Amazing Aubergine Curry For A Zinger Of A Curry Night!
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We are partial to a curry (just a smidge), around these parts and if you are of the same mind, boy do I have an amazing and delicious aubergine curry for you, or what?!
But first, riddle me this: what is the aubergine? Is it a vegetable? Is it a fruit? A berry???? And why does it have so many different names? Aubergine hither, eggplant thither – like, make your mind up, right?!
What a load of palaver over one weird-looking veg, eh?
Like ‘em or loathe ‘em, aubergines are actually quite nutritious.
They’re full of fiber, B1 and B6 vitamins, antioxidants, and various minerals including copper, manganese, and potassium.
But first things first, can you put aubergine/eggplant in a curry?
Yes, you can – and we aren’t saying so just cos we LOVE our curries!
In Thai, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisines, for example, eggplants are quite common – sumptuous curries are made using the baby eggplant variety.
Aubergines go incredibly well with the usual curry components. Coconut milk, for example, pairs so well to make a creamy aubergine curry; protein-packed lentils or chickpeas and curry powder make a delicious aubergine and chickpea (or lentil) curry.
If you have never cooked with aubergines before, get your frying pan out and try out our vegan aubergine curry recipe for dinner tonight (it’s one of our favorite one pot vegetarian meals).
It is one of our most popular curries, and pairs wonderfully with brown rice and/or naan, and some cooling raita.
Once you have opened that door, take a peek at our 40 delightful vegetarian eggplant recipes collection. We have a collection featuring mouthwatering vegan aubergine curries too!
Welcome to Team Aubergine!
Aubergines / eggplants
For an unctuous curry, tender aubergine is a must. If the veg is too mature, or too seedy, then the flesh would be too tough and unpleasant to eat.
Tender aubergines are like little sponges, soaking up all the yumminess from the gravy and the spices, making them perfect vehicles for flavor.
Texture-wise too, they are chewy and almost ‘meaty’ – which is why they are ideal for those new to the vegetarian/vegan way of eating.
Further down in this article, we talk about how to select the best veg, so use that as a guide in your future veggie selection.
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Curries need a carby vehicle to help carry them – rice or rotis. And basmati rice is the Ferrari of the carby vehicles, with its unique scent, nutty taste, and delicate texture.
When the steam gently rises off freshly cooked basmati, you are transported to a higher plane of existence. Spoon the curry gently over your rice and get the party started in your mouth.
When it comes to a good curry, the triumvirate of tomatoes, onions, and garlic is super important. Red onion, more than white onion, with its full-bodied flavor, is a must-have for any good curry, and our aubergine curry is no different.
Diced onions, chopped tomatoes, and minced garlic in a little oil meld beautifully to provide any curry with a beautiful gravy base.
Coconut milk is a top-level ingredient that elevates any dish from a regular one to “OMG what is this ambrosia I am having?!” But it is best to go with low-fat coconut milk as the full-fat version can sometimes overpower a dish and dull the taste of the vegetables and the spices.
One note of caution: coconut milk can split very easily, so once added cook the curry on low heat or a gentle simmer.
The spices you add to a curry are total game-changers. The curry powder / garam masala spice blend adds a punch to the curry and some heat, adding a layer of flavor.
Another flavor duo is ground cumin and coriander powders. These join hands with the regular garam masala and add some oomph to it.
All these spices/masalas you add to a curry, the aubergines would just slurp them right in, infusing them with gorgeous flavor and their own brand of umami-ness.
Olive oil pairs really well with aubergines, though curries, in general, are made with vegetable oil, sunflower oil, or coconut oil.
Whichever oil you go with, make sure it is a neutral oil and cook on low to medium heat. That’s the way for maximum flavors.
If you are making an Indian eggplant curry, then fresh curry leaves are a must. Tossing in a handful in hot oil along with mustard seeds and cumin seeds, and garnishing the curry with that is the best way to finish it off. Freshly chopped coriander over a curry adds a beautiful touch too.
For Thai curries, fresh torn Thai basil leaves add a nice punch of flavor to the curry.
How to make the best aubergine curry?
Time needed: 35 minutes
First, the prep – dice the onions, deseed and chop the tomatoes, mince the garlic, and cut the aubergine into small cubes, evenly sized.
Fry the aubergine in olive oil on high heat, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn.
Next, wash and soak the basmati rice. Then cook it as per the instructions on the packet.
Now, the fun bit – making the curry. Start adding the aromats to the aubergine – add the diced onion and saute. Cook over slow, medium heat. Next, drop in the minced garlic. Stir frequently.
Add the garam masala, turmeric, ground cumin, and coriander, and fry till the aroma develops. Add the chopped tomatoes. Simmer. Add the coconut milk.
Salt the curry to taste, cover and simmer till you are happy with the consistency of the curry. Remember it will thicken as it cools, so stop ahead. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander if you have any.
Roasting aubergines directly over a fire, in my opinion, is the most perfect way to eat one. The smoke gets right into the veg and adds an amazing depth of flavor.
The roasted veg (it would be incredibly silly to term it the ‘roasted berry’!) can then be mashed and made into a dip (baba ghanoush) or made into a curry (baingan bharta, the Indian brinjal curry).
If you don’t have much time to faff in the kitchen, here’s a quick recipe for you: simply cut the veg into chunks and stir fry (talking of stir fry, check these out!) the aubergine pieces in a tbsp of oil.
Salt, dried red chilies, your favorite spice blend/ garam masala mix, some fresh coriander on top, bingo bango, job done!
One, aubergines can be a bit bitter, and soaking them in water for a bit with some salt helps leach the bitter taste from the flesh of the vegetable.
Two, once cut and exposed to the air, the flesh turns dark very quickly. Soaking prevents this from happening, keeping the veg looking nice and fresh!
Aubergines can go off pretty quickly and they’re also quite sensitive to bruising and improper storage. It’s best to keep them somewhere dark and cool (like the fridge or chilled storage room) and away from the damp. Try not to nick or cut them.
When buying, find one that is deep in color and feels ‘heavy’ for its size. When the skin is pressed it should spring right back. If it stays indented, looks blemished or wrinkled then its best days are probably behind. Pick another!
The tender ones generally do not have many seeds in them. But even if they do, they tend to be small and are totally edible, not to worry. Just give it a quick wash, slice the stem off, and a little from the bottom and you’re good to go. No peeling or de-seeding is necessary.
Now that you have been inducted into our Aubergine Fanclub, let’s check out our delicious curry recipe in full, shall we?
We guarantee it is a keeper, one for the whole family to enjoy!
- 1 tsp sugar (or 1-2 tbsp mango chutney)
- Cook rice according to packet instructions.⅓ cup basmati rice
- Dice the tofu into small pieces. Heat up 1 tsp olive oil to medium heat in a large frying pan and add the tofu. Add some salt and let it fry for 15 min or until it’s crunchy. Make sure to stir occasionally, have patience and taste test!8 oz tofu, 2 tsp olive oil
- Cut the aubergine into small cubes. Fry in a large pan with 1 tsp of olive oil on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir well so it doesn’t burn.21 oz aubergine
- In the meantime dice the onion and throw it in too. Put it back to a medium heat and cook for 5-6 minutes.1 red onion
- Crush or dice the garlic.2 clove garlic
- Stir in the garlic, garam masala, turmeric and ground coriander. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring well.1 tsp garam masala powder or curry powder, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground coriander
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk. Add salt. Simmer for about 15 minutes. The coconut milk thickens so stop cooking when it is at the right consistency for you. Stir in the sugar or mango chutney if you like it a little sweeter.1 can tomatoes, 1.5 cups low fat coconut milk, Salt and pepper to taste, 1 tsp sugar
- Serve with salt and pepper to taste.
So, tell us. Did you give our aubergine curry recipe a go? How did it turn out? What suggestions do you have for us? Talk to us 🙂