Aubergine Sizzle

How To Make Musky Aubergine Curry

Serves 4 as a side


  • 1 large aubergine, cubed, salted for 15 minutes and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 1tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 3tbs vegetable oil
  • Salt


In a large deep lidded frying pan, heat the oil over a medium temperature and tip in the mustard seeds, allow them to kick and fizz and then add the onion, coriander seeds, garlic, ginger and chilli. Mix everything thoroughly and cook for 6-8 minutes until the onion has softened and turned blonde. Now it’s time for the rinsed aubergine chunks, fry for about 4 minutes. Slosh in the tomatoes, spoon in the paprika, cumin powder and sugar and turn up the heat until the pan is bubbling. Turn the heat down, season with a dash of salt, pour in the water, cover and cook for around 25 minutes. The key here is to cook the aubergine long enough for the skin to soften and the flesh to yield but not become mushy.

Its musky disposition is a showstopper and might just eclipse a main course, but don’t take my word for it, get in the kitchen and get cooking.

Aubergine curry

Chunky Baingan ki Bharta

The low Autumnal sun slid through the trees casting sculptural shadows across the lawn, branches held fickle leaves not sure whether to hold on to their native green or to switch their wardrobe to a warmer colour. Remnants of the jungle which was beginning to look like a garden, sizzled, crackled and smouldered in a heap, flames licked woody limbs filling the air with the unmistakable cologne of Autumn, comforting, welcome, delicious and good. The first bonfire of the year, complete with a panicky neighbour rushing over to make sure the house hadn’t been razed to the ground.

I’m not sure whether it’s a primal reaction to smoke and fire that invokes hunger and the urge to cook but the groaning from our bellies displaced our attention from the smoky heap and into the kitchen. Hunting for Autumnal flavours and the need to satiate a ranging appetite, we settled on a chunky speedy spiced aubergine sizzling curry, a side dish to our previously cooked lamb dumpling kebabs. The aubergine or rough baingan ki bharta as my mother would refer to it, takes on a deep smoky resonance, rich flavours and colours from indigo aubergines slapped against the crimson paprika tomatoes warmed by mustard seeds and ground cumin. This aubergine curry is India’s answer to Autumn (but great at any time of the year)...after all who needs an Indian Summer.

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I made this along with the mixed dal for dinner and it was a big hit. I don’t normally like vegetarian curries but this really packed a punch. I felt very healthy after all the Christmas excess, especially as I served it with brown basmati!

By Kate on January 06, 2013

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Hi Kate, glad this went down well with the recipe…great idea. Now you’ve ventured beyond a carnivore’s curry you might want to try this Okra recipe…super quick

By Urban Rajah on January 06, 2013

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