The Best Aubergine Curry

The key to this recipe is definitely the cooking time. If you're impatient and try to eat before it's ready you'll regret it – trust me, we did it and it was such a shame. The aim is to get the aubergine silky smooth with a melt-in-the-mouth texture.


For the curry

2 large aubergines

Table salt

1 ½ tbsp coconut oil

1 onion

2 large garlic cloves

Finger-length piece of fresh ginger

8 cardamom pods

1 ½ tsp cumin seeds

2 good pinches of dried chilli flakes

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

2 vegetable stock cube

1 tbsp tamarind sauce

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Tamarind yoghurt

100g plain yoghurt

20g tamarind sauce

Table salt

White pepper

Other stuff

Small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Bombay mix


Slice the aubergines in quarters lengthways, then in 2-3cm chunks. Place them in a colander over a tea towel or kitchen roll. Sprinkle with the table salt and leave for 30 minutes to draw out the moisture from the aubergine.

Meanwhile, heat a large pan on a medium heat and add the coconut oil. Dice the onion then add to the same pan. Stir to coat the onions in the oil then cover with a lid. The key to the onions is to cook them slowly so they are softened but not brown. Cook for 20 minutes, turning the heat down so that the onions don't burn.

Chop the garlic and ginger finely and add to the pan for the final 5 minutes, again being careful not to burn them.

Crush the cardamom pods and extract the black seeds inside. Add these to the mortar (pestle and mortar) along with the cumin seeds and grind to a fine powder. Add these spices to the pan along with the chilli flakes, turmeric. Stir into the onion mixture to toast for 1 minute.

Wash and drain the aubergine, tapping off any excess moisture then add to the pan with the onions. Stir well to coat the aubergine in all the spices.

Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan and fill the can back up with water. Swirl it (without spilling it) and add into the pan then crumble the stock cubes in and give it a good stir until they've fully dissolved. There should be enough water in the pan to just about cover the aubergines. Season and stir.

Bring to a simmer and leave to cook for 1 ½ hours (uncovered) on a low to medium heat. Stir often to ensure it's not stuck to the bottom and taste half way to check the seasoning. The end result will be a deep red colour – cooking the tomatoes for a long time will allow them to infuse with all the ingredients and definitely gives you a better flavour.

Whilst the curry is cooking, you can prepare the tamarind yoghurt. In a small bowl, mix the yoghurt and tamarind sauce together then season (table salt and white pepper). Stir and put in the fridge until ready to serve.

When the aubergine is soft and silky the curry is done. Add 1 tbsp of tamarind paste, stir well then remove from the heat. When ready serve into bowls with rice, tamarind yoghurt and scatter Bombay Mix and herbs over the top.