby Flay’s version was liked by a lot of people.

The sauce for this recipe is amazing. Roasted red peppers give a beautiful flavor to the sauce. It is time consuming to make it though and I would suggest to make the sauce a day or two in advance. And even though the recipe calls for fresh herbs, since I did not have any, I used dried herbs, with pretty good results. But, not having fresh herbs on hand gave me a brilliant idea to start my own herb garden (woohoo!). That’s going on my ‘next project to tackle’ list.

The recipe also calls for different kinds of cheeses and I am aware that such cheeses are difficult to find in India. Actually, even in the US, where I stay, its difficult to find such cheeses. So I used only Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese. It worked out fine.

I served this dish at a get together we had at our place, and the ones who tried this dish, loved it- one called it ‘restaurant style‘ :). But, the fact that it was an eggplant dish did not sit too well with many others and they weren’t too adventurous to try it. (I know the pre-marriage me would have also not tried it.) Next time, I’m going to mask the inclusion of eggplant by calling the dish by its italian name melanzane alla parmigiana. That way, eggplant haters will get fooled into trying the dish and eventually end up liking it! (Gosh! I have such a brilliant mind- slightly evil but brilliant nonetheless :):)!)

The sauce can be made 2 or 3 days in advance. Although the dish is best when freshly made, it can be assembled and refrigerated the day before, and then baked before serving. Alternatively, bake the dish a day in advance, cover and refrigerate; the next day reheat in a preheated 400 degree F oven for about 20 minutes.

Don’t get scared by the long list of ingredients, the result is well worth it! And do make the sauce in advance so that the workload is less on the day you decide to eat it.

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