Roasted aubergine curry (or eggplant curry for our American readers) is a creamy, fragrant and delicious Indian dish that is so easy to make! Ready in under 30 minutes, it’s great served with pilau rice, roti and any other condiments. Similar to brinjal bhaji, but served as a main course, not a side, and is much saucier.
🌟 Why this recipe works
Curry experts – we’ve said it once and we’ll say it again but curry is the best. We are self-proclaimed curry experts and know a thing or two about how to cook them, through sheer practice! Some of our reader favourites include Jackfruit Curry, Vegetable Bhuna and Aubergine and Cauliflower Curry.
Roasted aubergine – we think that aubergine (AKA eggplant or brinjal) needs to be cooked just right to be perfectly succulent and creamy. So in this aubergine curry, the aubergine is roasted to absolute perfection before adding it to the curry. It should be cut into even pieces to make sure it all cooks at the same rate. Aubergine is also great in a vegan katsu or baked with miso glaze. Check out more amazing aubergine recipes.
Spice blend – this easy aubergine curry uses a blend of whole and powdered spices to develop a rich classic Indian curry flavour that complements the creamy aubergine perfectly. It creates the best aubergine masala.
📋 Ingredient Notes
Aubergine / eggplant – it’s important to quarter each aubergine lengthways and then cut them into 3-4 inch pieces for this roasted aubergine curry. Roasting creates pieces of soft and creamy aubergine, which are just melt in the mouth good! If you're looking for quick aubergine recipes, try this brinjal bhaji recipe.
Tomato passata – using a combination of tomato passata makes the sauce rich, creamy and smooth.
Coconut milk – a key ingredient for aubergine curry is coconut milk. You can use light coconut milk to keep it lower in saturated fat but if you use the full-fat version it will be creamier.
Whole spices – cardamom pods, cloves and curry leaves help to create an aromatic flavour that just wouldn’t be possible without them! Aubergine curry is not only creamy and delicious but full of aromatic flavour that’s deep and indulgent – created with just a few whole spices (and a few powdered spices too).
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this article for exact measurements to make this easy roasted aubergine curry recipe.
🔪 Step-by-step Instructions
This is a step-by-step overview with photos for making aubergine curry. The full recipe, along with measurements and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
1. Preheat the oven to 230°c / 450°f. Cut the aubergine and then toss in the olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Place the aubergine slices evenly on a large lined or non-stick baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes in the oven.
2. Remove from the oven and flip the aubergine pieces over and them put back in the oven for another 10 minutes until it starts to brown. It should be perfectly tender once baked. Alternatively, you could use fried aubergine but it will likely take longer.
3. During the last 10 minutes of the aubergine baking, pour a splash of oil into a large pan and pop over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened and starting to brown. If you cook for longer, until they start to caramelise, the outcome will be better. If you don’t have time, stick with 5 minutes.
4. Next, it’s time for the garlic, ginger, cardamom, cloves and curry leaves. Add to the pan and then fry for a minute until fragrant, stirring continuously.
5. Then add the powdered spices, stir and fry for another minute.
6. Pour in the coconut milk, stir and then bring to the boil, then reduce down to a simmer.
7. Add the roasted aubergine.
8. Continue to simmer and stir occasionally for 10 minutes.
9. Finally remove the cardamom pods and cloves before serving. And there you have it, a perfect (and easy!) roasted aubergine curry.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
Whole spices – that’s the cardamom pods, cloves and curry leaves. The cardamom pods should be lightly crushed so that the flavour can infuse into the sauce, but not enough to cause large enough cracks for the seeds to escape. You can also pop the whole spices into a small muslin bag and then add to the aubergine curry. If you don’t have a muslin bag, you could alternatively use a piece of muslin, wrap up the whole spices and then tie it up, DIY-style. Then it’s much easier to remove the whole spices before serving! Which additionally, is another tip – don’t forget to remove the whole spices before serving.
Tomatoes – we like the smoothness of passata and often use it in curry sauces to keep them silky smooth. However, this aubergine curry works just as well with tinned, crushed or chopped tomatoes.
Chilli powder – this is quite a mild recipe as it comes. However, if you’d like it a little spicier, just increase the amount of chilli powder. If you’d like it milder, be sure to use mild chilli powder. As the eggplant / aubergine curry has a great depth of flavour, it works well mild or spicy!
We find that it’s best to chop the aubergine into lengthways quarters and then into even slices (around 3-4 inches), pour on a generous glug of olive oil and then season with salt. You don’t have to season it with salt before cooking but we find that it works well. Alternatively, grilled aubergine works well too.
There are a few ways to cook aubergine or eggplant in a curry. Baking the aubergine first helps to save on the simmering time. But adding the aubergine into the pan can also work. If cooking aubergine this way, the simmer time will be much longer than in this recipe. However, the aubergine can be chopped into small cubes to help cook it quicker. It’s just important that the pieces are evenly sized.
Salting aubergine before cooking helps to reduce the amount of oil that is absorbed by the aubergine. In the past, chefs used to recommend salting aubergine to reduce their bitterness. However, aubergines aren’t as bitter as they used to be, as it was bred out of them (source).
Aubergine is best roasted for around 30 minutes. It can also be simmered in a sauce, but to get it super rich and creamy, a combination of roasting and simmering is best. Especially when served in a curry!
🍛 Serving suggestions
🇮🇳 More recipes to try
Give these recipes a go if you love Indian food. And take a look at these 30 amazing aubergine recipes too.
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Easy Roasted Aubergine Curry
- 1.1 kg aubergines ~ 3 aubergines – quartered lengthways then chopped into long 4-5” chunks
- 1 onion – diced
- 4 cloves garlic – minced
- 1" ginger – minced
- 2 cardamom pods – lightly crushed to crack the shell
- 2 cloves
- 10 curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 0.5 teaspoon chilli powder
- 0.5 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 250 ml passata
- 125 ml coconut milk
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 230°c / 450°f.
- Cut the aubergine and then toss them in the olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Place the aubergine slices evenly on a large lined or non-stick baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes in the oven.1.1 kg aubergines, 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Remove from the oven and flip the aubergine pieces over and them put back in the oven for another 10 minutes until it starts to brown. It should be perfectly tender once baked.
- During the last 10 minutes of the aubergine baking, pour a splash of oil into a large pan and pop over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened and starting to brown. If you cook for longer, until they start to caramelise, the outcome will be better. If you don’t have time, stick with 5 minutes.1 onion
- Next, it’s time for the garlic, ginger, cardamom, cloves and curry leaves. Add to the pan and then fry for a minute until fragrant, stirring continuously. Then add the powdered spices, stir and fry for another minute.4 cloves garlic, 1" ginger, 2 cardamom pods, 2 cloves, 10 curry leaves, 1 tablespoon cumin powder, 1 tablespoon coriander powder, 0.5 teaspoon chilli powder, 0.5 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pour in the coconut milk and passata, stir and then bring to the boil, then reduce down to a simmer.125 ml coconut milk, 250 ml passata
- Add the roasted aubergine. Continue to simmer and stir occasionally for 10 minutes.
- Finally remove the cardamom pods and cloves before serving.
- Use a muslin bag or piece of muslin cloth to wrap up the whole spices before adding to the curry. This makes them easier to retrieve before serving, but still allows the flavours to infuse.
- Store in the refrigerator for upto 3 days in an airtight container, and it can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
- The curry is on the mild side, but if you’d like it spicier double the chilli powder. If you’d like it milder, use mild chilli powder instead.
- Full fat or light coconut milk can be used. Tinned chopped tomatoes can be used in place of passata.