Our inspiration for this creation was baingan bharta. The bharta serves as the base, and we build on it with Middle Eastern flavours: the marinade includes cumin, rosemary and sherry vinegar, among other spices, while the lemon ricotta echoes tzatziki. Finally, the goji berry infuses the sweet-sour flavour profile that I absolutely love.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time


    Plus 4 hours for marinating eggplant


For Smoked Eggplant

  • 4 Roma or bharta eggplant, 200 gm each
  • 20 gm pine nuts, for garnish
  • 20 gm garlic, finely chopped
  • 15 gm parsley, chopped
  • 10 gm cumin, roasted and crushed
  • 5 gm rosemary, chopped
  • 5 gm thyme, chopped
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

For Lemon Ricotta

  • 150 gm ricotta
  • 50 gm mascarpone
  • 20 gm roasted garlic paste
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Salt and pepper

For Coriander Scallion Salsa

  • 25 gm coriander, chopped
  • 25 gm parsley, chopped
  • 25 gm green scallion, chopped
  • 5 gm green chilli, chopped
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 10 ml honey
  • Salt and pepper

For Pickled Goji Berry

  • 50 gm goji berry
  • 25 gm sugar
  • 5 gm coriander seeds
  • 5 gm salt
  • 150 ml water
  • 50 ml white wine vinegar
  • 6-8 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 small cinnamon stick


For Marinated Eggplant

  1. Roast the eggplants over open flame, turning them repeatedly, till they are soft, charred and blistered. Peel off the charred skin, but keep the stalk attached. 
  2. Place the eggplants in a flat tray, making sure to keep them whole and their stalks intact.
  3. In a stainless steel bowl, mix together all the marinade ingredients to form a dressing. 
  4. Spread the dressing over the eggplants while they are still warm.
  5. The eggplants should marinate for about four hours. Before serving, reheat them in an oven.

For Lemon Ricotta

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a blender till they form a smooth purée. 
  2. With a rubber spatula or the back of a wooden spoon, rub and force the purée through a sieve to remove any solids. A smooth ricotta sauce will collect below.

For Coriander Scallion Salsa

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a stainless steel bowl and mix well.

For Pickled Goji Berry

  1. Put the goji berries in a sterilised glass jar. 
  2. Toss the remaining ingredients into a saucepan and bring them to boil. Pour the hot pickling liquid over the goji berries and seal the jar.

To Serve

  1. Divide the lemon ricotta equally among four plates and spread lightly in the centre with a spoon. 
  2. Place the hot eggplant on it and garnish with a dollop of coriander scallion salsa, roasted pine nuts and pickled goji berries.
Rahul Akerkar

Rahul Akerkar

Rahul Akerkar, the chef-founder of Qualia in Mumbai, was Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for June. He started his culinary journey 35 years ago in the US, returning to India in 1989. Since then, he has been busy changing the way we eat. Known for setting industry trends with his creative, ingredient-driven cuisine, and warm attentive hospitality, Rahul’s award-winning restaurants secured his position as one of India’s first successful, chef-restaurateurs. In his career, he has won many accolades – he was featured in Asiaweek’s Survey of “Kitchen Gods” in 2001 and was 28 on San Pellegrino’s List of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013. More recently, he won Chef of The Year at the Times Food Awards 2016, Mumbai. He has been guest chef in several kitchens around the world, authored numerous articles, and frequently consults to the food and hospitality industry.

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