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Curried Eggplant

July 29, 2010

Beautiful Indian (aka “baby”) eggplants from our new Seafood City Supermarket were the inspiration for the Curried Eggplant I made last night. (Seafood City is the “home for Filipino Asian Lifestyle” with many stores in California; this is their first in Washington State. Apparently, it’s the place to go if you want beef knee caps. Don’t look for that one any time soon on this blog.)

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Asian markets often carry these little beauties, but you’ll also find them, and many other interesting eggplants, at farmers’ markets. If you can’t find the Indian eggplants, any eggplant will work for this recipe. Just get about a pound and cut into smaller pieces if it’s a large eggplant.

We love eggplant curry, so that’s what I decided to make. I found a recipe in 660 Curries for Baghara Baingan (Fried Baby Eggplant with a Peanut-Coconut Sauce). Raghavan Iyer’s recipe uses a peanut-coconut-sesame seed base. It sounds delicious and I may try Raghavan’s more complicated recipe someday, but last night I wanted something that was quick and easy. So I didn’t make Baghara Baingan; I made my own version of Curried Eggplant.

My Curried Eggplant uses ingredients that are pretty easy to find at most supermarkets; you could easily make substitutions for products that you can’t find. (Examples: Any kind of milk–soy, almond, dairy–for the coconut milk, any cooking oil for the coconut oil, or a large eggplant for the baby eggplants)

This may not be a classic Indian recipe, but it does deliver authentic Indian flavors in an easy version that can be made quickly. And it was sooo good that I know I’ll be making it again soon!

Update September 25, 2010: I made this again with 1 pound of regular globe eggplants (2 small ones) cut into 1-inch cubes. I left the peel on. It wasn’t as “cute” but was equally tasty.

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Curried Eggplant

(Inspired by a recipe for Baghara Baingan in 660 Curries)

(print the recipe)

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Serves 2 as a main dish; serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal

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cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne:

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8 – 9 (1 pound) baby eggplants (or 1 pound of any kind of eggplant)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 cup chopped onions

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup coconut milk (1 small 5.46 oz can)*

Cooked rice, for serving

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1. Wash the eggplants, cut off the top and then cut them lengthwise in fourths without cutting all the way through.

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2. Combine the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

3. Heat the 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a large skillet.

4. When the oil is hot, add the eggplants and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. They will be tender and soft when done.

5. Remove the eggplants to a paper towel-lined plate.

6. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil to the pan and cook the onions until they are softened, about 5 minutes.

7. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions, and cook, stirring, for a minute or so until they are fragrant.

8. Add the salt and spices and cook, stirring, for about a minute.

9. Add the coconut milk.

10. Add the eggplants and cook until everything is hot. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve over rice.

*In Seattle I can find small 5.46-ounce cans of Thai Kitchen coconut milk at PCC; I find them very handy when I’m cooking for just the two of us.

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010 12:55 pm

    Wow, curried eggplants, I would love to try some of your delicious looking dish. My husband is not an eggplant fan so I rarely make it at home, maybe when he’s out of town, ha ha!

    • July 29, 2010 3:26 pm

      Oh, that’s too bad that he doesn’t like eggplant, Patty. Bob doesn’t really care for pizza. It was always “Pizza Night” for my daughters and me when he was out of town. 8)

  2. July 29, 2010 6:24 pm

    I love those little eggplants!! your curried eggplant looks delicious!! thanks so much for sharing!

    • July 29, 2010 7:20 pm

      Thanks, Dennis! It is delicious….even better than the finished photos look.

  3. July 29, 2010 8:43 pm

    hi this is an excellent side dish for Hyderabadi Biryani’s. excellent.

    • July 30, 2010 5:03 am

      Abraham, your biryani recipe looks sooo good! And you’re so right, it would be a feast to serve it with this eggplant dish! Thanks so much for your insight! :)

  4. suzie permalink
    July 31, 2010 9:43 pm

    this looks fantastic. and you made it look so easy! do you think i can replace the coconut milk with something else? i’m allergic to coconuts.

    • August 1, 2010 7:11 am

      Sure, Suzie! You could use ghee, butter or your favorite cooking oil for the coconut oil, and regular dairy milk for the coconut milk. If you want to keep it vegan, you could try a non-flavored, unsweetened soy or almond milk.

  5. August 3, 2010 5:01 pm

    We added some fresh chopped tomatoes (not too much), more onions, and some fresh chopped cauliflower (a handful) and wow delish! Great combo of spices :-) We might try to keep it down to 2 TB oil total next time. The cutting technique is perfect, TY for the pictures!!

    We will be making this again for sure.
    -Adrian

    • August 3, 2010 6:24 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Adrian! A few tomatoes, more onions and cauliflower would be delicious!

  6. August 15, 2010 6:52 pm

    Coincidentally, I also did an Eggplant dish recently Hearty Brinjal Recipe With Dried Scallops . However, the eggplant you used is a little different. The type commonly found in Singapore is the longer version.

    I like the look of yours, more like a fruit :) I shall try cooking with curry one of these days.

    • August 16, 2010 4:08 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment! Your Hearty Brinjal Recipe with Dried Scallops looks very interesting!

      Here, the large globe eggplants, and the slender eggplants like the one you used are most common. Other shapes are available at Asian or farmers’ markets and they’re fun to use.

  7. Lisha permalink
    September 5, 2010 10:20 pm

    Can I replace the cocnut milk with another ingredient for this recipe?

    • September 6, 2010 6:15 am

      Sure, Lisha! You could use regular milk or plain (unflavored) soy milk or almond milk.

  8. Aathira permalink
    June 4, 2012 11:58 pm

    First time at your blog. These eggplants came out real good !

    • June 5, 2012 6:16 am

      Well, welcome, Aathira! And I’m so glad you liked the eggplant!

  9. Wendy permalink
    July 20, 2012 10:04 pm

    Just came across those adorable little eggplants in the store and had to buy them. Came here looking for what to do with them. Thanks – looks delicious!

  10. Ginny permalink
    February 19, 2013 4:26 am

    I made this after I scored some of those beautiful little eggplants at our local farmers’ market store. IT was WONDERFUL. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. Edward permalink
    April 7, 2013 12:34 am

    This is AMAZING!!!

  12. John permalink
    May 20, 2013 6:16 pm

    THIS IS A WINNER-THANKS! When I made it a second time, I opted to use a 28oz can of finely diced tomatoes for the liquids and flavor. After the onions were softened and before adding the garlic and ginger, I added a tsp of black mustard seeds and a handful of rough chopped fresh curry leaves. Just before adding the eggplants, I stirred in 2 T of shaved coconut. My point in mentioning these alterations is only to praise you in presenting a dish that lends itself to adjusting toward personal tastes. You recipe stands on its own as an outstanding dish- either will go well with my chicken biryani.

    • John permalink
      May 20, 2013 6:18 pm

      I forgot to mention the tomatoes and liquid were in lieu of the coconut milk.

  13. Kathy permalink
    January 23, 2014 5:36 pm

    Great dish

  14. Grace permalink
    March 22, 2014 2:04 pm

    On a cold, rainy day here in Vancouver, BC, this dish really just hit the spot! It was delicious, comforting, easy to make. I’m in the midst of writing school papers and I’m very thankful that I found your recipe! Those baby eggplants were sitting in my fridge for a few days and now finally put them to good use :) I will certainly make this dish again. Looking forward to my next visit to your blog. Thanks!

    • March 22, 2014 2:09 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, Grace! I’m glad you like the recipe. Good luck getting those school papers done. ;)

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