Recipes - Vegetarian

Eggplant Rogan Josh Curry

There’s nothing more satisfying than creating a vegetarian version of a meat based dish. Especially when it tastes as good as, or even better than, when meat is involved. This classic rogan josh curry is a great example.

Having been raised a ‘Yorkshire las’ in the UK it’s perhaps not surprising that my favourite childhood feast was a Sunday roast with Yorkshire Puddings and other trimmings. But coming in a close second, even from an early age, was a good curry with rice and naan and poddadoms.

I’m far from the only Brit who has a soft spot for Indian curries – in fact the Brits love curry so much that their favourite curry, chicken tikka masala, has been named a ‘national dish’. Until turning vegetarian my go-to Brit-Indian curry wasn’t chicken tikka masala – instead it was lamb rogan josh. It’s a dish with origins in Kashmir and that’s packed with spices and dried Kashmiri chillies.Although traditionally made with lamb or goat meat a rogan josh does, as I’ve discovered, taste equally great as a vegetarian curry with eggplant/aubergine. Eggplant generally makes a great vegetarian substitute for chunks of meat, especially in stews or curries – and you can try it for yourself with this recipe.

Eggplant/Aubergine Rogan Josh

This recipe follows the Lamb Rogan Josh recipe in Rick Stein’s India cookbook – my favourite Indian cookbook. Other than changing the lamb for eggplant I only made a few other tweaks to Rick’s recipe – like adding extra yoghurt instead of double cream and using coconut oil in place of ghee. I also used standard chillies and chilli powder – as I didn’t have Kashmiri chilli versions – but I’m sure the latter would make the end result more authentic.Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 large eggplants (800g – 1kg) chopped into bitsize chunks
  • 40g coconut oil (or ghee)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely crushed
  • 3cm ginger, finely grated
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 200ml natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves

Plus spices:

  • 5cm cinnamon stick
  • 3 dried chillies torn into pieces – ideally Kashmiri chillies
  • 6 green cardmom pods, lightly bruised
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tbsp each ground coriander and cumin
  • 2 tsp each turmeric and garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, plus 1/4 to finish

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and once hot add the whole spices and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Then add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the remaining spices and cook for an extra 30 seconds (reserve 1 tsp garam masala).
  4. Mix through the tomato puree and then the salt and a cup or so of water.
  5. Simmer for 10-15 mins, then add the eggplant and simmer for 30 mins or until it’s is soft but not mushy.
  6. To finish stir in the yoghurt, remaining 1tsp garam masala and 1/4tsp fennel plus the coriander leaves.

For other Indian posts inspired by my Rick Stein’s India cookbook check out my Garam Masala spice blend and Pav Bhaji with sweet potatoes. Enjoy!

Laura

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