Today I am sharing this great and rather unexpected Instant Pot Baigan Choka recipe. You read right, Instant Pot Baigan Choka. For you nay sayers give it a try and change your mind.
I have an electric stove, which means I can’t roast eggplant to make Baigan choka. So I usually reserve this dish for summer time when I can use the burner on my grill. Well, my mom is visiting as I am about to have knee surgery. Long story short, I tore my meniscus and I am having it repaired. So mom is here for about two months and was making roti and said, baigan choka would go nice with these while I was washing my Instant Pot and a light bulb went on in my head.
Steaming the eggplant for the baigan choka:
I wanted this dish to have the smoky flavor of traditional baigan choka so I added some liquid smoke along with 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of my instant pot before pressure cooking the eggplant. Traditionally, baigan choka is made by roasting eggplant over an open flame. Adding the liquid smoke was just what I needed to mimic that smoky flavor. Have you ever used liquid smoke in your cooking? If you haven’t and want to try, you can buy it here or you can find it in your local supermarket, on the shelf with the BBQ sauces.
Deep slits in the eggplant serve as a conduit for the smoke and it penetrated the fleshy eggplant exactly how I hoped it would. Traditionally I would stuff the slits with slices of garlic but I decided to skip that step for fear that it would prevent the eggplant from cooking evenly. Next time I make baigan choka in the Instant Pot, I will definitely try adding the garlic to the slits for an even greater depth of infused flavor. Check out my traditional Baigan Choka recipe here to see how I made the slits in the eggplant and add the garlic.
Peeling the steamed eggplant:
After the eggplant pressure cooks, it was so easy to peel the skin off and crush the flesh up with a fork. You can shred this up as much or as little as you like. I prefer a bit of chunkiness to my baigan choka, while others like it really smooth and mushy. There is no right or wrong way to make it. Check out my traditional Baigan choka recipe here to see how I peel and shred the eggplant.
The Instant pot really made it so easy to make this dish. If you have an instant pot start using it! I have quite a few Instant Pot recipes (click here for the full list) and during this month I am sharing a few more, so stayed tuned. And if you don’t have an instant pot, get one here. I promise you won’t regret it. Also check out “Shop My Favs” to see my recommendations for kitchen equipment and tools that I can’t stop raving about.
Sautéing the veggies:
I wanted to make this a truly Instant Pot recipe and so I sautéd my veggies used to season the baigan choka in the instant pot, but you can do this in a skillet if you prefer. Any combination of seasoning will work as long as you include some garlic and some type of onions. To sauté the veggies, first I washed the instant pot to remove the liquid smoke residue from the bottom, then I cooked the veggies using the sauté function on the Instant Pot.
When I make baigan choka on the stove top (click here for that recipe) I usually sauté the veggies on high heat in a lot of oil. These days I am trying to make healthier food choices, so I didn’t use as much oil when sautéing these veggies but they were still equally yummy.
Bringing the Instant Pot Baigan Choka dish together:
Once the veggies were cooked I added it to the shredded eggplant and mixed it together. The aroma was so satisfying and the flavor was spot on. So listen, this is not going to be better than flame roasted baigan choka, there is nothing quite like that. But it is a great alternative for us folks who don’t have a gas stove and can’t use an open flame to make baigan choka! So until it is warm enough for outdoor cooking, I will be enjoying my Instant Pot Baigan Choka and some gluten free roti.
My mom and everyone else in my household had their Baigan Choka with real deal paratha (oil) roti that my mom made. We also pair baigan choka with sada roti. Comfort food heaven. I featured my mom making roti on my instagram stories and saved it to my highlights so you can see the master at work! If you are on instagram, follow me so you can keep up with my daily shenanigans @metemgeeblog.
The Baigan Choka Recipe:
- 1 large eggplant (about 1lb in weight)
- ½ cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons of oil for sautéing (I used avocado oil)
- ½ purple onion
- 1 cup of plum tomatoes sliced in halves
- ½ cup of cilantro chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
- Salt to taste
- Add water and liquid smoke to the base of your instant pot.
- Cut 4 to 6 large deep slits into the eggplant
- Place eggplant on the trivet that comes with the instant pot, so that it is not sitting in the water and liquid smoke
- Close and seal instant pot, then cook eggplant on high pressure for 12 minutes
- Release the steam following the quick release instructions for the instant pot
- Carefully remove the eggplant from the instant pot using tongs, as eggplant will be really hot
- Then, peel the skin from the eggplant using a knife or fork
- Shred the eggplant with a fork and set aside
- Wash the pot of the instant pot to remove the residue from the liquid smoke, if your instant pot is still hot, you can also do this step on the stove top using a sauté pan or skillet
- Set instant pot to sauté then when hot add oil to the pot (be careful not to add oil if the instant pot has water after washing, wait for the water to evaporate, then add the oil, also feel free to dry the pot after washing)
- When the oil is hot, add the onions, tomatoes and garlic and sauté until the onions are cooked and the tomatoes are slightly mushy
- Add cilantro then sprinkle with cayenne pepper and salt
- Finally pour cooked veggies and oil over the shredded eggplant and mix together well
- Serve warm