Recipe video above. This curry is not for the faint hearted! Eggplant (Brinjal) stars in this strong flavoured curry, roasted rather than fried for a healthier yet equally delicious (high temp does the trick here), then simmered in an intensely spiced South Indian curry sauce so it sucks up the flavour and partially collapses to create a big pot of juicy (delicious) mush. Incidentally vegan (as much of South Indian food is). See recipe notes for subs for the harder to find spices. And when you've made this, use the same spices to make this Vegetable Samosa Pie!Spiciness: Pretty mild. Spiciness only comes from the chilli powder so if you're concerned, skip or reduce it!
Course: curries, Mains
Keyword: eggplant curry, eggplant recipe, indian curry, vegetarian curry
Servings: 4- 5 people
2tbspvegetable oil(or canola)
700g / 1.2 lbeggplant (aubergine), 2 medium (Note 1)
1/2tspeach salt and pepper
3tbspvegetable oil(or canola)
3/4tspblack mustard seeds(Note 2)
14curry leaves, fresh(Note 3)
1red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3tbsppassata or tomato pulp (or canned tomato)(Note 4)
1tbspgarlic, grated (4 cloves approx)
1tbspginger, grated (1.5cm piece approx)
3tbspcoconut milkor cream, full fat (Note 5)
1/2tspchilli powderor cayenne (NOT US Chilli Powder)
Preheat oven to 240°C / 450°F (220°C fan). Line tray with parchment/baking paper.
Cut eggplant into 2cm / 4/5" slices, then cut into 2cm / 4/5" batons.
Place in large bowl, toss with oil, salt and pepper.
Spread on tray, roast 20 minutes. Turn, roast for a further 10 minutes - edges should be caramelised, soft inside, but they're not shrivelled up and dismal. Use per recipe.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, let them sizzle for 15 seconds.
Add curry leaves, stir, leave to sizzle for 15 seconds - seeds might pop, Indian cooking is very dramatic!
Add onions, cook 5 minutes until golden brown.
Add tomato, cook for 1 minute, stirring.
Add garlic and ginger, cook 2 minutes.
Add Curry Spices and salt, and cook for another 3 minutes - it will be a thick paste and might stick to the bottom of the pot, don't let it burn (if it starts to, remove from stove and quickly add splash of water to loosen).
Stir in water, and then add the eggplant.
Gently stir, partially cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes. Stir carefully once or twice (so the eggplants don't break up completely), add more water if it dries out.
Stir in coconut milk, taste then add more salt if needed.
Your result should be a very thick, juicy, strongly flavoured curry with eggplant partially intact but half collapsed.
Serve with basmati rice and a dollop of yogurt and fresh coriander leaves, if you want.
1. Eggplant - smaller the better eg. 2 x 300g eggplants, they hold together better. Asian eggplants ok too.Alternative to roasting - pan fry in a little oil over medium high heat, rotating to brown all sides. Don't worry if it's a little raw inside once the outside is golden, it will finish cooking in the sauce.2. Black mustard seeds - key ingredient for authentic flavour. Look like poppyseeds, wasabi bite, Indian aroma! ~ $1.50 in small packs at Indian grocery stores (my local is Indian Emporium in Dee Why, Sydney). Also sold in the Indian food section at some Woolworths (Australia) $1.70, otherwise try online.Substitutes (starting with best):
Brown mustard seeds
Yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp mustard powder*
1/2 tsp Garam Masala* (different flavour, but is intended to make up for absence)
* Add with rest of spices3. Fresh curry leaves - another key ingredient for authentic flavour! Sub 10 dried curry leaves. Fairly accessible nowadays for Sydney-siders, sold at Harris Farms, most Coles and Woolworths. Substitute:
dried curry leaves (not quite the same, but it's the best sub);
1 tsp Garam Masala powder (add it with rest of spices).
4. Tomato - anything is fine here, pulp or passata (base recipe), or canned crushed tomato (crush it more by hand to make it more fine) or even a dollop of tomato paste.5. Coconut milk - no point using low fat because this is added to add a hint of richness. You can't taste coconut. Can sub a splash of cream.Leftover coconut milk: Freeze the rest in ice cube trays and use in recipes that call for a splash of coconut. Otherwise, do a recipe search for "coconut milk" and select "Using this ingredient" and it will bring up a list of recipes that have coconut milk in the ingredients. Most recipes won't suffer if you are short just 3 tbsp. Partial can uses: Gado Gado peanut sauce, scaled down batch of Thai Satay Peanut sauce (it makes a LOT!).6. Storage - leftovers keep for 5 days int he fridge. Should freeze fine (haven't tried), just stir carefully when reheating so eggplant doesn't turn into complete mush.7.Sources - As mentioned, a yearning to recreate New Shakthi Sri Lankan Restaurant's eggplant curry sparked the initial inspiration! We studied brinjal(a term for eggplant in India) recipes by South Indian and Sri Lankan food bloggers and YouTubers, including the totally awesome Village Food Factory Youtube channel to create our version.8. Nutrition per serving, curry only (no rice).