This easy eggplant curry recipe is healthy, flavour packed and a terrific Indian curry dish — with all of the cooking taking place in one pan. Also known as brinjal curry, cubes of eggplant (aubergine, for some!) and potatoes simmer in a thick and spicy tomato sauce to create this nourishing vegan curry. The recipe is gluten free, and it isn’t drenched in oil either.

perspective shot of a wok of cooked vegetables on a yellow mat with ramekins in the background.

As a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, I always get excited about healthy Indian recipes that are flavorful and satisfying. Indian eggplant curry is one of those recipes! It’s a great option for folks looking for a hearty nutritious vegan meal. I’ve taken a deeper dive into eggplant nutrition and the health benefits below.

If you’re an eggplant enthusiast, like me, baingan bharta and eggplant and chickpeas wraps are definitely recipes you’ll want to add to your dinner rotation. Just like this Indian eggplant dish, these recipes are also:

  • Nutritious
  • Flavorful
  • Satisfying
  • Vegan

What is eggplant curry?

Eggplant curry (also known as brinjal curry) is an Indian dish. Desi (South Asian) food, like other international cuisines, is quite distinctive to the region and country. As a result, eggplant curry varies depending on the spice combination, herbs, and cooking methods native to the region.

The word “curry” is derived from the Tamil word Kari, which means sauce. In Northern Indian cuisine (which includes Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan), curries are frequently water-based and sometimes include dairy and coconut milk. Some of the finest examples of Indian recipes include tandoori chicken, samosas, matar paneer, butter chicken and more.

Regional curry variations

Most northern Indian curries (for example Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab) are thick, richly spiced, fiery and spicy.

However, South Indian cuisine (for example, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala) is largely vegetarian — with some non-vegetarian dishes as well. Dosa, appam, idli, sambar, and legume-based stews like Daal are all distinctive to these areas.

Coupled with this, the consumption of dairy products is widespread; spiced buttermilk, for example, is consumed with rice dishes. Indian pantry staples, like essential spices, are also a key feature; curry leaves, mustard seeds, cinnamon and tamarind are just a few of the many flavour enhancers utilized in South Indian cuisine.

What I love most about this recipe

It has to be the eggplant-spuds combo. I’m a sucker for potatoes in a curry! Their softness adds warmth and makes for the most delectable eggplant curry. You may easily modify the recipe to your liking and use fewer potatoes — though I couldn’t imagine this dish without them. 🙂

What are the main ingredients in a Brinjal Curry?

a silver round tray with an array of spices and food ingredients styled with a lilac scarf and flowers.
  • Eggplant: I used Asian eggplants (the long and thin type with the skin on), which I sliced into medium pieces. That’s because the skin holds the pieces together during cooking, preventing them from falling apart.
  • Mustard seeds: these are readily available in the international aisles of supermarkets as well as Asian stores. When mustard seeds are heated in hot oil, they pop, crackle, and emit a pungent aroma. Because of this, a little amount is enough to give a zing to your curries. In fact, my medium box of mustard seeds lasts over 6 months, and the seeds have made a decent appearance in my desi creations: Chickpea Kale Curry and Handvo are a few of our favourite easy Indian dinner recipes. 
  • Coriander seeds: it’s best to use the whole seeds rather than the powder. For one thing, the taste is far better because they are intensely aromatic. And, it truly does make a difference!
  • Curry powder: a good quality curry powder will make or break a curry. For example, Madras curry powder works well, although you could use fresh or dried curry leaves and temper them with mustard seeds. This, too, will bring a mouthwatering flavour profile to your eggplant curry.
  • Turmeric: brings such a beautiful hue to the curry – along with health benefits.
  • Chillies: fresh green hot chillies are a must to spice up the curry.
  • Tomato sauce: The secret to this beautiful, thick consistency is a rich couli-style tomato sauce. In the case where the tomato sauce is too runny, your curry will end up being watery. Indeed, the eggplant and potatoes will be mushy.
  • Garlic: freshly grated from fresh cloves work their magic in this recipe.
  • Cinnamon sticks: add an earthy sweetness to the dish.
  • Bay leaf: for added flavour.
  • Garam masala: is the perfect garnish spice to complete the dish.
  • Lemon: a generous squeeze helps to cut down on the amount of salt needed to create a heart healthy and diabetes diet friendly recipe.
  • Cilantro: for beautiful freshness and deliciousness. If you can opt for the freshest bunch of cilantro you can find. And feel free to use the stems. These are especially fragrant.

How to make eggplant curry – step by step

Below, you’ll find a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make Indian eggplant curry. Honestly, it’s not difficult at all, especially if you have all of your ingredients chopped and ready to go.

  1. First, prepare the vegetables – cut them into medium pieces (Step 1).
  2. To enhance the flavour of your curry, temper the garlic and whole spices in hot oil (Step 2).
  3. Next, add the tomato passata, powdered spices, salt and green chillies to the pan. To prevent spluttering, I keep the heat low at this stage (Step 3).
  4. Then, simmer on low heat for 1-2 minutes. When the oil begins to separate and appear on the surface of the sauce, it’s time to add the eggplant, potatoes and water. Of course, stir well to coat all the pieces (Step 4).
  5. As soon as the curry simmers, cover and cook on low-medium heat for 15 minutes or until the eggplant and potatoes are cooked through (Step 5). Don’t forget to check in halfway to be sure the curry isn’t sticking to the bottom of your pan. Be sure to stir gently so as not to break up the eggplant potato pieces.
  6. Lastly, finish by garnishing with lemon juice, garam masala and fresh cilantro (Step 6).

Granted that roti, naan, or paratha (Indian flatbread) is an epic combination with this eggplant curry. But, it’s also particularly delightful with quinoa – alongside my 15-minute easy salad recipe.

You can find the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions in the recipe card below.

close up shot of a wok of cooked vegetables with a slice of lemon.

Tips

  • To ensure uniform cooking, cut the eggplant and potatoes into similar sizes.
  • Use golden heart, yellow flesh or baby potatoes because the type of potato does make a difference.
  • The fresher the coriander the better which helps to intensify the flavour of your eggplant curry.
  • Try and opt for coriander seeds and crush them into powder. This is a game-changer when it comes to flavour.
  • Add more or fewer potatoes to suit your individual needs.
  • You can also adjust the heat of this curry by increasing or decreasing the number of green chillies.

Storage and variations

Eggplant curry leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this dish because the potatoes can become mushy.

To change up the flavour, try adding different vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini or peas. You could also add paneer cheese for a delicious Indian vegetarian curry that everyone will love!

Desi curry recipe nutrition highlights

  • Uses less oil without compromising on flavour
  • Wholesome plant-powered ingredients
  • Less salt —yet an abundance of flavour

One serving* of this Indian eggplant curry is:

  • An excellent source of fibre (80% DV)
  • A top class source of vitamin C (almost 250% DV)
  • A superior source of iron (83% DV)
  • A rich source of vitamin A (37% DV)
  • A stellar source of calcium (almost 50% DV)
  • An excellent source of potassium (83% DV)
  • 44 grams of net carbs (for folks counting carbs for diabetes management)
  • Reduced in fat (10% DV)
  • Low in saturated fat (5% DV)

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet.

wok of cooked vegetables topped with a lemon slice and cilantro leaves on a yellow place mat styled around ramekins of spices.

Is Brinjal good for health?

Eggplant is a low-calorie, low-glycemic index (GI: 30-39) vegetable. Raw eggplant has around 25 calories and just under 6 grams of carbohydrates in a 100-gram serving, half of which is dietary fibre.

Eggplant is also a source of many vitamins and minerals, like manganese (needed for healthy bones), potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B12, and magnesium.

What’s more, eggplants’ skin, has a number of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been found to combat heart disease and various forms of cancer. Generally speaking, antioxidants also play an important part in maintaining good health.

Anthocyanins are a type of phytonutrients which are natural compounds found in plant foods that have a range of health benefits. For example, they are thought to help protect against chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases.

Eggplant, according to one recent review, helps with blood sugar control and therefore type 2 diabetes management by virtue of its antioxidant qualities. Eggplant is also shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Whether you’re looking for a delicious Indian vegan recipe or simply want to try something new, I hope you’ll give this Brinjal curry a go.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy eggplant? Share in the comment section below!

wok of cooked vegetables topped with a lemon slice and cilantro leaves on a yellow place mat styled with a lilac scarf and flowers

If you try this easy vegan curry recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos. 

Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi

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close up shot of a wok of cooked vegetables with a slice of lemon on a mat with ramekins and flowers in the background.
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Get the Recipe:

30-Minute Indian Eggplant Curry (Brinjal Curry)

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Yield: 4 people
This easy eggplant curry recipe is healthy, flavour packed and a terrific Indian curry dish — with all of the cooking taking place in one pot. Also known as brinjal curry, cubes of eggplant (aubergine, for some!) and potatoes simmer in a thick and spicy tomato sauce to create this nourishing vegan curry. Recipe is gluten free, and it isn't drenched in oil either

Ingredients
 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin, Benefits of olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp garlic, fresh cloves, grated
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, small, Indian variety
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup tomato passata, thick coulis style
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, processed into powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 green chillies, washed, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp salt, sea salt
  • 3 eggplant, Asian long and thin variety, washed, cut into medium pieces
  • 2 potatoes, medium, golden heart or yellow flesh, washed, cut into medium pieces
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ cup coriander, fresh, packed cup, washed, finely chopped for garnish
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large pan and add oil, mustard seeds, garlic, cinnamon sticks and bay leaf. Temper the whole spices along with the garlic on low heat until the spices and garlic release their aroma
  • Next, add the tomato passata, curry powder, turmeric coriander powder, salt and green chillies to the pan. To prevent spluttering, keep the heat low at this stage. Simmer on low heat for 1-2 minutes
  • When the oil begins to separate and appear on the surface of the sauce, add eggplant, potatoes and water. Stir well to coat all the pieces, and simmer on low-medium heat for 15 minutes (covered) or until the eggplant and potatoes are cooked through. Don't forget to check in halfway to be sure the curry isn't sticking to the bottom of your pan. Stir gently so as not to break up the eggplant potato pieces
  • Garnish with lemon juice, garam masala and fresh cilantro

Notes

  • To ensure uniform cooking, cut the eggplant and potatoes similar sizes.
  • Use golden heart, yellow flesh or baby potatoes because the type of potato does make a difference.
  • The fresher the coriander the better to intensify the flavour of your eggplant curry.
  • Try and opt for coriander seeds and crush them into powder. This is a game-changer when it comes to flavour.
  • Add more or fewer potatoes to suit your individual needs.
  • Adjust the heat of this curry by increasing or decreasing the number of green chillies.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 332kcal (17%)Carbohydrates: 64g (21%)Protein: 14g (28%)Fat: 6g (9%)Saturated Fat: 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 677mg (28%)Potassium: 2919mg (83%)Fiber: 20g (80%)Sugar: 20g (22%)Vitamin A: 1829IU (37%)Vitamin C: 204mg (247%)Calcium: 460mg (46%)Iron: 15mg (83%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: Desi, Indian
Course: Main
Did you make this recipe?Mention @desiliciousrd on Instagram or tag #desiliciousrd.