Brinjal curry, an everyday Indian dish made with eggplants, onions, tomatoes, herbs and spices. This one pot comforting curry is quick to make under 25 mins & is packed with delicious flavors. In India, brinjal curry is made in so many ways. Apart from this simplest recipe, I have also shared a few stuffed eggplant curry recipes like gutti vanakaya, bharwa baingan and Hyderabadi bagara baingan.
But all of them do take some time, as the nuts and seeds are roasted, cooled and then ground. So this simple brinjal curry comes to rescue when you are longing for something quick and simple. You can also easily make variations to the basic recipe I have shared here.
For a simple Indian meal, serve it over rice or with any Indian flatbreads of your choice like roti or parathas.
Brinjal also known as aubergine or eggplant is a widely used vegetable in Indian cuisine. It is a low calorie veggie that has some nutrients like iron and minerals. It is widely used to make curry, sambar, chutney, stir fry and bharta. If you love eggplants you will love this collection of brinjal recipes.
Eggplants come in different varieties, sizes and colors. The flavor, texture and taste of your brinjal curry depends on the kind used. Every variety has a different texture & taste.
While the larger varieties have a spongy texture and won’t dissolve in the curry easily. The smaller variety are more tender so they cook up to softer and mushy texture quickly. This gives a thicker curry & the brinjal soaks up all the flavors quickly.
In South India, smaller varieties are more commonly used for curry. These taste buttery and are more flavorful after cooking. These come in 2 colors – purple and green. However any kind of brinjals can be used but tender brinjal with no seeds or lesser seeds taste best. Here is the picture of the kind of brinjals I have used.
My recipe will help you make a simple South Indian style vankaya curry. Read my tips section for variations.
Preparation for eggplant
1. Chop 1 large or 2 medium onions, 1 large or 2 medium tomatoes and 1 green chili. I prefer to deseed the tomatoes for this curry. If you want you can also puree them in a blender. We will need ¾ to 1 cup onions and ¾ to 1 tomatoes.
2. Wash and cube 250 grams of brinjals. Immerse them in a bowl of water to prevent bitter taste and discoloring. I usually add ¼ tsp of salt to the water as it prevents the veggie from turning bitter. But if left long, brinjal will absorb the salt. So do it just before using them.
How to make brinjal curry
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pot. Add ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds and ½ cumin seeds. When they begin to splutter add 1 sprig curry leaves. Fry for a minute.
4. Then add onions and fry until golden or transparent.
5. Next fry 1 teaspoon ginger garlic, just until a nice aroma comes out.
6. Then add tomatoes and sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt. Fry for about 2 mins and then cook covered until the tomatoes turn mushy.
7. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala and 1/8 teaspoon turmeric. You can add all of these to suit your taste.
8. Saute until the raw smell of chili powder goes away. The masala turns aromatic at this stage.
9. Remove the brinjal cubes from water and add to the pot.
10. Saute them for 3 mins on a medium heat.
11. Pour half cup water. If you prefer a dry brinjal curry then reduce the water. Add as and when needed while you cook.
12. Mix and cook covered on a low flame.
13. When the brinjal is cooked, you will notice the skin turns loose or wilted depending on the kind of eggplants used. It turns soft too.
14. Taste test and add more salt if needed. You want you can simmer this longer until the eggplants turn mushy. Optional – Pour ¼ cup thick coconut milk and stir well. When the brinjal curry begins to bubble turn off the heat. Sprinkle coriander leaves if you have.
Serve brinjal curry with rice or roti, chapati.
- Buy fresh young brinjals from fresh/ framers market. Use them up as early as possible as newly picked ones are rarely bitter. The longer they sit in the supermarkets or in fridge, they are more likely to taste bitter.
- Choose small to medium sized young eggplants as they have lesser seeds. If you still find seeds, then remove them as they store the bitter taste in them.
- Add the chopped brinjals to salted water as this prevents them from discolouring and turning bitter. If you find any seeds, remove them first and then add to salted water.
- Do not leave the cut brinjals uncooked too long. I always chop them while the onions are sautéed so they don’t sit on the counter for longer.
- Cut eggplants soak up salt if you leave them for too long in the water. So add salt with caution while you cook.
Variations of eggplant curry
- This recipe uses minimal amount of spices. Traditional Indian dishes are lighter in the usage of spices, keeping the flavor of vegetables intact, so does this recipe. You may adjust the spices to your taste. You may use more garam masala, curry powder or even sambar powder if you prefer.
- This recipe gives you a moderate amount of gravy. For more gravy, you may add ¼ cup of thick coconut milk at the last step before turning off the stove. For a dry curry, add lesser water and evaporate most of the liquid.
- My mom would always make brinjal curry with green peas as they impart a sweeter tone to the curry. You can use ¾ cup fresh or frozen green peas. To use fresh peas, add them when the brinjals are half cooked. If using frozen, add them towards the end, 2 mins before turning off the stove.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 250 grams brinjal (young fresh eggplants)
- 2 tbsp oil
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (Jeera)
- 1 sprig curry leaves (skip if you don’t have)
- ¾ to 1 cup onions chopped finely (1 large or 2 medium)
- 1 green chili (chopped or slit)
- ¾ to 1 cup tomato chopped or pureed (1 large or 2 medium)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste or fine chopped garlic
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
- ⅓ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala (or curry powder as needed, adjust to taste)
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped (optional)
- To make brinjal curry, first add oil to a pan and heat it. Next add mustard & cumin seeds.
- When they begin to pop, add the curry leaves. Fry for about a minute.
- Then add onions and green chili. Saute them stirring occasionally until they turn golden.
- While the onions fry, rinse and cube brinjals. If you find any seeds, cut them up and discard.
- Keep them immersed in a bowl of water with ¼ tsp salt. This prevents discoloring & avoids bitter taste in the eggplants.
- When the onions turn golden, add ginger garlic and saute until the raw smell goes off. This takes about 40 to 60 seconds.
- Then add tomatoes and salt. Fry for 2 mins. Cook covered until the tomatoes turn soft & mushy.
- Then add red chilli powder, turmeric and garam masala. Saute until the masala turns fragrant.
- Drain the water and add chopped brinjal to the pan. Saute for 2 to 3 mins on a medium flame.
- Pour half cup water. Cover and cook till the brinjals turns soft and tender. If you prefer a dry curry then reduce the water.
- Simmer till the brinjal curry becomes thick & slightly mushy. Taste test and add more salt, red chilli powder or garam masala if needed.
- For a gravy curry, add thick coconut milk and simmer for a minute.
- When the curry begins to bubble, turn off the heat and sprinkle coriander leaves.
- Serve brinjal curry with rice, roti or any flatbreads.
- To avoid bitter taste, use fresh and young eggplants with no or lesser seeds.
Immersing chopped eggplants in salted water prevents them from turning bitter and darker. However if left too long, they soak up the salt as well. So adjust the amount of salt in your curry accordingly.
- Use good flavorful garam masala or curry powder. Every spice powder is different. If your curry does not turn flavorful, it is because of the spice powder. So add more to suit your taste.
- You can also use sambar powder, curry powder or pav bhaji masala as a substitute to garam masala.
- Add upto ¾ cup green peas or 1 medium potato diced to 1 inch cubes for variation.
- For a more flavorful gravy, use ¼ cup thick coconut milk at the last step and simmer just for a minute.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Recipe first published in November 2015. Updated and republished in March 2021.