Eat Well ∼ Move Well

Love Aubergine 1: Brinjal Curry

Fruit and vegetables from the nightshade family are highly nutritious staple foods for many people around the globe

Nightshades include potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos and all members of the chili family, including bell peppers, which are simply chilies that have lost their heat (Spanish: morrón)

Perhaps because of their association with Mediterranean vegetables courgettes or zucchini are sometimes taken for nightshades, but take note: zucchini are not nightshades

Neither are sweet potatoes (ipomea batatas) which are related to the morning glories and not at all to the potato


Do Aubergines Provoke Inflammation?

Nightshades contain the compound solanine which some believe exacerbates inflammation and should be avoided if you suffer from any kind of inflammatory arthritis

While a lack of evidence is not evidence of lack, there is nonetheless no evidence that solanine or indeed any other component of nightshades increase inflammation

The US arthritis foundation certainly takes this view, recommending foods that positively reduce inflammation rather than avoiding those that likely don’t aggravate it in the first place

As always, you’ll want to go with your own experience

Essential Nutrients In Aubergines

Aubergines are an excellent source of vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. The latter is essential for healthy cardiac function

Other minerals found in healthy quantities include copper, magnesium and manganese

Bengali Brinjal Curry

Complex and varied as they are two essential flavours stand out in Bengali 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, chili 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


brinjal curry: aubergine with panch-phora

Bengali Five-Spiced Aubergines

Aubergines, onions and ginger are slow cooked with whole and ground Bengali five-spice, turmeric and chilli.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian, Bengali, Indian


  • 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 phoran (Indian 5-spice)
  • 1 tsp ground panch phoran
  • 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
Keyword aubergine, bangali, indian, spice