Hyderabad-style spicy and sour aubergines

June 26, 2008

I rushed out of work with colleagues to catch the new Richard Rogers exhibition. Culture out of the way, we made our way towards bottles of viognier by the sunny Thames.

A few glasses, pizzas and hours of heavy screeching later, I arrived back at home to find a husband prostrate with exhaustion from taking courier delivery of my new red coat dress. And a web browser problem interfering with a client’s urgent press release.

Feeling weary, and a little worse for wear, I flung open the fridge door looking for more vino. And they stared right back at me. Two medium large aubergines/eggplants. Leftover from last dinner party. Distinctly changing colour.

Blast. Is it just me or is summer affecting everything?

The next morning, I decided on a Hyderabad-style spicy and sour baingan. I had pretty much all of the long list of ingredients, including the peanuts I ingeniously fished out of a pack of Bombay Mix. But you could just as easily omit some of the ingredients bar the peanuts, tamarind and aubergine of course.

It was a tangy feast in a frying pan. Perfect to nibble ahead another day of champagne in the sun, meetings and greetings. And even better frozen for an imminent quiet night in.



Feeds 4:

  • 2 medium aubergines/eggplants
  • 1 small onion
  • 30 peanuts
  • 1 tsp each of fenugreek, cumin and nigella seeds
  • Half tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp each of chilli, cumin and coriander powders
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 chopped green chillies
  • 2 sprigs of fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste


Slice the aubergine into two cm thick discs, cut into eight bite-sized pieces and then soak in salted cold water. This will prevent them from soaking oil up as they cook.

In a large frying pan or pot, bring the oil to heat over a high flame. When hot, add the sugar and whole spices. As they start spluttering and the sugar melts, stir in the onion and ginger/garlic paste and fry for five minutes until they turn golden brown.

Now add the powdered spices and fry for another two minutes, adding water to prevent the spices from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When the pungent smell of the masalas go, stir in half a cup of hot water and cook the onions mashing them so they lose their shape until the water evaporates.

Smash up the peanuts and mix them in too along with the drained, sliced aubergines. Stir it all well and cook covered on a medium flame with about two tablespoons of water at a time until the aubergines are limp.

Now, mix in the tamarind paste, salt to taste, chopped green chillies and fresh coriander. Serve hot as a side dish to rice or simply with yogurt and some pitta bread.



15 Responses to “Hyderabad-style spicy and sour aubergines”

  1. Asha Says:

    June 26th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Add a tbsp of sesame seeds too next time, looks great. I love Eggplants dishes in any form!:))

  2. Wendy Says:

    June 26th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I have an aubergine. Had plans for it but they’ll have to wait as I want to eat this.

    Very jealous that it’s warm enough for you to drink outside. It be as well be March here.
    >:( Will just drink inside then.

  3. JennDZ_The LeftoverQ Says:

    June 26th, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    I just love eggplants! This sounds like a fabulous dish. Hope things have calmed down a bit for you!

  4. Bharti Says:

    June 26th, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I belong to the “non-baigan” bandwagon. The masala sounds delicious though. I could try it with another veggie perhaps?

  5. sra Says:

    June 27th, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Ah, so you’re one of those who fish out the peanuts? So am I, peanuts and cashews too!

  6. kristi Says:

    June 27th, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Mallika, thanks for the great eggplant recipes. I adore eggplants, and thanks for giving me a chance to use my fenugreek seeds! You are truly my new foodie heroine. Definitely I will buy the wine if I’m ever in London…thanks for stopping by my blog!

  7. Deepa Says:

    June 27th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    I LOVE your catchy titles!! “Decadent sweets for unconventional people”, if memory serves me right. You clearly have a way with words.

    So do you get all the brandnames in London, that we do in the U.S? So if I said “Baked Lays”, you’d not bat an eyelid? WHat about “Kashi cereal”. Anyway, Kashi (amazingly healthy brand) has now branched into a mediterranean pizza, which is so exciting to me. Hope you get it there, because I really think you’d enjoy it. –Deepa

  8. lee Says:

    June 28th, 2008 at 3:52 am

    I’m allergic to peanuts, and most other nuts. What should I use instead? I quite like garden peas with aubergine.

  9. Deepa Says:

    June 28th, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Lee: If you’re allergic to peanuts, try sunbutter (it’s a brandname). Or even soy butter. These taste like ground peanuts. Look at for info/support, as well. –Deepa

  10. Mallika Says:

    June 28th, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Thanks Deepa for helping the lovely Lee. If you can’t be bothered Lee, just leave out the peanuts, go forth and conquer. This will taste just as god, trust me. And why not add some peas while you’re at it… M x

  11. usha Says:

    June 29th, 2008 at 6:41 am

    firsttime visiting your blog.very nice recipe keep it up.

  12. RedChillies Says:

    June 29th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Mallika, love and enjoy your writing.
    “ROFL, for husband prostrating with exhaustion”.

    I am so used to hearing eggplant or brinjal that I have to remind myself that aubergine is not an exotic vegetable. I liked your variation of this.

  13. Dee Says:

    June 29th, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Im glad , that only my husband doesnt have those charecterstics :) . Its great to know that they have a partner in such thing!!! Im an out and out aubergine lover mallika , I belong to a hyderabadi family who thinks that life is worthless without them!!

  14. arundati Says:

    July 1st, 2008 at 9:08 am

    i belong to the “love baingan” squad…..this looks like something that will be versatile with rice, rotis and even between two slices of bread!!i blend in all the ingredients except the brinjals, cook the gravy and then drop in the sauteed pieces of brinjal to simmer!!

  15. Quick Indian Cooking » Saag Paneer on the road to perfection Says:

    July 25th, 2008 at 3:27 am

    […] drained and shoved the sliced aubergines into the grill. The lamb curry was still partly frozen. Nowhere near ready to be reheated. Then my […]

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