Baingan bartha (bharta?) is a dish I first had from Inder’s Kitchen. At least, I think it’s called baingan bartha, and Google vaguely corroborates that. Anyway, Inder’s is probably the best Indian food in Cambridge – their menu riffs on home cooking and regional authenticity. It’s not the parade of stumbling-out-of-the-pub curry house generics it’s so easy to associate with Indian food, and when they do put on a cliché/classic it tends to reflect a real respect for quality ingredients.
They’re also lovely people. And they’re lovely people who make a mean smoked aubergine mash.
I’ve been trying to replicate it for some time, with a variety of techniques, and just not nailed it. The simple explanation is that you really need a tandoor. I don’t have one, but I have managed to come up with a passable impersonation of Baingan bartha.