Baigan Choka (Roasted Eggplant)

13.7.15 | Recipe by Renz

This tasty eggplant dish called baigan choka is a Trinidad and Tobago favorite. Baigan (eggplant) infused with garlic then roasted and mashed with additional spices. This robustly flavored dish can be an appetizer, entrée, or eaten as a snack.

Two bowls of baigan choka with naan bread on the side.

Trinidad and Tobago is a multicultural country where our food has been influenced by Africans, Indians, Chinese, and Syrians to name a few.

We have been able to thoroughly enjoy the food brought in and have adapted them perfectly to use what herbs and spices we have available, creating a fusion of dishes that are noteworthy.

This dish is another vegetarian option that I love.

This East Indian dish is full of flavor and you surely do not miss having meat on your plate. 

What is baigan choka?

Baigan is an eggplant, also called melongene or aubergine.

And choka, as I mentioned in my tomato choka post, is a Hindi word for a technique of infusing foods with hot seasoned oil.

So baigan choka is really just roasted eggplant with some spices.

Roasting the eggplant is another dish that shows the fusion of ethnicities that can be found in Trinidad and Tobago. As it is very popular amongst vegetarians and (non-vegetarians).

Roasting the eggplant really infuses the flavor. It is normally done on an open flame that gives you charred skin on the outside of the vegetable. You can also use an outdoor grill.

If you like me and don't have much of an "outside", this can easily be done in your oven as I did.

Having melongene like this is such a great option. I can easily just eat baigan and tomato choka all day.

Ingredients needed for this dish

This is a simple dish. You may see additional things added for more variety but in its simplest form, this recipe requires a few simple ingredients.

Ingredients used to make baigan choka.

  • Eggplants.
  • Hot pepper - this can be a scotch bonnet pepper or any other hot pepper you like to use.
  • Cloves of garlic - I like to slice them up to put them into the slits. Some people use it whole.
  • Coconut oil - or vegetable oil.
  • Salt.
  • Onion


Large bowl.
Baking sheet.
Foil paper.
Mortar and pestle (optional).

Selecting the best eggplants for roasting

Now, this dish depends heavily on having the best eggplant to roast. So we need to know how to choose some top ones.

  • Select ones where the skin is smooth (no bruises or tears in the skin) and the flesh is firm to the touch.
  • Press your finger into the skin gently and it should have a little give.
  • Look at the color. Is it bright? If yes, then that's the one.

How to make eggplant choka

The process is easy. Roasting the eggplant is probably the hardest part and you just have to make sure that you don't forget it in the oven and it burns to a crisp.

If you are using a coal pot or a gas stove, versus using an oven, the process is just about the same.

Eggplants being coated with coconut oil on foil sheets.

Prepping for the dish

Wash and dry off the eggplants. Then cut some slits in them and stuffed them with garlic slices or the whole garlic.

Take your coconut oil and coat the eggplant well with the oil. Make sure to get a good amount all over the skin.

Also, wash and clean the hot pepper at this time and prepare onions by cutting them into thin slices.

Getting everything roasted

Get your oven preheated.

On a lined baking sheet, place the eggplants and put them into the oven. Roast them for twenty-five to thirty minutes until the skin on the eggplants is wrinkled.

eggplants before they were roasted, and then what they look like when roasted.

I also add the hot pepper to the tray, roast that for about five minutes, and then remove it.

Remove the eggplants from, the oven, then cut them open, to see the insides that are now cooked and infused with the garlic. Make sure to remove any parts that might be hard.

Combining the choka

In a mortar (or using a large bowl if you don't have one), crush up the roasted hot pepper.

Combine the roasted eggplant, pepper, and raw onions. You can use a potato masher here too to continue to mash and combine all the ingredients together.

Combined baigan with peppers and coconut oil.

Season with salt to taste. I would start with a teaspoon of salt and adjust as needed. You can add some black pepper too for additional seasoning.

Heat the remaining oil, then add the remaining garlic to the oil and fry the garlic until brown. Once done, add the oil to the eggplant mixture. the oil over the melongene mixture.

What to eat it with?

This choka, like the tomato version, can be easily paired with sada roti for a great breakfast option.

If you have no roti, even some toasted bread makes a great pairing. I slice a baguette and toast it then add some choka.

Or some plain white rice.

Completed choka with a garnish of parsley.


Can this be made ahead?

Baigan choka can be made ahead and reheated later. You can reheat it in the microwave, or on the stove. If using the stove, add a little liquid to the pot and just let it simmer till warmed through.

Notes for making this dish

  • Use a paper-lined surface to roast the baigan. This will help prevent sticking.
  • If you want a spicy taste, I would suggest adding more pepper. You can also, for less spice but flavor, remove the seeds from the pepper.
  • Some people like to add roasted tomatoes to this dish. If you want to, you can roast tomato with the eggplants. Once completed, remove the tomato skins and add the flesh with the baigan.
  • I've added a little liquid smoke to this before to get some smokey flavor, but I can't say it was a hugely positive addition. You can try a little of it and see how you like it.

A dipping of bread with baigan choka on top.

And try some other Caribbean breakfast options: