Baby aubergine curry, rich, spicy and needless to say simply delicous​​​

Baby aubergine curry, rich, spicy and needless to say simply delicous​​​

There is something simply delicious about aubergine. I don’t know about you, but whenever I order an aubergine curry in a Sri Lankan or Indian restaurant it tends to come swimming in oil. This baby aubergine curry cooked in spices and tamarind to create a rich spicy sauce. But the trick with this recipe is to roast the aubergine first.

Where can you buy baby aubergines?

You can buy baby aubergines in most large majour supermarkets. In Tooting, we’re lucky enough to have many Asian grocers where baby aubergines are plentiful.

Why do aubergines soak up so much oil?

The flesh of the aubergine has air pockets that act like a sponge rapidly soaking up hot oil. The trick to cooking aubergines is to break down these air pockets to stop the aubergine from sapping up to much oil. And there are a number of ways of doing this. This article from Kitchn gives you a number of brilliant aubergine cooking tips.

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baby aubergine curry

Baby aubergine curry, rich, spicy and needless to say simply delicous​​​

  • Author: Tooting Mama
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 as a side dish 1x
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Cuisine: Sri Lankan


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 400g baby aubergines
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • A smidgen of salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 dried, crushed red chilli
  • 5 curry leaves, fresh
  • 4 tbs desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 crushed dried chilli (feel free to omit)
  • 8 curry leaves, fresh
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cm ginger, peeled and chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200 ml tamarind water


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Make two deep cuts into the aubergine, (90 degrees to each other) but leaving the aubergine intact at the stem 
  • Place the aubergines and tomatoes onto a baking tray, lightly coat with oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven (middle shelf) for 20 minutes
  • Now start to make the curry powder
  • In a small, solid frying pan, add the cumin and coriander seeds, the crushed dried chilli, curry leaves and desiccated coconut.  On  a medium heat – dry roast until the coconut turns a golden brown
  • Take off the heat and pour into a pestle and mortar – and grind into a powder – then set aside
  • Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan, add the cumin, mustard seeds, chilli and curry leaves
  • Add the onions, garlic and ginger, cook gently until the onions are soft and transparent
  • Now add your freshly made curry powder and stir in to coat the onions, garlic and ginger
  • Take the aubergine and tomatoes out of the oven and place into the pan.   Gently stir the aubergines and tomatoes so they are covered in the spices and onion, garlic and ginger. Add a little salt
  • Lower the heat and add about six tables spoons of tamarind water
  • Cover the frying pan with a lid, and let the aubergines cook through for around 25 – 30 minutes
  • Keep an eye on the aubergines, and when they start to dry out, keep adding a little tamarind water
  •  You may not need all the tamarind water, but keep it to hand, and use as much as you need until the aubergines are fully cooked – the flesh is soft and silky
  • Serve as a side dish – this aubergine curry will go brilliantly with a simple chicken curry or lamb cooked in coconut. If you want a vegetarian or vegan plate – how about with chickpea and spinach curry?  

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