Recipe – Dean’s Brinjal Bhaji (Vegan Aubergine Curry)

My friend Dean is a bit of a secret culinary whizz. His family background is eastern Mediterranean so he has a lot of knowledge of cuisine across that neck of the woods and far beyond. We had a chat about rice funnily enough, and I encouraged him to cook something for the blog for his step daughter Phoebe. This is his curry – Brinjal Bhaji, or aubergine curry. It looks wonderful!

Dean with Phoebe and his Brinjal Bhaji

You will need:

  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 1 large onion (or 1 ½ medium onions), thinly sliced
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper (or whatever colour you have!), cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp onion seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder or ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • A handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt & pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 200 C or 180 C fan oven.

Put the aubergines in the oven whole – no need to add salt or oil or anything. Cook them for 35-40 minutes, or until the flesh has gone soft and the skin has hardened. Once they have cooled enough to handle, cut them in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh. If the skin has hardened enough, the skin and flesh should almost separate by themselves. Chop up the flesh into fairly small pieces – it should look fairly mushy.

Warm a large pan or wok on a medium heat and then add the oil. Once the oil is warm, add the onion seeds. They should crackle. Give them a stir and let them cook for a minute or so, and then add the onion.

Gently cook the onions, giving them an occasional stir until they are soft and translucent and just on the brink of colouring, then add your garlic, ginger and green chilli.  Cook these for about a minute and then add the garam masala, turmeric and chilli powder, along with some salt and pepper. Add a tiny splash of water to the pan to ensure the spices don’t burn.

Add the green pepper and mix everything around so everything is evenly coated in the spices and oil. Cook for about 5 minutes or so, until the pepper has softened a little.

Add the tomatoes, and combine these with the rest of the ingredients. Then add in your chopped aubergine and combine well once again. Bring the mixture up to a boil (you don’t need to add any water, there will be enough water released by the peppers and aubergine) and then simmer it on the lowest heat. As the aubergine is already cooked, you only need to simmer it for about 5-10 minutes but you can leave it for longer if you like.

Garnish with the chopped coriander and serve with basmati rice.

You can see Dean cooking this wonderful curry in my Youtube video below!

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