Curry Series – Brinjal Bhaji Eggplant Curry Recipe

I love cooking curries – especially for Mrs Romance. Over the next few Wednesdays I’ll be telling you how I cook my favourite Indian dishes in our curry series. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Mr & Mrs Romance - Curry Series - Brinjal Bhaji title 1

This is one of my very favourite curries. The way the eggplant absorbs all the curry flavours then turns all gooey and soft makes this one of Mrs Romance’s favourites too.

The funny thing is, whenever I go out for a curry with my other English mates – a tough crowd for the restaurants to please – there’s always one of us that orders the eggplant curry. But he never eats it! Surprisingly, the brinjal bhaji is one of the hotter dishes on Indian restaurant menus and he can’t handle it!

Fortunately the rest of us tuck in. He sees it as a way to get us all to eat some veggies – he gets terrible mother hen syndrome!

Mr & Mrs Romance - Curry Series - Bringal Bhaji ingredients

This dish is very easy to make though. The trick is cooking the eggplant in the curry paste before adding anything else. Eggplant absorbs every flavour you put with it – especially when you first start cooking. So if you start with onions, the eggplant will mostly taste of onions.

Remember, eggplant really is absorbent. It’ll soak up all the oil from your curry paste, so be ready to add a little more oil if needed.

Brinjal Bhaji Eggplant Curry

Curry Series - Brinjal Bhaji Eggplant Curry Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Gooey soft eggplant in a velvety spiced tomato sauce. The combination of eggplant, tender chat potatoes and the oniony curry sauce makes this an essential for any great curry feast!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 med-large eggplant - cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 potatoes (waxy) or about the same weight as the eggplant - cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 med onion - chopped
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
  • 1 tomato - chopped
  • 1 chilli (optional) - finely chopped
  • ½ - ¼ tin of chopped tomato
  • ¼ cup rice bran oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp curry powder - I used Keen’s
  • ½ tsp turmeric (optional)
  • Salt to season
Instructions
  1. Toast the coriander seeds and half the cumin in a hot, high-edged pan or saucepan, then transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind into powder.
  2. Par-boil the potato either in the microwave (about 8 minutes on high) or in a pan. The potato pieces should stay whole but fall off the tip of a knife when stabbed.
  3. Meanwhile heat oil in the pan and add the powder, the curry powder and the remaining cumin seeds.
  4. When the cumin seeds start to sizzle and pop, add the eggplant pieces and stir to ensure all sides are covered in the curry paste. Watch how much oil the eggplant absorbs - add a little more if things start to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. When the eggplant starts to change colour and the curry paste is fully absorbed, add the onion, garlic and chopped chilli.
  6. When the onions have started going transparent, add the ½ tin of tomato and combine well.
  7. Add the potatoes and a tablespoon or so of water. You can use some of the water from the potatoes if you like. This will make the sauce thicken too.
  8. Add the turmeric for a bit of extra colour, cover and cook on medium for about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove lid, stir and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid off - add the fresh tomato at this stage. If the curry looks a bit dry or you want it to have more sauce, add a bit more of the tomato from the tin.
  10. Test how cooked the eggplant and potato is by tapping gently on an edge with your spoon. If the potato dents or collapses, it’s done. If the eggplant squishes, you’re in the right track. If this doesn’t happen, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Check frequently until the potato and eggplant are tender and soft.
  11. Uncover the pan, increase the heat until the curry bubbles, then either remove from heat and cover or serve immediately.

 

This curry doesn’t freeze that well because when you defrost it, the eggplant goes to mush. However, the flavours in the eggplant really develop by the second day, so keeping it in the fridge for up to five days is actually a pretty good idea!

I haven’t tried this, but I think adding pork mince or pork and veal mince blend to this recipe when you cook the onions would make it even richer. You’d have to add more tomato and spices too though.

Try adding other curry pastes at the beginning to change the flavour. A tandoori paste or a vindaloo paste added when you’re sealing the eggplant at the beginning would give a bit of extra punch to the dish.

I also add a dash of white vinegar in step 8, which tenderises the eggplant a bit more and adds a little acidity.

This curry recipe is gluten free, vegetarian and dairy free too!

Mr & Mrs Romance - Curry Series - spices Have you cooked this kind of curry before? Do you have any tips or alterations to suggest? What would you do if one of your group of friends kept ordering a dish but never ate it?

Images by Mr Romance.

9 Comments

  • Reply April 23, 2014

    Smaggle

    You are so cooking this for me next time in Sydney. And naming a cocktail after me. Those are the rules.

    • Reply April 24, 2014

      Mr Romance

      I like rules, Smags! Especially ones that involve the obligatory consumption of curry and cocktails! Let’s make it happen!
      Jx

  • Reply April 23, 2014

    Karla

    Mmmm think I’ll be trying this one soon!

    • Reply April 24, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Do it, Karla! It’s really good. And the longer you cook the eggplant the better it gets! Enjoy!
      Jx

  • Reply April 23, 2014

    Career 'A Go-Go

    We have a Vegan in the family who always ordered this when we went out for Indian. We now order two serves of this dish because we always ended up eating it on her. Actually come to think of it, that happens quite a lot with her choice of vegan dishes.

    • Reply April 24, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Ha ha! I know what you mean, Ingrid! Even though my friend orders the veggie curry dish every time we go out as a group but never eats it, we still get him to order it because the rest of us like it so much! We still pay out on him though!
      Jx

  • […] and a touch of turmeric powder is all you need to spice up for one of my favourite curries – the brinjal bhaji aka eggplant curry. When you’ve cooked it long enough, the eggplant goes all gooey and […]

  • […] also ordered a brinjal dish, which is one of my favourites to make at home. The eggplant’s been cut – almost minced – into tiny pieces but the […]

  • […] (very small section) of the curry I’ve made for dinner. It’s my own interpretation of a brinjal curry – here’s the recipe – and it always seems to work. I’ve also made my favourite 5-hour slow-cooked beef […]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge