• Tina Brand

Nana's Eggplant Curry

Originally posted on January 11, 2015

Happy 2015!  How special to have had Christmas with both you girls home.  I loved the hand made theme of presents SO MUCH! You two are such creative souls ; from hand sewn donuts (don’t ask, readers!) to scented chocolates, intricate necklaces and boxes of spicy chai, and the worlds best Martha Stewart gingerbread to even a coconut and coffee scrub! Too clever by half!

Extended lazy days, and very late nights, music playing, long conversations, friends dropping by, endless cups of tea, and shared cooking. My idea of holidays at home. Thank you both for being here and making it so memorable.

A while ago when we had a lovely family over for lunch, I made an eggplant dish which is reminiscent of one your Nanna cooks. Let’s just say it is one of those dishes which lingers in your memory. Sweet and sour, and thick and yummy. I promised to send this family the recipe, but had to make the dish again to record carefully all the ingredients and steps which I’ve never written down before.

Now, I’ll admit that this does not fit the category of recipes I usually send you girls. Namely: straightforward to make, quick and relatively healthy. Somehow though, I know you’ll both get around to making this yourselves despite the fairly long winded process because you know just how worth while it is.  Nanna serves this eggplant dish with rice and meat dishes, but always has a fresh cucumber sambal or raitha too. When our friends came to lunch, I served it alongside Ottogenhi’s pasta with yogurt and pea sauce. Unusual, but it somehow worked itself out to be a fantastic combination.

Eggplant Curry

  • 4 firm and large purple eggplants

  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste

  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 tub tomato paste (280 g)

  • 1 cup of water

  • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves if you have it

  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

  • 1 large onion

  • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger

  • six cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Chop up eggplants into medium size pieces.

  2. Set oven to 360 degrees F or 180 degrees C.

  3. Mix the chopped eggplant thoroughly with the turmeric, salt and 1 tablespoon of oil and lay on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper. Pop the tray into the hot oven.

  4. Meanwhile, mix together the tamarind paste, the chilli powder, white vinegar, sugar and tomato paste with a cup of water. Set aside.

  5. When the eggplant is golden after about 20 to 30 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

  6. Heat a heavy based pot on the stove with two tablespoons of oil.

  7. Throw in the curry leaves and mustard seeds.

  8. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the cumin seeds, onion, ginger and garlic and stir.

  9. Add the eggplant and toss around in the heat.

  10. Now add the prepared sauce and stir well.

  11. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for half an hour, stirring occasionally.

  12. Adjust seasoning according to your taste: more vinegar for sourness, more sugar for sweetness, salt and pepper. And of course more chilli powder for heat.

  13. The end result should be a yummy, thick consistency, not a runny sauce and the eggplant should be very tender