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The Curry House Cookbook

aubergine bhajee
recipe version 1.1
version 2.0 is now available
see The Curry House Cookery Book


Vegetable bhajees are cooked with very little sauce (but not to be confused with the ubiquitous Onion Bhaji which is deep fried). The sauce and spices coat the pieces of vegetable and so a bhajee would complement well a main dish which has plenty of sauce. Remember to get your nose in the pot when the seeds are frying. The smell is intoxicating!


  • 1 large aubergine (eggplant)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • half a medium onion - finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger - peeled and chopped
  • 1 fat clove of garlic - finely chopped
  • fresh green chillies - de-seeded and veined - then chopped. The quantity is up to you but I use 2 of the fleshy chillies you get in supermarkets
  • half teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • half teaspoon fennel seeds
  • half teaspoon kalonjii (wild onion seeds)
  • half teaspoon turmeric
  • half teaspoon ground cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon tomato purée
  • salt to taste
  1. Slice the aubergine across ways in 3/4 inch slices then cut each slice into 4 so you end up with wedges of aubergine.
  2. Put the aubergine wedges in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt. Place a saucer on top, put a weight on it and leave for 30 minutes
  3. Heat HALF the oil in a large heavy pan then add the chopped onion and stir for a few minutes with the heat on high
  4. Add the mustard, fennel and kalonjii seeds, stir a little then turn the heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes
  5. IMPORTANT!! put your nose into the pan NOW and sniff deeply. The smell is amazing!
  6. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies, stir and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat stirring now and again to make sure nothing browns or burns
  7. Add the turmeric and cumin and fry gently for a minute
  8. Add enough hot water to make a fluid mixture
  9. Add the tomato purée and blend in. Let the sauce cook gently while you attend to the aubergine. But don't let the sauce go dry.
  10. In a large heavy frying pan heat the other half of the oil over a moderate heat. Add the aubegine wedges and stir fry until the wedges are coated with oil. Then turn the heat to low and fry, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes until they have taken on a brown speckled colour.
  11. Take the aubergine pieces out of the pan and place on kitchen paper to absorb some of the oil. Then put them into the pan and stir round to cover them with the sauce.
  12. Cook gently until the aubergine is cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). Stir from time to time but VERY gently with a metal spoon so as not to break up the aubergine pieces. Add a small amount of hot water if the mixture gets too dry. Serve.

©David Smith 1996-2004

© 1996 - 2004 David W Smith
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