In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

You may call it baba ganush, to me it’s baigan choka.

baigan choka recipeA few years ago Caron’s aunt and grandmother had stopped by for a visit as I was getting ready to put an eggplant on the BBQ to get it roasted for one of my favourite childhood dishes, baigan choka. When I explained what I was about to do, they mentioned that they had something similar before called baba ganush. Baba what? After looking up the recipe on the internet I could see why they had said that it was similar.

Couple pointers before we get to the recipe.


Buying  the baigan (eggplant). When at market or grocery try to get an eggplant that’s fresh looking. Look at the stem for a nice green colour and the eggplant itself should be firm to the touch, no markings or blemishes and shiny. Place the eggplant in your hand and feel the weight of it. You DON’T want something that’s “heavy” and too solid.  Those will be packed with seeds and not as fleshy as you’d like it to be. When you lift it, it should feel light for it’s size and almost feel hollow.

The pepper. Try to get a “young” green habanero pepper. A young pepper is one that’s not fully mature and you can tell this by it’s lack of luster and pale green colour. This will allow you to have the flavour of the pepper without much heat. The one in the pic is young, though it does not have the pale green colour I mentioned. From years of experience I can tell if the pepper is not mature yet just by looking at it. When you slice it open you should also see seeds that are white in colour and not mature… as if they’re just developing.

* Personally the pepper is one of the most integral parts of this recipe, so you’ll see that I use much more than most people. But the pepper can be optional since the garlic and onions does give the dish a good punch all on it’s own.

You’ll need…

1 large eggplant (baigan) (1-2 lbs)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 table spoon olive oil (extra virgin is best)
1/4 medium onion sliced
1 clove garlic (add more if yo wish)
1 young green habanero pepper (or any hot pepper – optional)

NOTE: I like roasting the eggplant on my BBQ or any open flame. The smoky taste is what I grew up on and will not change things. You may also stick in it your oven for about 30 minutes at 375-400, in your microwave on high (can’t say how long, since I’ve never done this) and back in the day my mom used to wrap it in tin-foil and place it on the open flame on the stove. The stove method is probably best of the 3 other methods I mentioned, but it can be very messy and your entire home will have that smoky / roasted smell.

Start by preheating your grill to about 400 degrees. Then trim the stem of the eggplant and using a pairing knife, stab some slits into it. Especially where it’s really thick and near the stem area as this will allow it to cook faster and evenly. I usually do about 5 slits, but this all depends on how large an eggplant you get.

eggplant choka baigan

choka recipe

When the grill gets to temp, place the eggplant over the direct flame. Allow this to cook for about 25 minutes in total, but  turn/flip every 10 minutes or so to allow for even cooking. I usually place my pepper over the flame briefly as well, so it gets a bit charred.

roasting eggplant for choka

roast eggplant recipe

While this cooks… in a bowl add the salt, garlic (slice to make it easier to crush) and the pepper. Then crush to a fine paste. You can use a mortar and pestle.

trini baigan choka

roasted eggplant choka

After the eggplant is done cooking, it’s time to take the cooked fleshy insides out for the dish. Do so by cutting across the top (just below the stem, then cut in the middle (top to bottom). Peel back to open and start scraping the cooked inside with a spoon. Place this into the bowl with the other crushed ingredients. Discard the empty shell like skin that’s left back.

eggplant choka recipe

preparing eggplant choka

vegeterian recipe

Using a pestle or potato masher (I have my trusty wooden pounder) mash the lot of cooked eggplant so there’s no clumps or stringy parts. Then slice the onions directly onto the mixture. Heat the oil over high heat and when it at the point where you can see smoke starting to escape from the frying pan, pour the oil directly onto the onions and eggplant. This will help cook the onion and add some flavour to the dish. My uncle says that he usually cooks the sliced onions in the oil before pouring it into the bowl. But I love the bit of texture and punch the raw onions adds. After pouring the oil, stir thoroughly and serve.

trini eggplant recipe

trinidad baigan choka

preparing baigan choka

eggplant choka

how to make baigan choka

Used as a side for hot roti or fry bake, this can also be used for a dip with crackers, toasted flat bread wedges, pita and in wraps. I’m sure it will also go well with East Indian type flat breads such as Chapati,Naan and Luchi.

Do you have a different recipe for baigan choka? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

* Due to the roasting of the eggplant, the onions and the garlic… don;t eat this and be all up in your significant other face. You can floss, brush, listerine and use gum.. there will still be a hint of garlic left back.

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35 Comments

  1. February 17, 2019 / 3:44 pm

    I love your site and your recipes. I look forward to them as often as they come, thank you for exposing everyone to our cuisine.
    When I am roasting my melongene, I place peeled garlic in the slits.

  2. Audrienne Jordan
    November 27, 2018 / 10:38 pm

    I love your site and recipes. Do you have any instant pot recipes? I’m starting to learn the Instant pot and would be thriled to see more carribbean recipes using it.

  3. March 12, 2018 / 6:34 pm

    I’m going to be real honest. This will be my first time trying eggplant. lol!! Heard the taste was bitter, soggy, etc. So I decided not to judge the book by it’s cover. Will try it this coming weekend.

  4. dianne
    April 30, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    You do it the way my mom did, the only difference is that she finely chopped the onions. Great dish.

  5. Ian Ramroop
    April 14, 2016 / 7:41 am

    Love the recipe Chris. I am trying this one on the weekend.

  6. Maria
    September 20, 2015 / 6:06 pm

    I usually buy more than usual when the price is right and either roast in the oven, or if we are doing bbq make use of the grill. I would normally wash dry it then rub some oil,them make slits and put in garlic in slits. Once done and cooled, slit down the length scrape out and portion out in seal bags and freeze. When ready to make fry bake or sada roti, will defrost in microwave, cut up some onion, garlic, pepper and a piece of roast salt fish,
    saute then add the baigan, some roasted tomatoes can be added.
    I had this and fry bake for breakfast today.

  7. William
    September 19, 2014 / 12:49 pm

    This is one food I like with Hot roti with butter and bird pepper. How do you choose the right baigan/eggplant for roasting?(For less seeds, more flesh) Weight & size?

  8. August 25, 2014 / 2:06 pm

    I learnt this from my mom, she inserts the garlic in slits made in the Bigan so it is nice and soft when it is finished roasting. also she has a way of peeling the roasted skin off the bigan not cutting an scooping out the insides with a spoon. looks good tough. Nice work, keep your recipes coming.

  9. Jenny Ming
    August 22, 2014 / 1:17 pm

    I would usually put the garlic in to the slits. Also, I roast tomatoes, peel the outer off and include in the mixture along with chives.

  10. Ann Marie
    April 26, 2014 / 3:55 pm

    Hi this is just another tip for you to share sometimes u don’t have the time to keep roasting so what u do is you roast as many as u wish after scooping it out don’t add anything just portion it in sandwich bags and freeze when u need to use it then Thaw it and then microwave a bit add the ingredients and salt it’s as if it was just roasted try it you’ll see. Ann

  11. Kerima
    April 8, 2014 / 10:33 am

    My sons love this with sada roti and heavy on the pepper. I usually insert the garlic clove(s) into a couple of the slit made in the eggplant, this allows for the garlic to roast and become soft and easier to mash.

  12. Rochelle W
    April 3, 2014 / 7:11 am

    Ooh, I remember that. In Guyana, we call it balanjay choka.

  13. Diva Jaan
    November 1, 2013 / 12:21 pm

    Hello,
    To smoke the baighan u can also use tin foil in shape of a cup place it in the middle of the paste add a bit of oil in the tin foil and then place hot coal in it and cover immediately. This also gives the baighan a smoky taste.

    You can also add half and half milk as in cream when you frying it up. Then eat with Naan or paratha this is too heavy to be used as a dip

    You can also add Tahini to make a dip

  14. Hylton Fernandes
    October 30, 2013 / 11:29 pm

    I definitely have to try this one, thanks bud!

  15. Arvind
    June 9, 2013 / 2:46 am

    Yum – well done, mate. Reminds me of my childhood days back in Fiji, and mum's heavenly cooking.

  16. Arvind
    June 9, 2013 / 2:45 am

    Yum – well done, mate. Reminds me of my childhood days back in Fiji, and mum's heavenly cooking.
    I just have to try this out and do it myself – today!

  17. PatG
    March 28, 2013 / 12:44 am

    Love me love my garlic, my smoke and my pepper.!

  18. Alicia M
    August 23, 2012 / 9:29 pm

    Keep up the good work .. Ur great

  19. latosha ettienn
    August 3, 2012 / 8:23 am

    OMG, ive been on an eggplany kick lately. I just really discovered it from my aunts garden. I wasnt sure how to cook it since ive never really had it and my mom said she hasnt had it since she was little in Tobago. Thanks for the recipe. I made my first round like chicken parmasean-salted, floured, egged, bread crumbed, fried then baked with marinara, mozzerella, mushrooms and parmasean. The second round I stewed with onions, garlic, tomatos, olive oil scallions..reminds me of making corned beef, and it was great!! Now I must try this. I never knew I would be an eggplant lover. 🙂

  20. grace
    May 15, 2012 / 7:52 pm

    thanks for all the recipes. my friend is Guyanese and introduced me to all this dishes and I am hooked. Need to learn to make pumpkin curry,

  21. leonile
    April 30, 2012 / 10:36 pm

    congratulations on yoursite cooking am enjoying learning and seeing exactly what to do. am so excited. I understand now how to cook my curry stew. Thanks so much I also passed it on to my friends and relatives.

  22. Ann
    February 12, 2012 / 2:59 pm

    hi Chris
    Great recipe and taste really good and even better if you add some chacon beni.
    Would like to mention that oilive oil cannot take high heat as it turns into saturated fat so even though oilive oil is much healtheier, if you have to heat oil to pour onto the baobab, it is better to substitute with vegetable oil. Olive oil is told pressed and should be use on low heat. It goes well as is on salads.
    Happy cooking and keep those recipes coming. Hope I am lucky one day to win one of your delicious recipe books.
    Ann

  23. Gary
    January 16, 2012 / 10:14 pm

    Oh Chris–this is my favorite dish of all time. We added roasted tomatoes as well but with or without tomatoes, it is fabulous. When I first enjoyed it in Guyana over forty years ago or today, there is nothing better than baigan (or boulanger) choka with paratha roti. For last meal, I want baigan choka and roti.

  24. Michelle
    January 9, 2012 / 5:23 pm

    I love it as well when you add roasted tomatoes to it. Yum yum!!!

  25. October 19, 2011 / 12:06 pm

    There is nothing like hot baigan choka with bake. I also like it with roasted tomatoes. You must try this one.

  26. kavi
    October 17, 2011 / 2:52 pm

    try adding a few leaves of shadow beni it is to die for

  27. Alicia
    June 9, 2011 / 10:00 pm

    Omg I have not eaten this a in donkey year. I must make this for my parents they will love it and they will start remembering old times in Trinidad. Thanks for post this recipe!!!

  28. Doonwati
    February 15, 2011 / 12:12 am

    Hi Chris,
    Keep up the good work my friend. This Choka is really delicious, my mother taught me to make it this way as you do and I used to until a few years ago. I saw a friend of mine made it not only with Roasted Peppers but also with Roasted Garlic and I'll tell you it's the best I've ever eaten. From the day I saw her made it with the Roasted Garlic and ate it I always do the same. I don't hot the oil either all I do when the Choka is done I pour a little Olive Oil on top and just mix it in. You must give it a try sometime.

  29. Jizell
    May 6, 2010 / 5:15 pm

    i always love making especially with roast bake, but i usually put tomatoes with it.

  30. lal
    April 22, 2010 / 10:52 am

    hey chris ,good going man.in ny i put the baigan in my microwave,set it on cook and prepare it as usual.tastes great,too.

  31. March 25, 2010 / 8:47 am

    My grandma added a roasted tomato or two to this recipe. This raised the taste.

    • admin
      March 26, 2010 / 10:18 am

      Philis, I’ve seen my mom do this as well, especially with the baigan was not enough for everyone. Her way of stretching the dish.

      happy cooking

      chris

  32. Vanessa
    September 8, 2009 / 9:02 am

    When you make slits in the eggplant stuff with garlic before roasting.

    • Cheri
      February 3, 2011 / 3:27 pm

      Don't forget to take the skin of the garlic first, it is best to make a small x with the knife then squeeze the garlic in. The garlic gets nice and soft and mashes to a paste with the baigan which enriches the flavor.

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