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Madhur’s Fried Aubergines

10 Oct

This is an absolutely delicious dry curry of aubergines stir fried with spices until meltingly soft. It is pretty much the best aubergine dish I have ever tasted.

  • 5 tbsp/75ml mustard oil (reduced oil to 3 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp Panch Poran see Spice Mixes
  • pinch asafetida (optional)
  • 500g aubergines, cubed
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne chilli
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground amchoor (dried sour mango)
  • fresh coriander leaves

Heat the oil in a large wok over a medium flame. If using mustard oil let it get very hot and smoking to reduce its bitterness. Put in panchphoran and asafetida. A second or two later put in the aubergines and stir fry. Turn the heat down and add the coriander, chilli, turmeric & salt. Stir and fry for 15-20 minutes adding a little water every few minutes until the aubergines are tender. By the end of cooking the aubergines will have turned brown. Stir in the amchoor powder and fresh coriander and serve as a side dish or as a main with rice and a yogurt relish.

Recipe Source This recipe comes straight from Madhur Jaffrey’s book A taste of India unaltered by me save to reduce the amount of oil, cook it for a little longer and add a handful of coriander leaves before serving.
NB may need to cook for a little longer to make sure the aubergines are meltingly soft. I found putting the lid on my wok helped.


Fried Rice, Tofu & Vegetables

7 Oct

This is a wonderful hearty dish of fried brown rice with seasonal vegetables and oriental seasonings. Perfect with aubergines, peppers and long beans but works equally well with courgettes, french beans, carrots and peppers.
Serves 2

  • 2 portions of cooked brown rice
  • 1 small cake tofu, cubed
  • 1 small aubergine, cubed
  • handful green or long beans, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Handful beansprouts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dried seaweed salad (optional)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds


  • 2-3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (optioanl)
  • 1/4 – 1 tsp chilli flakes/powder to taste
  • pinch sugar

Mix up the sauce and prepare all the ingredients, set aside ready to use. Put a large pan or wok over a high flame and add a thin layer of oil. Add the aubergines and tofu, stir and fry until the cubes start to turn golden then add the beans, stir-fry for 1 minute then add the garlic, onion, pepper and dried seaweed. Fry until the beans are cooked but still bright green with some bite. Add the rice and sesame seeds, stir and fry until warmed through then add the sauce and bean sprouts, stir and cook for a further minute then serve.

Recipe Source
Devised and tested in my kitchen using seasonal vegetables from our garden and larder ingredients.

Aubergine Chutney (hot&sour)

1 Oct

Hot, sour and oily this Indian style aubergine chutney is really rich and will add a touch of luxury to a simple meal. Perfect with Indian breads, dhal crackers, pulses, potatoes, greens and rice dishes. I’ve got the last of this years aubergines that need to be used and one of my favourite things is chutney so I’ve been experimenting and came up with this beauty. Loosely based on Aubergine Chutney (Goan Style) in terms of spices but this one is fried in wonderfully pungent mustard oil and soured with vinegar and tamarind, it also has lots of freshly ground cayenne chilli powder.
*500g Aubergines
*150ml mustard oil
*5cm piece ginger, peeled
*10 cloves garlic, peeled
*10 dried curry leaves (optional)
*175ml white vinegar
*1 tsp salt
*4 tbsp tamarind pulp or 1-2 tsp tamarind concentrate
*2-4 tbsp sugar (to taste)
*3-5 fresh red chillis, sliced into thin rounds.
Spice mix
*1 tbsp mustard seeds
*1 tsp fenugreek seeds
*1 tbsp cumin seeds
*2 tsp turmeric
*1 tbsp ground dried hot chilli (cayenne)

Grind the ginger and garlic with a little of the white vinegar to help form a paste and set aside. Dry roast the whole spices, cool and grind to a powder. Mix the powder with the turmeric and chilli powder to make the spice mix and set aside.
Wash the aubergines and remove the stalks. Cut into thin matchsticks. In a large sauce pan heat the mustard oil until it starts to smoke then throw in the prepared aubergines in batches to fry (it should only take a few minutes for each batch if the oil is hot), then remove each batch with a slotted spoon and set aside. Once the aubergines are done, make sure all the debris is out of the pan, add the garlic & ginger paste and fry that for 2 or 3 minutes. When the raw garlic smell starts to disappear add the spice mix, stir well and fry for a minute or two then return the aubergines to the pan along with the remaining ingredients. Cook for 15-20minutes until the oil rises to the top and the aubergines are starting to go creamy. Spoon into warm sterilized jars. This chutney is not ready to eat right away because it has quite a bit of vinegar in it as a preservative. I’ve been munching on it with papadums as I can’t wait it is so delicious, but it would be better to let it mellow for a month or so before eating. If you want a chutney you can eat straight away don’t use the vinegar, you could use more tamarind and lemon juice instead. As always if you don’t want something as hot as this just cut back on the chilli powder or fresh chillis.
Originally posted 27/11/2008

I made this recipe once with aubergines I bought rather than grown in my garden and they behaved very differently soaking up all the oil and not releasing it again. If you are using spongy aubergines I would suggest changing the cooking method as follows fry the curry leaves and spices in the oil then add the garlic ginger paste then add all the aubergines at once and cook as original recipe.

Aubergine Dip (Arabic)

23 Sep

Aubergine caviar or baba ghanoush is a classic Arabic dip of roasted, mashed aubergine flesh seasoned with spices and lemon juice. Served with flat breads it is a lovely appetizer or makes a fine contribution to a meal of little dishes or meze (mezze).

Seasoned mashed aubergine flesh, is a divine way to eat aubergines. I first encountered Baba ghanoush in Edinburgh, when I used to visit a friend who had a lovely little deli on the corner of her road. They made their own baba ghanoush and I always bought a tub of it on my way to visit her. The secret to a good Aubergine Caviar is the quality of the aubergines so use only the freshest, best tasting aubergines.

Serves 6 approximately
basic recipe

  • 4 medium aubergines
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon (a little zest too if you like)
  • sea salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

The aubergines need to be cooked first by baking in an oven or roasting over a charcoal flame. The charcoal will add more flavour but so long as the skin blackens a little in the oven the smoky flavour, that makes this dish so delightful, will come through. Prick the aubergines several times with a fork then cook until the flesh is soft.
Allow to cool then scrape the aubergine flesh into a bowl and discard the skin. Add the lemon juice seasoning, garlic and half the oil. Mash with a fork or use a blender to make a smooth puree, depending on the texture you like. Adjust seasoning and serve drizzled with the remaining oil. You can vary the seasoning and add your favourite herbs or spices, see the variations for ideas. My personal preference is to add lightly crushed green coriander seeds or mustard seeds, a little cumin and coriander leaf. The version pictured has yogurt, a little ground cumin seed and is dusted with powdered cayenne chilli, but you could also add grated onion, mint, parsley, or coriander. I never seem to make it the same way twice.

Variations from around the world
There are many versions of mashed or pureed aubergine flesh to be found around the world; from the southern Mediterranean, throughout the middle east and into India, so there must be something to it,
In Turkey thick sheep’s yogurt is sometimes added, about 5-6 tablespoons for this quantity of aubergine puree but use less oil.
In Armenia chopped coriander and onion might be added
In Morocco harrissa might be added
In Syria and Lebanon pomegranate molasses may be used instead of lemon as the souring agent
In Egypt and other parts of the middle east Tahini may be added
In Italy agresto and basil might be added
In IndiaBaingan Bartha is a cooked dish where the aubergine flesh is fried with spices and tomato and onions.

Aubergine Chutney (Goan Style)

12 Sep

This is a wonderfully sweet, sour and hot chutney It is pretty easy to make and tastes absolutely delicious, perfect with curries, dhals and rice.
Makes 2 x 250g jars Prep 30mins Cook 20mins
*4 tbsp oil
*250g Aubergines
*2 tsp grated ginger
*3 cloves garlic, crushed
*2 pieces cinnamon bark
*10 dried curry leaves, crumbled
*6-10 dried bird chillis (very hot)
*2 fresh red Kashmiri chillis
*1 tsp fenugreek seeds
*1 tsp mustard seeds
*1 tsp turmeric
*1/2 tsp cumin
*250ml light vinegar
*2 tbsp sugar
Prick the aubergines and roast in a hot oven for 30 minutes, cool and chop into small cubes. Heat oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan and fry the cinnamon, garlic, ginger and curry leaves for a minute or until the aroma rises. Add the aubergines and fry for 5 minutes or so. Crush the remaining dry spices in a pestle and mortar to a rough powder. Stir in the spice powder, vinegar and sugar and cook until the mixture thickens. Ladle into warm sterilised jars and seal.

Recipe Source based on a Goan recipe I found for Brinjal Pickle on goa com.
Originally published 12/09/07


3 Sep

Ratatouille is served all over the south of France as the vegetable accompaniment to meat, fish or chicken dishes. It is also served on its own cold as a starter with fresh bread. Ratatouille is simply a stew of aubergines, peppers, courgettes, onions and tomatoes, all that grows abundantly here in the summer and autumn months. The secret to this dish is to cook it slowly in lots of olive oil. This recipe is for a fairly large quantity I made at the end of the season to freeze in 3 batches enough for meal for 2 or 4 as side portions.
Prep 25mins Cook 1 hour

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 400g onions, diced
  • 500g Aubergine, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 500g red, green and yellow peppers, diced
  • 350g courgettes, skinned and diced
  • 400g sieved tomatoes or passata
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh Thyme, tied together
  • 1 tsp salt

Prepare the aubergines first and put in a bowl with a tbsp of salt leave for at least an hour to degorge any bitter juices, then rinse and drain. (if the aubergines are not bitter skip this step). Fry the onions in the oil in a large heavy pan, when they have completely softened add the garlic fry for 1 minute. Then add the aubergines fry until softened then add the peppers and fry gently until the peppers have soften finally add the courgettes and sieved tomatoes or passata, salt and the thyme bundle. Cover and simmer gently with the lid on for half an hour to one hour until all the vegetables are melt in the mouth soft. Serve as a cold starter sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley or as it is warm.

Aubergines with Coriander

29 Jul

This little dish of roast aubergines with green coriander seeds and garam masala makes a wonderful side dish. With a dressing of cooling yogurt, it will work well with most curries or you can serve it as part of a mezze of small vegetable dishes.

Serves 2-4

  • 2 small aubergines
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp course sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaf
  • 1 tbsp Green Coriander Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala

Yogurt Dressing~

  • 150ml yogurt
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • salt to taste

Wash the aubergines, remove the prickly stem end and cut into four, length ways, then cut each length into bite size pieces. Lay the pieces in an oven dish and rub with the oil season and cook in a moderate oven for 30-40 minutes or until the pieces are melt-in-the-mouth cooked, remove from the oven & cool. Crush the green coriander with the garlic and add half to the aubergines along with the garam masala, lemon juice and fresh coriander toss well to coat. Next beat the yogurt to make it smooth and stir in the remaining crushed garlic and coriander mix and a pinch of salt. Lay the aubergines on a serving plate and spoon over the yogurt sauce. Serve just warm or cold.

Gardener’s Tip
I grow lots of coriander through the year for both leaf and seed. The seeds whilst still green, and immature, are my favourite and lend a light aromatic spice to food. To keep a supply succession sow every two months and let each crop go to seed.
My favourite aubergine variety is Szechuan available from the Heritage Seed Library or my seed swap. These aubergines have turned out to be a great find, about 20cm long with a lovely sweet flavour, good clean flesh and no bitterness.

Originally posted Mas du Diable 29/07/08

Aubergine Mint Chutney

27 Nov

This chutney is pretty good and an excellent way to use the last of the seasons aubergines. The unusual combination of mint with aubergine in this chutney and the lovely garlic pungency, is divine. I’ve been making this chutney for quite a few years because most people like it but it is not my favourite chutney, I prefer more intense Indian style chutneys.

  • 1kg purple aubergines cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 500g onions, minced
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds
  • 3 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 4 heads of garlic peeled and crushed
  • 2-3 hot red chillis de-seeded and finely sliced
  • 500ml cider or white wine vinegar 
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 3 tsp smoked Spanish sweet paprika
  • large bunch of mint, chopped

Heat a little oil in a preserving pan add the nigella and sesame seeds once they start to pop add the onions and cook until softened, add the aubergines and cook those until a little softened add the garlic & chillis and cook stirring for 5mins until the garlic aroma rises. Add the vinegar and bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15mins. Add the sugar, salt, and paprika stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick. Add mint and remove from the heat. Ladle into hot sterilized jars and seal. Ready in 1 month and will keep for well over a year.

Recipe source The original recipe was Oded Schwartz’s but I’ve been making it since we came here, altering it over the years ( I use a little index card system in the kitchen marking up changes to my recipes and writing down recipes I’m working on) anyway I recently looked out the book, Preserving, with the original recipe in it to see how far my recipe had strayed. I’ve ended up reducing the amount of vinegar by a third, reducing the amount of salt, doubling the amount of onion and using smoked Spanish paprika which adds a very particular flavour and black sesame seeds which add a green tinge to the chutney. Variations one year I made this chutney with white wine vinegar flavoured with noix (walnuts) which really changed the whole flavour of the chutney, i liked it a lot.

Originally posted on 27/11/2008