Aubergine curry: an easy recipe for a side dish

aubergine curry Pakistani style with chapatis

This aubergine curry is made with a pan-roasted eggplant that has a melt-in-the-mouth texture. Its creaminess mixes perfectly with the well-balanced spiced curry sauce. It tastes delightfully flavoursome.

Aubergine Curry

It is a side dish recipe that I created based on the Indian/ Pakistani style of cooking. Therefore, this curry does not use coconut milk like some recipes that you may come across. 

Because Pakistani cuisines do not use coconut milk in their curries. They use tomatoes and spices as their masala base.

Aubergine curry on a round dish.

For those who are familiar with Pakistani/ Indian foods, this aubergine curry is called baingan ki sabzi in Urdu. Which means aubergine (as) vegetable dish. 

But don’t get mixed up with Dahi baingan. Because the latter means aubergine in yoghurt. 

Because the curry that I’m sharing here is the one using the tomatoes as the base, the sauce has a hint of tanginess that pairs well with the spices. 

This makes the aubergine taste refreshingly light and delicious in curry.

Are aubergine and eggplant the same thing?

Yes, aubergine is the way British and French people call this dark-purple fruit, and eggplant is how the Americans and Australians call it. 

And if you talk to people from the Indian sub-continent such as Indians, Pakistanis, Bengalis, etc., you may hear they call this fruit Brinjal or Baingan

But all refer to the same fruit of plant species in the family of Solanaceae. 

Preparation is the key

When you cook with aubergine, you will want to put a little more effort in preparing the fruit before cooking. So the eggplant tastes nice, fresh and without bitterness.

The secrets are to choose the freshest possible aubergine and to sprinkle a bit of salt all over the eggplant after cutting it into pieces.  

Leave the fruit for about 10 minutes until you see some sweat all over its flesh. Then rinse it with water and squeeze carefully.

Then you roast the eggplant in a pan until it’s lightly charred and softened.

These little tricks will help you make aubergine taste nice in your curry. 

And you don’t need to peel the aubergine as the skin will turn soft when you roast the fruit. 

How long does aubergine curry take to cook?

One thing I love about this dish is how easy and quick it is to make.

If you do how I do by using two frying pans at the same time, it should take you approximately half an hour (sometimes less) to make the dish. 

So it’s an ideal choice for when you fancy comfort vegetarian food that can be ready in no time. 

This vegan dish somehow reminds me of Turkish Imam Bayildi that I featured in one of my Eid festive food ideas

The difference lies in the number of spices and cooking methods.

Simple Ingredients 

Tomatoes, aubergine, onion, and some spices to make aubergine curry

You don’t really need many ingredients for this delicious aubergine curry. And if you’ve been making curries, chances are you have most things ready in your kitchen cupboard/ pantry.

So, you will need aubergine/ eggplant, onion, ginger, garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric powder, chilli powder, ground black pepper, tomatoes, cooking oil and salt. 

When it comes to cooking oil, feel free to use any neutral oil that you personally prefer. I often use rapeseed oil, sunflower oil or light olive oil. 

As for tomatoes, I frequently use tinned tomatoes as well. Because they’re almost always readily available in my kitchen. So, if you want to do the same, 1 cup of canned tomatoes (which is approximately 200 gr/ 7.05 oz) is more than enough for this recipe.

And for onion, you can use either red onion or brown/ yellow onion. They’re both good. 

How To Make Aubergine Curry In Pakistani Style

The original recipe that I learned uses cooking the raw aubergine pieces in the spice masala. Masala is basically a curry sauce made with spices and tomatoes. 

I tweaked the recipe because I prefer to pan-roast the eggplant pieces first before cooking them in the masala. This way, the eggplant will have a better flavour and aroma. 

aubergine pieces sprinkled with salt
1. sprinkle some salt over aubergines.
aubergines soaked in water
2. rinsing and washing the aubergines
aubergines pieces ready to cook
3. rinsed and squeezed aubergines
pan roasted aubergines
4. pan-roasted aubergines

So, first, you prepare the aubergine by cutting them into 2-inch cubes and sprinkling some salt all over the pieces. Set aside. 

While you leave the aubergines to sweat, you get on with the masala.

frying onions on the pan
1. fry the onion
frying onions with spices for aubergine curry
2. add the spices
tomato in spice masala for aubergine curry
3. add the tomatoes
spice masala for aubergine curry
4. the spice masala is ready

Fry the onion until it looks dry and slightly golden in colour. Then you add in the ginger, garlic, and the rest of the spices. Fry further until all release aroma. 

Next, you put the chopped tomatoes in, give it a stir and let everything cook with the pan lid on until you get a juicy sauce. You may have to keep checking and mashing the tomatoes every now and again. It takes about 15 minutes to make the masala at medium-high heat.

In the meantime, get back to your aubergine. You will now see some moisture all over it. So you rinse it with fresh water and squeeze it as much as you can but take care not to break it.

Get a frying pan ready and scatter all the aubergine pieces on the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and pan-roast the fruit until all soften and look charred. Take care and toss them around every now and then.

Your masala sauce should be ready by the time your aubergines are fully roasted. So place the veg in the masala and give it a good stir. Put the lid back on and cook further for another 7-10 minutes at low heat. 

Top Tips To Make Utterly Delicious Eggplant Curry

A dish of eggplant curry in Pakistani way of cooking.
  • Choose the freshest eggplant possible. A few ways to choose the good one is by feeling the flesh firm when you hold it in your hand. Its skin should feel firm to its flesh without any softness to touch. And a good aubergine does not have seeds in its flesh when you cut it open. The flesh should be firm and smooth without any holes. If it has seeds, it means it’s overripe and won’t taste as good.
  • Prepare the aubergine by leaving it with a generous sprinkle of salt. This will help rid the bitterness of aubergine as you will see the fruit release sap after a while. It is this sap that can give a bitter taste. After 10 minutes or so, you will see the aubergine sweat its sap. Then you can rinse it with fresh water and squeeze the water out as carefully as possible so you won’t break the fruit. 
  • Technically, you can roast the aubergine in the oven. But I find it time and energy wasting. Instead, I pan roast it on a large frying pan. Scatter the pieces on the pan and cook at medium-high heat as I keep tossing the pieces until they soften and look slightly charred.
  • When you cook the spices, ensure they are well cooked until they release a delicious aroma before you add in the tomatoes. 
  • You may need to add a little water if the sauce gets dry quickly. 

Ways to enjoy aubergine dry curry

Unlike some curries, this aubergine curry is slightly dry. It doesn’t have much sauce or gravy. 

So the dish is lovely to enjoy with roti/ chapati, naan bread, pitta bread, or flatbread.

However, I personally love to eat it with plain rice. Maybe because in Indonesia we enjoy our aubergine curry – which is called Balado Terong – with rice. As you might know, rice is the main staple for Indonesians. So I’m used to having rice as well.

As a side dish, this eggplant curry is nice to pair with other similar dry curries such as Aloo Palak (potato and spinach curry), Chana aloo (chickpea and potato curry), or aloo matar (potato and green pea curry).

a dish of aubergine curry

Storing And Reheating Matter

As a standard rule, this curry keeps well in the fridge/ refrigerator for about 3 days. 

Although fresh curry tastes the best, you can keep and store your aubergine curry in the freezer for up to 2 months. When serving, just make sure you let it completely thaw before you reheat it. And a little warning, the frozen curry will affect the texture of the aubergine because it tends to become mushy when you reheat it. 

More vegan curry recipes

I hope you enjoy the post, and you’re now intrigued to try this easy recipe for aubergine curry. When you did, it would be awesome if you could share what you think about the recipe in the comments below. Or, perhaps you want to share things you did to improvise the recipe? I’m sure others will love to learn it too. 

Before you go, don’t forget to check my other recipes that you may like. 

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Thank you and all the best.

Yield: 4

Aubergine curry

aubergine curry cooked in Pakistani style

This aubergine curry is delicious to eat with roti/ chapati, naan bread, pitta bread, or flatbread.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 300 gr/ 10.58 oz = 1 large aubergine, cut in 1 inch chunks.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped.
  • 2 beef tomatoes, chopped.
  • ½ inch ginger, finely minced.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder.
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder.
  • ½ ground black pepper.
  • ¾ tsp salt, and a little bit more to wash aubergine.
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil.

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle some salt all over the aubergine. Set aside until the aubergine sweats, releasing its sap.
  2. When the aubergine releases its sap, rinse it with water and then carefully squeeze them as much as you can. Take care not to break the aubergine.
  3. Fry the aubergine pieces on a pan without oil. Keep stirring every now and again. Until all the aubergine is nicely browned.
  4. In the meantime, fry the onion until lightly golden and then add in the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, coriander, cumin, chilli, black pepper, and salt. Cook further until all the spices give aroma.
  5. Then add in the chopped tomatoes. Give it a stir and let it cook with the lid on. Keep checking. When all the tomatoes become soft, mash them with a wooden spoon until you have a nice smooth sauce. Let it simmer until the oil slightly separates from the spice masala.
  6. Finally, add in the pan-roasted aubergine chunks into the spice masala. Stir and cook it with the lid on for about 5-10 minutes until the aubergine is soft and tender with a nice thick curry sauce.

Notes

  • If you don’t have Kashmiri chilli powder, you can substitute it with a mix of paprika powder and chilli powder. Or just use chilli powder. The difference is that Kashmiri chilli and paprika powder have an intense red colour that gives the dish a more vibrant colour. 
  • You can use any cooking oil that you like. I use either rapeseed oil or sunflower oil. 

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 354Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 37mgSodium 479mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 9gSugar 12gProtein 15g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

Did you try the recipe?

Share how you like the recipe in the comments below and show a picture of your creation

13 Comments

  1. Love the inspiration for this recipe and the aubergine soaked in salt at the beginning some really useful tips that I would’ve never have thought of! I’m looking forward to making this recipe.

    1. Thank you. Hope it goes well with trying the recipe.

  2. I am always looking for new ways to use aubergine, so this curry looks delicious to me!

  3. Definitely making this again — SO flavorful!

  4. Andrea Metlika says:

    OH my, this sounds amazing! We are fans of curry and eggplant so my family is going to love this!

  5. This looks so delicious and yummy! I can’t wait to make this! My husband is going to love this!

  6. This Aubergine curry side was awesome! I literally enjoyed every bite! The family was thrilled to have something new to try out. I will be making this again soon.

    Happy New Year!

  7. My daughter recommended this dish, I used half a can of tomatoes and added the juice from the can, instead of chilli, I substituted half a teaspoon of smoked paprika, finishing with a scatter of chopped chives, mint and fresh coriander. The results were amazing, will certainly making this again, so simple and flavourful.

    1. I’m so glad that you like this aubergine curry. Thank you for sharing your tip too. I agree that chives go well with coriander.

  8. OMG this was so awesome. The spice blend was spot on. we did add some mushrooms and courgettes and we only had normal chili powder and it was super hot but absolutely delicious.Thank you Devi

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it. As for the chilli powder, be aware that there are actually heat levels for chilli powders. I suspect yours is at a higher grade of the heat. Well, now you know, next time you can always put less ;-).

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