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August 14, 2014

Sweet and Sour Eggplant (Aubergines)

Peace and Parsnips/Lee Watson

  • This sweet and sour eggplant dish balances the flavors of Indian spices with the sweetness of brown sugar. Alistair Richardson

Serves 4


1 teaspoon salt
8 baby eggplants (aubergines), quartered lengthwise, keeping stem intact
3 tablespoons gram (chickpea) flour
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Handful fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
3 teaspoons coconut or vegetable oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 teaspoons unrefined brown sugar


1. Rub 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the eggplants and leave them to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.

2. Put the flour, cumin seeds and coriander seeds into a heavy-bottomed frying pan and toast on medium heat until the seeds pop and the flour becomes darker. Place the mix into a mortar and roughly crush the seeds. Add the ginger, garlic, cayenne, paprika, cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the mortar and mash into a thick, sticky paste.

3. Pat the eggplants dry with a kitchen or paper towel, then rub the paste into them until well coated.

4. Put the oil into a large frying pan, wok or Indian karhai and heat on medium-high. When it is hot, add the eggplants and begin to fry, browning them on all sides for 3-4 minutes. Add 3 teaspoons of water, reduce heat, cover the pan and leave to simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the eggplants are tender.

5. Whisk the lemon and sugar together. Remove the lid on the pan and pour the mixture over the eggplants. Continue to cook for a few minutes, turning them once, until the sauce is thick and the eggplants are almost falling apart. Top with chopped cilantro and serve warm.

This recipe comes from Peace and Parsnips by Lee Watson.