Meat-free Mondays: Eggplant Brinjal

This Indian recipe owes attribution to chef Ben O’Donoghue who originally cooked this on The Best in Australia, on Foxtel's Lifestyle Food channel.

It’s normally a side dish to go with Ben’s harissa-crusted leg of lamb cooked tandoor-style but on a Meat-Free Monday it’s the hero dish. It could be served with any kind of greens, bok choy, beans or broccoli, for example, and a bit of rice.

Eggplant Brinjal. Picture:

Eggplant Brinjal. Picture:


2 eggplants, cut in large cubes (up the number of eggplants depending on how many of you there is – I usually allow one large-ish one per person if this is main meal)

3 medium onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon of pureed ginger (mince it yourself on a micro-plane)

1 tablespoon of pureed garlic (in a press)

4 tablespoons of chopped tin tomatoes (use the whole tin – no waste)

1 ½ tablespoons of ground coriander

½ tablespoon of cumin

½ tablespoon of turmeric

2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander (don’t stinge here)

1 litre of sunflower oil (for frying)


Heat the oil in a wok and fry the eggplant chunks are golden and soft, then remove and drain. Don’t cook all the eggplant at once, keep repeating the process until it’s all cooked. Remove all the oil except for 3 tablespoons.

Reheat this oil. Add the sliced onions and season with a teaspoon of salt. Fry for 5 minutes until soft and starting to brown.

Add the spices and pureed garlic and ginger and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes and combine. Then add the drained eggplant and fold together.

Turn off the heat and season with vinegar, salt and pepper. Then add chopped coriander and leave to settle (as you would steak or other meat after cooking).

Sometimes I sprinkle more fresh coriander on the top – and even a few Chinese fried shallots just for presentation at serving.