This vegetarian eggplant curry recipe is based on the Pakistani style of cooking that I learned from my sister-in-law. Therefore, it is different from some Indian-curry recipes that you might have come across. This curry does not have coconut milk-based sauce.
For those who are familiar with Pakistani/ Indian dishes, this vegan eggplant dish is called baingan ki sabzi or brinjal ki sabzi in Urdu, which means eggplant as a vegetable curry.
This easy recipe will help you make curry with tender eggplant pieces and refreshing tomato-based sauce. If you like eggplant – which I’m sure you do – I think you will find this a great recipe.
When it comes to spices, this recipe is different from many recipes for Indian-inspired curries. It does not use garam masala powder or curry powder. Instead, it uses the usual simple spice blend to make curry in Pakistani style.
Because it is easy and quick to make and it has one of the best curries taste you will have.
I may sound biased, but I find my homemade aubergine curry is much better than the Indian brinjal curry from the local Indian restaurant. Because the spices are not overpowering and it does not use a lot of oil like the ones you find in restaurants.
Pakistani Curry vs. South Indian Curry
Although technically all Pakistani food is similar, if not the same as Indian food, you will find differences in some dishes. Whether in the spices or in the method they use.
However, even in Indian cooking, you see distinguished differences between the food from the north and the south areas.
The Indians from the southern part use coconut milk a lot in their cooking. While the people from the northern part, use yogurt and milk in their cooking.
Therefore, the South Indian eggplant curry adds coconut milk to it. Some even put coconut cream, and it is served with rice.
Since Pakistanis are more like the northern Indians (due to their geography), they do not add coconut milk to their cooking. They usually put tomatoes, yogurt, or milk on their masala base. An example of a yogurt-based sauce is Dahi Baingan, which means eggplant in yogurt curry.
This eggplant recipe is no exception. It uses tomatoes as the base. So the sauce has a hint of tang that mixes with the spices well in this curry. This makes the dish taste refreshingly light and delicious.
Are Aubergine and Eggplant the Same Thing?
Yes, aubergine is what British and French people call this dark-purple fruit, and eggplant is what 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.
How Long Does It Take to Cook Aubergine Curry?
If you do how I do, by using two frying pans at the same time, this curry dish can be made in half an hour.
So it’s an ideal choice for an easy dinner on your busy day. And for when you fancy a delicious comfort vegetarian food that can be ready in no time.
Ingredients to Make Eggplant Curry
So, the ingredients you need are eggplant, brown onion, ginger, garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin seeds, turmeric powder, chili 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. Because they’re almost always readily available in my kitchen, if you want to do the same, 1 cup of canned tomatoes (which is approximately 7.05 oz/ 200 gr) is more than enough for this recipe. But of course, you can always use fresh diced tomatoes, too.
How To Make Brinjal Curry In Pakistani Style
First, cut the eggplant into 2-inch cubes and sprinkle some salt all over the aubergine pieces. Let it sit on the counter while you make the masala.
Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat, fry the chopped onion, and cook for 5 minutes until it looks light golden in color.
Add the garlic and ginger, then the rest of the spices and salt. Fry further for another minute or two until all release the aroma.
Next, add the chopped tomatoes, give it a stir, and let everything cook with the pan lid on until you get a juicy sauce. Keep checking and mashing the tomatoes every now and again. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
In the meantime, get back to your eggplant. You will now see some moisture all over it. Rinse it with fresh water and squeeze it as much as you can, but take care not to break it.
Get another pan ready and roast the eggplant pieces in the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook until it softens and looks charred. Take care and toss them around every now and again.
Your masala sauce should be ready by the time your eggplant is roasting fully. So add the eggplant to the masala and give it a good stir. Put the lid back on, reduce the heat, and cook for another 7-10 minutes at low heat.
At serving, you can sprinkle some chopped fresh coriander, a few fresh curry leaves, sliced fresh green chili, and a squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice. Promise, your curry will taste even way better.
Top Tips To Make Utterly Delicious Curry
- Choose the freshest eggplant possible. Its skin should feel firm to its flesh without any softness to touch. When you cut it open, a good eggplant does not have seeds in its flesh. The flesh should be firm and smooth without any holes. If it has seeds, it’s overripe and won’t taste as good.
- Prepare the eggplant by leaving it with a generous sprinkle of salt. After 10 minutes or so, you will see the eggplant 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. This will help rid the bitterness of the eggplant.
- Technically, you can roast in the oven, but I find it time and energy-wasting. Instead, I roast it on a large frying pan at medium-high heat until it softens and looks slightly charred. You can use a griddle pan as well. I think this simple method adds flavor to the dish.
- When you cook the spices, ensure they are well cooked until they release a delicious aroma before you add in the tomatoes to make the sauce.
- You may need to add a little water if the sauce dries quickly.
Variation of Roasted Eggplant Curry Recipe
If you like, you can turn this curry into eggplant and chickpea curry. Just make sure you double the recipe of the sauce if you want to add a tin of chickpeas. And cook the chickpeas in the spiced curry sauce while you cook the eggplant.
Another variation is to put red lentils in the curry sauce. You can boil the lentils in a separate pan until they are fully cooked before you add them to the curry.
Ways to Enjoy the Brinjal Curry
This roasted eggplant curry doesn’t have much sauce or gravy. So you can serve it with homemade Indian flatbreads such as roti/ chapati, naan bread, or pitta bread as a vegetarian main dish.
Though I personally love to eat it with plain basmati rice or with brown rice. It is absolutely delicious. So you choose what you like.
As a side dish, this aubergine curry is nice to pair with other similar dry curries such as Aloo Palak (potato and spinach curry), Aloo keema (minced meat and potato curry), lamb keema matar (lamb minced-meat curry with green peas), or chicken and peppers curry.
Storing and Reheating Matter
As a standard rule, if you store in an airtight container, this vegan eggplant curry keeps well in the fridge/ refrigerator for about 3 days.
Although fresh curry tastes the best, you can keep and store your eggplant curry in the freezer for up to 2 months. When serving, make sure you let it completely thaw before you reheat it. And a little warning: if you freeze it, the texture of the eggplant tends to become mushy when you reheat it.
More Vegan Recipes
If you’re looking for more vegan recipe ideas from my Pakistani kitchen, you can try Mung bean curry: Pakistani whole mung bean dal, Aloo Palak: potato and spinach curry Pakistani style, Aloo Methi: potato and fenugreek leaves curry, or Chana Aloo: chickpea and potato curry.
I hope you enjoy the recipe, and now you want to try this easy eggplant curry. When you made this recipe, I’d love to know your thoughts about it in the comments below. I really appreciate it.
Thank you and all the best.
Eggplant Curry: An Easy Aubergine Curry Without Coconut Milk
- Mixing bowls.
- Frying pan
- Wooden spoon
- 1 large eggplant/ aubergine Cut in 1 inch chunks.
- 1 medium onion chopped.
- 2 medium-sized beef tomatoes chopped.
- ½ inch ginger finely minced.
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced.
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander.
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder.
- ½ ground black pepper.
- ¾ teaspoon salt and a little bit more to wash aubergine.
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil.
- Place the eggplant pieces in a mixing bowl, and sprinkle some salt all over them. Set aside and leave it until the aubergine sweats, releasing its sap.
- When the eggplant releases its sap, rinse it with water and then carefully squeeze them as much as you can. Take care not to break the aubergine. Drain and discard the water.
- Fry the aubergine pieces on a pan without oil. Keep stirring every now and again. Until all the eggplant is nicely browned.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you don’t have Kashmiri chili powder, you can substitute it with a mix of paprika powder and chili powder/ cayenne powder. Or just use chili powder. The difference is that Kashmiri chili and paprika powder has an intense red color that gives the dish a more vibrant color.
- You can use any cooking oil that you like. I use either rapeseed oil or sunflower oil.
Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.