Comments: After your eggplant is cooked, this savory side dish accented with fresh ginger, garlic and spices is simple to make. It has long been one of the dishes I love most, and I enjoy discovering new versions. Rakhi Singh, a woman from Patna in northeast India whom I met recently while eggplant shopping, told me her variations on her region's beloved dish. Tiny green Thai bird chiles are her preference for lending heat to her bharta; when she can't get them, she opts for jalapenos or serranos. Unlike most cooks in India, she uses olive oil instead of vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter) for sauteing her onions. More surprising was her shortcut - she microwaves cubed eggplant instead of grilling it whole. You can serve it hot with rice or meat dishes, as they do in Indian restaurants. In our family, we also love it cold as an appetizer with crusty bread, pita or warm naan.