Eggplant and Chickpea Curry – Vegan

Eggplant & Chickpea Curry - she cooks, she gardens

This dish was a bit ofย  a happy accident. I’ve started picking eggplants off the small bush in the front yard and so finding things to do with them has become a bit of a focus, it’s not a challenge that is at all worth complaining about, but the sense of worry and anticipation I feel each time I eye off the luscious beauties sitting on the counter in the kitchen is enough to make me a little crazy. I hate to waste food at the best of times, but wasting food that I have grown myself seems almost unforgivable. I received a great little preserving book for Christmas from one of my friends in our preserving group (Hi Kelly!) and had been eyeing off the eggplant pickle recipe since the first of my beauties started to set fruit. Though my shelves are now starting to groan under the weight of the growing number of jarred wonders, this seemed like a great way to make use of my bounty with enough leftover to share with friends and family.

So I set about creating the pickle according to the recipe (with a few little changes) but in doing so, committed the cardinal sin of home-cooking – I forgot to read the recipe from start to finish BEFORE I started cooking. I got within the final steps of pickling, the hot jars in the dishwasher ready to be filled when I realised I didn’t have the key ingredient – white wine vinegar. The horror! What to do with a big pot of pickle when the shops are closed? A moment of quick thinking yielded a gorgeously fragrant curry that I’ve been enjoying for lunch this past week. It makes enough to freeze into batches, ready for re-heating at work for a gorgeous gourmet lunch. We’ve been enjoying some unseasonably cool weather here in Adelaide the last week or so, so this dish seemed like the perfect meal to serve to warm from the inside out. I served it with a drizzle of plain yoghurt on a bed of brown rice.

Eggplant & Chickpea Curry

Salting the eggplant prior to cooking may seem like an unnecessary step but I do believe it is worth the effort, especially when dealing with heirlooms or unusual varieties. It really helps to drain out any of the bitterness that is sometimes associated with eggplant, especially in between the skin and flesh. It also helps to soften the skin to avoid any unpleasant chewiness in your curry. Many of the modern hybrid eggplant varieties have had the bitterness bred out of them but I still find that without salting the skin stays a little too firm for my liking, leaving you with that unpleasantly soft flesh and tough skin. If you’re anti-salt then I would suggest peeling your eggplants before use as a reasonable compromise.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Eggplant & Chickpea Curry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A gorgeous, fragrant eggplant and chickpea curry that makes the most of the summer bounty.
Recipe type: Vegan
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
  • 800g eggplants - about 4-5 small-medium sized eggplants, cut into small cubes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tspn minced ginger
  • 2 red chillies, seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbspn coconut oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbspn ground cumin
  • 1 tspn fennel seeds
  • 1 tbspn ground coriander
  • ½ tspn ground turmeric
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaping tspn almond meal (*optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Brown rice & Plain Yogurt (or non-dairy alternative) to serve
  1. Prepare the eggplant and then pop it in a colander, set over the sink or a bowl and sprinkle with a couple of tspns of salt. Mix well with your hands to ensure even coverage. Allow to drain for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Rinse the eggplant under cool water and then pat dry with some paper towel.
  3. Combine the garlic, ginger and chillies in a mortar and pestle and work into a paste.
  4. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat in a deep, heavy based pan.
  5. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes until soft and fragrant.
  6. Add the garlic paste, followed by the spices and cook for another couple of minutes.
  7. Add the eggplant to the pot, stir to coat well in the spice mixture, reduce the heat by half and pop the lid on to allow the eggplant to soften - about 10 minutes.
  8. Stir and add the chickpeas, tomatoes and coconut milk.
  9. Allow to cook for another 20 minutes or so with the lid off until the curry starts to thicken and the oils in the coconut milk begin to separate.
  10. Add the almond meal if you'd prefer a thicker gravy.
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  12. Serve on a bed of brown rice, drizzled with a little plain yogurt .


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