Recipes - Vegetarian

Eggplant & coconut curry with black cardamom

Black cardamom pods mainly come from India and Nepal where they’re dried over open flames. This produces their distinct smokey taste. I’ve seen it described as a ‘camp-fire’ like flavour. Since getting my hands on a small bag last year I’ve really only added them to Mexican based stews. Like my black cardamom beef. But this week I’ve found a new use for them – in this creamy curry. I’m sharing the recipe here as part of Fiesta Friday.

black cardamom beefFiesta Friday is a weekly gathering of wonderful cuisines from all over the world – it’s a welcoming foodie community; a place to share personal recipes and to be inspired by those from others. I’m very excited this week to be co-hosting alongside Su from Su’s Healthy Living. We’d love you to join in by linking your posts to Fiesta Friday and to the blogs of this week’s co-hosts (Feast Wisely and Su’s Healthy Kitchen). And don’t forget to tag ‘Fiesta Friday’. (You can check out the guidelines here).

Eggplant & coconut curry with black cardamomBack to this recipe. Finally a new creative use for those little black cardamom pods. I love this vegetarian and vegan curry for its superfood properties. It contain a generous dose of turmeric, ginger and garlic and is packed with powerful antioxidants thanks to the ‘anthocyanins’ in the eggplant (or aubergine).

Anthocyanins have had lots of attention in health circles recently – these amazing phytochemicals give purple fruits and vegetables their vibrant colour and they play a role in protecting against cell damage. Since hearing about them I’m super conscious about getting purple fixes – not just from eggplants but also from beetroot, purple carrots and red cabbage.

Roasted eggplant curry & coconut curry with black cardamom

I found this recipe at The Bojon Gourmet, in a post from Alanna who talked about her love of eggplants. I made a few adaptations, like using full sized eggplants instead of finger ones, adding some peas and blending the onion, garlic & ginger into a paste. But overall I followed Alanna’s recipe. And I have to agree with her that this is one of those curries that tastes even better the next day…….


  • 2 large eggplants (around 1 kg)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (or ghee)
  • 2 brown onions
  • 5 black cardamom pods
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 400g canned tomatoes
  • 400ml full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 ts dried chilli flakes or powder (or whatever chilli you have to hand)
  • Fresh coriander leaves (to serve)


  1. Chop each eggplant into bite size chunks. Lay the chunks on a baking tray and sprinkle them with salt.
  2. Leave for 30 minutes or so for the salt to draw out the moisture. This works to remove any bitterness.
  3. Then rinse, drain and dry the eggplant before adding it to a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes to roast.
  4. Roughly chop the onion, ginger and garlic and puree into a paste in a hand blender.
  5. Heat the oil or ghee in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the paste and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Crack open the black cardamom pods and add the seeds and pod shells to the pan alongside the chilli.
  7. Crack open the green cardamom pods and add the seeds to a pestle and mortar with the coriander seeds and peppercorns. Ground to a fine spice powder.
  8. Add the spice powder and turmeric to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until aromatic.
  9. Then add the coconut milk, tomatoes and water. Bring to a simmer.
  10. Return the roasted eggplant to the pan and simmer for 20-30 minutes to reduce the sauce.


  • If you have time (like I did) simmer the base sauce for an extra 30-60 minutes before adding the eggplant and finishing with step 10.
  • Consider throwing in other vegetables as well – I included peas and roasted sweet potatoes.
  • Don’t forgot about the black cardamom shells. Remove them as you serve if possible they don’t taste so good whole.

Eggplant & coconut curry with black cardamomLaura (Feast Wisely)

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26 thoughts on “Eggplant & coconut curry with black cardamom

  1. Curry dishes make me happy! It is such a great spice. This looks yummy!
    Thanks for co-hosting this week!

  2. Eggplant is a wonderful vegetable! Cooked right it is absolutely delicious and this looks great! Thank you for co hosting Fiesta Friday and have a lovely weekend 🙂

  3. Laura, I see that you love Indian food!! What a coincidence that not only did we both bring Indian curries to Fiesta Friday, we both brought coconut-based curries! I was right that we think alike! Love your aubergine curry. I am definitely going to try your version.If you want it to be vegan, use coconut oil and not ghee as ghee is nothing but clarified butter. Now, lets go and mingle with our guests!

    • Hi Su – I’ll check out your recipe very shortly but yes looks like it’s true – great minds think alike! And yes I included ghee as an option but aware this would make it vegetarian but not vegan 😄

  4. Laura,
    I love eggplant and now when I read about its health benefits, I have even more reason to get them! I need my purple fix too 🙂
    The curry looks scrumptious! I am so happy that I am following your blog!

  5. Pingback: Southern Indian Vegan Curry with Coconut & Chickpeas | Feast Wisely

  6. Pingback: Crowd pleaser curry sauce (vegetarian/vegan) | Feast Wisely

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