Easy Aubergine Pickle

Easy Aubergine Pickle

If you like your recipes quick and simple but tasting great here’s a variation of the previous recipe. Just for you

Simple Aubergine Pickle

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Cuisine: British, Indian
Keyword: aubergine, chutney, pickle


  • 1   good glug of oil
  • large  aubergine
  • large  onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • salt to taste


  • 1 tbsp garam masala ground
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric ground
  • red chilli powder to taste (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin whole or ground


  • slice the onions and chop the aubergine into fairly small pieces
  • heat some oil in a pan: if you're using whole cumin seed add this to the hot oil, let it sizzle for a few seconds (without burning) them add the onions
  • cook the onions for 5 minutes, then add the sliced garlic. Continue to cook gently for another 5 minutes
  • add the aubergines, tossing them to cover in oil. Sauté for a few minutes to slightly brown them
  • add the vinegar, sugar, powdered spices and salt plus enough water to cover; bring to the boil, turn down the heat and cover. Cook for 30 minutes or longer until the liquid is absorbed, the aubergines are soft and you have a deep dark, shiny finish. You may need to add more water and stir the mixture during this time to stop it from sticking
  • cool and store in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks
  • great with pappadams or cheese or as an alternative to ketchup. Enjoy
Spiced Smoked Aubergine Curry – Begun Bharta

Spiced Smoked Aubergine Curry – Begun Bharta

The versatile aubergine or eggplant takes pride of place in our kitchen. And having shared one aubergine recipe this excellent vegetable surely deserves a bit more attention before we get side-tracked

Here large plump aubergines are roasted over a naked flame, sweated and scooped from the charred skin. The pulp is then seasoned with long-sautéed onions, garlic, chilli, coriander. a little turmeric and salt

Deeply smoky and creamy began bharta is great warm with flat-breads, a yoghurt cooler and a fresh crunchy salad. Eaten at room temperature it makes a delicious spread for a slice of good crusty bread

This recipe was given to us by our dear friends Shams and Alan on a visit to us in Spain a couple of years back. In fact cooking curry throughout was the condition for Shams even contemplating a visit.

Shams retired from her day job as head pharmacist for Redbridge trust in south-east England to devote herself to cooking.

She’s ubiquitous at festivals, weddings and other events She runs a private restaurant and cooking school where she teaches Pakistani and Indian cooking.

At the moment she and her husband Alan are doing takeaways – as well as distributing food to people in their Walthamstow community vulnerable to Covid-19. They were vegan when we last met just a few weeks ago. Are they still? Check them out at Sham’s kitchen

Smoked Began Bharti

A creamy flame smoked aubergine dish with onions, chilli and coriander. Simple but deep
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Keyword: aubergine, curry, spice, vegan


  • 3 large aubergines
  • 4 large onions
  • 3 cloves  garlic  minced or crushed
  • 2 tsp  ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp  ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp   red chilli powder
  • 1 bunch   fresh coriander  roughly chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil I'm afraid I use extra virgin olive oil with everything - but you might prefer a more neutral tasting oil such as rapeseed / canola


Prepare the aubergines: You can do this in various ways

  • Place the aubergines directly over a gas flame - my personal wont
    smoked aubergines
  • Place over charcoal or a wood fire - for the best taste
  • Put into a very hot oven -
  • Turn the aubergines as necessary to get them evenly charred.
  • Place flame-roasted aubergines in a sandwich bag wrapped in a tea towel, letting them steam until cooked through. 45 minutes minutes is about right for me. The longer you leave them the smokier they'll taste. But be warned, they can taste too smoky and rather bitter if you leave them over-long
  • Simply rest oven-roasted aubergines until they are cool enough to handle
  • Peel away the skin, leaving bits of charred skin here and there and finely chop or mash the flesh with a fork. Set aside

Transform the onions: this stage is crucial to the flavour of the dish

  • While the aubergines are cooling gently sauté the onions in a a couple of tablespoons of any neutral-tasting oil. After 15 minutes add the garlic and a large pinch of salt. Continue cooking for further 10-15 minutes, splashing in a little water as necessary to stop them from burning. This step is crucial to the flavour of the dish. Don't lose patience. The final rich sweetness of the onions will blow your socks off. It really is worth it
    onions and spices for Indian food
  • You're on the home run: stir in the powdered spices and salt and sauté for a minute or two, stirring continuously
  • Add in the chopped aubergines, season with salt and warm through. Sprinkle on some chopped fresh coriander and serve
    smoked aubergine curry with roti and yoghurt raita
Bengali Spiced Aubergines With Onion

Bengali Spiced Aubergines With Onion

Complex and varied as Bengali cuisine is, two essential flavours stand out in its dishes: mustard and the unique five-spice blend panch-phoran

Whole or ground fennel, fenugreek, nigella, cumin and lovage (or sometimes black mustard) seeds are used at the beginning of cooking to season hot oil, in the middle for depth of flavour or towards the end for a fragrant top-note

This simple aubergine dish combines slow cooked onions, ginger and aubergines with five-spice, chilli and turmeric

To illustrate a point five-spice is first used whole to season the oil, then ground along with the other spices

Don’t be tempted to cut short the onions’ cooking time. This step transforms the sugars for a magic alchemy which your nose will surely thank you for

Bengali Five-Spiced Aubergines

Aubergines, onions and ginger are slow cooked with whole and ground Bengali five-spice, turmeric and chilli.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Bengali, Indian
Keyword: aubergine, bangali, indian, spice


  • 2 large aubergines cubed. I like to peel mine with a carrot peeler
  • 2-3 medium onions sliced
  • 1 inch piece ginger root pounded to a paste
  • 4 fresh plum tomatoes liquidized quartered and unpeeled in a blender - or you can use a tin of tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp whole panch phora (Indian 5-spice)
  • 1 tsp ground panch phora
  • 1/3 tsp ground turmeric root
  • red chilli powder to taste
  • salt to taste


  • Season the oil: add whole panch phora to oil just hot enough for the spices to sizzle and pop whithout burning
  • After a few seconds add the onions, coat them in the spiced oil and cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes
  • Add in the ginger paste and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes. Add a few drops of water every time the mixture looks dry or like it might burn
  • Add the cubed aubergines and toss for a couple of minutes, coating them with the spiced oil while you gently brown them - you may want to add a drop more oil
  • Add the puréed fresh or canned chopped tomatoes, ground panch-phora, chilli, turmeric and salt to taste
  • Bring to a boil then simmer, covered with a well-fitting lid, until the aubergines are tender but hold their shape (start checking after about 20 minutes). Add a little water as needed
  • Adjust the seasoning and garnish with chopped coriander or mint. Serve with your favourite flatbread and a lentil dish
Panch Phoran – Bengali Five-Spice

Panch Phoran – Bengali Five-Spice

An essential aroma in cooking from the Bengal in Northern India and Bangladesh this spice blend can be used whole or ground at different stages of cooking

Whole spices are used to season hot oil at the start of cooking. Whole or ground spices are added later to be either incorporated into the dish or to offer an aromatic top-note. Five spice also makes a fragrant rub for roasted vegetables (and meats too, I hear)

Panch Phoran

5 spices from India's Bengal
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: all
Cuisine: Bengali, Indian
Keyword: bengali, curry, indian, masala, spice-blends, spices


  • 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp lovage seeds (AKA wild celery seeds)
  • or black mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp nigella seeds (AKA black onion seeds)


  • Put the spices in a dry jar with a tight fitting lid and give them a good shake
  • That's it!