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Aubergine curry §

Our fellow Wix babes over at the Indian Community Cookbook Project are doing an awesome job of collecting an archive of Indian community cookbooks! For one of our final Vent dishes, we decided to try our hand at an authentic Bagara Baingan. Our attempt is below, but check out their page too for a follow-along video.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Makes: 3 portions


1/4 cup peanuts

1/2 tsp poppy seeds

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 onion

1/2 bulb of garlic

1/3 cup coriander

1/2 tsp fenugreek powder

1/3 cup coconut

4 tomatoes

2 smallish aubergines

1/4 cup oil

1 dried red chilli

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

20 pepper corns

5 Curry leaves

1 tsp chilli powder

1 1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/4tsp turmeric

A small tamarind ball, soaked in water* * (this is probably difficult to find so a spoonful of tamarind paste should do nicely)

1. Copy and paste

Start by roasting and toasting your 1/4 cup peanuts,1/2 tsp poppy seeds and1 tsp sesame seeds separately in a dry frying pan and then grinding them into a paste using your peg-leg blender or pestle and mortar. Scrape this out into a separate bowl and leave to the side

Next we want to copy and paste this paste and make another paste by blending the 1 onion

1/2 bulb of garlic,1/3 cup coriander and1/2 tsp fenugreek powder together. Again scrape this into a separate bowl and set aside for now. Consider this a forewarning that there will be a large amount of washing up in this recipe...

While we're at it, let's go three for three, grind up your coconut to make your third paste. Now you are ready to paint your curry-y canvas, watch out Bob Ross.

2. Fry me to the moon

Add enough oil to a pan to shallow fry the tomatoes and aubergine and heat it up. While it's heating, chop up your aubergine into bite size pieces and fry these until golden brown, rinse and repeat with the tomatoes until brown and blistered. Make sure to have a glass of water nearby so you also don't get blistered and brown from the rising heat in the kitchen!

Once your vegetables are nicely fried, it's time to add some aromatics. Top up the oil in your pan (use your 1/4 cup) and toss in the dried red chilli,1/4 tsp mustard seeds, 20 pepper corns and 5 curry leaves to make the oil smell and taste super fragrant. Heat for a few seconds stirring frequently.

Next, add your green paste into the pan (perhaps turn down the heat a little) and sauté it until your kitchen is smelling like the most delicious Indian restaurant you've ever walked past. To up the ante some more, add in your 1 tsp chilli powder,1 1/2 tsp coriander powder and 1/4tsp turmeric and continue to sauté until the oil separates slightly.

Toss in the nut paste you've made along with a large pinch of salt, continuing to sauté. Maybe do a little sauté for joy yourself at how well this recipes coming along, ah go on - we won't judge you!

Next it's time for coconut paste, continue to sauté until oil separates again. You may want to add a little water here, or perhaps your paste is more liquidy than ours was... Hey, we never said we were professionals!!!

Tamarind balls (as in the original recipe) are seemingly like trying to find the philosophers stone in Western countries (let me tell you,Harry had a lucky break, it's much more difficult in real life and you're more likely to end up discovering phosphorous in your wee instead) so we recommend popping in a spoon of tamarind paste. Stir through, add your tomatoes and aubergines back in to warm through - and enough water to make a curry sauce of your liking. When it's simmering and the oil comes to the surface again it's ready.

Dink and sink!

Food for Thought

Lizzy says: "There are so many different regions of food in India, and it was very nice to venture into a new one using an authentic recipe. However, I don't know if I did something wrong, but the result was gritty and oily and the texture of the tomatoes and aubergine was mushy, which brought the recipe down a few rungs. I don't think this was worth it and probably wouldn't recommend, but it's worth checking the website where the recipe is from to see more authentic Indian recipes. 4/10"

Kate says: "Probably most of the curries we have made thus far on GWS have been westernised versions, so it was good to revisit the source and get an authentic recipe for once. Some of the ingredients from the original were a little tricky to find, but we made do with store-cupboard ingredients or dupes. The smells from the curry as it were cooking and its three different 'pastes' were wonderful, and the next day once the flavour had deepened it was extra-specially delicious. I think my mistake was not adding enough water in the original, so it was too pasty rather than curry-y. I would also use cherry tomatoes next time to get a better char and more flavour. 8/10

6/10 Gasps


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