Aubergine and chickpea curry is the perfect tasty weeknight dinner. It's so easy to make and tastes amazing! The aubergine is roasted before being added to a rich and tasty curry sauce with chickpeas and spinach. This vegan curry is perfect for the whole family to enjoy!
We love a good curry in my house, whether it's a cauliflower and chickpea curry or my tofu katsu curry at least once a week we have curry! But, I have always struggled to get my family to eat aubergine! I'm on my own when it comes to this nightshade! Until that is, I made this curry. For some reason, they love this curry, who knew cooking aubergine in a curry would win them over!
This aubergine chickpea curry is so full of flavour. Roasting the aubergine crisps up its skin and leaves the flesh soft and tender, making it perfect for adding to a curry. It adds texture to the curry and the aubergine will soak up all the lovely flavours.
📝 What Do We Need
- Aubergine - one large aubergine (eggplant) is all you need for this curry. When buying aubergine look for one with an unblemished, tight skin. It should feel firm to the touch and feel heavy.
- Spices - I use a mix of ground and whole spices for this curry. I use whole mustard seeds and cumin seeds. For the ground spices I use garam masala, turmeric and ground coriander.
- Chickpeas - canned chickpeas are absolutely fine for this curry but if you want to use dried chickpeas you can, you will need to soak and cook them first though.
- Spinach - I add some baby spinach to this curry but you can omit it if you want. I like to get some green in whenever I can!
- Coconut Milk - coconut milk adds a lovely creaminess to this curry, I recommend using full fat to get the most creamy sauce! I have made this without coconut milk so if you want you can omit it.
🔪 How To Make It
1. Start by cooking the onion in oil, it will need at least 20 minutes to get soft and golden. Meanwhile roast the aubergine in the oven.
2. Toast the cumin seeds and mustard seeds in a dry pan then pound them in a pestle and mortar. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli pepper to the onion and cook for a minute. Then add all the spices and cook for a minute.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes to the onion and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the roasted aubergine and the chickpeas.
4. Pour in the coconut milk and cook for about 5 minutes, the add the spinach. Stir until the spinach has wilted. Finish the curry with some coriander then serve with rice and toasted almond flakes.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
- Cooking the onions - cooking the onion for at least 20 minutes over low heat will give you lovely soft golden onions. This will add so much flavour to your curry so I recommend cooking them for at least 20 minutes. If you don't have time then give them at least 10 minutes.
- Cooking the spices - the spices only need a minute to cook. In fact, as soon as you can smell their aromas they are done! Don't burn the spices as they will turn bitter and ruin your curry.
- Roasting the aubergine - roasting the aubergine makes a huge difference to this curry. The skin will be cripsy but the inside will be soft and tender. Just remember to flip the aubergine chunks half way through cooking. 15 minutes should do the trick as it will cook in the curry too.
- Adding the coconut milk - add the coconut milk slowly, stiring all the time. Try not to bring the coconut milk to a boil as it can spilt. And don't forget to give that tin can a good shake before you open it!
- Add more veggies - green bell pepper and mushrooms work really well in this too. You could also add some courgette if you have some.
- Make it hotter - this curry is deliberatley mild enough to suit the whole family. If you want to make it hotter then add a pinch of hot chilli powder when you add the spices. You could also use a hotter chilli pepper such as a tabiche chilli pepper if you want it really hot!
- Swap the chickpeas - don't have chickpeas? Dried red lentils, black beans or green beans will work in this too.
No, you don't. Leaving the skin on while roasting will help the aubergine chunks keep their shape. Plus the skin ends up a little crispy which adds some lovely texture to the curry.
Yes, you can. Once the curry has cooled transfer it to suitable containers and place it in the freezer. Use within 3 months. Defrost the curry overnight in the fridge then reheat on the hob until piping hot. You may need to add a little water to loosen it up while it is reheating.
If you have any leftovers you can store them once cooled in the fridge. The curry will last for about 3- 5 days. Just reheat on the hob until piping hot and serve!
🍽 More Tasty Vegan Curries
If like us you love curries then I have a few more that you might like to try! The most popular curry on this blog is my Mushroom Curry, this is a great vegan curry ready in just 30 minutes! Another popular curry is my Chickpea and Lentil Curry, this curry is super filling and really tasty. Finally, my Red Lentil Dahl is one of my all-time favourites, it's warming comforting and so easy to make.
Aubergine and Chickpea Curry
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided into two
- 1 large aubergine (eggplant) cut into chunks
- 1 medium brown onion peeled then chopped
- 1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger peeled and finely grated
- 3 cloves of garlic put through a garlic press or minced
- 1 red chilli pepper Finely chopped. I used a red jalapeño pepper to keep the heat mild. If you would like a hotter pepper than I would use a green chili or a Jwala Chilli if you can get you can get some.
- 1 400g (14.5oz) can of chopped (diced) tomatoes
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 heaped tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 400g (15oz) can of chickpeas drained and rinsed in cold water
- 1 400g (13.66 fl oz) can of coconut milk
- 50 g (1 ¾ cups) of baby spinach washed and patted dry with kitchen paper
- 1 small handfull fresh coriander (cilantro)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Toasted almond flakes
- Basmati rice
- Heat 1 tbs of oil in a large saute pan, add the onion and a pinch of salt and gently cook over low heat for about 20 minutes. The onions should be soft and light brown.
- Heat the oven to 180° C(355°F) fan / 200°C (390°F) conventional ovenCut the aubergine into bitesize pieces. Place then a baking tray then drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over it. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, turn the aubergine chunks halfway through cooking.
- Toast the mustard seeds and cumin seeds in a dry pan until they release their aromas, about a minute.Transfer them to a pestle and mortar and pound them until they are a rough powder.
- Once the onion is soft and golden add the garlic, ginger and chilli pepper.Cook for about 1 minute, then add all spices.Cook for another minute, until you can smell the spices. Be careful not to let the spices burn.
- Now, pour in the tin of chopped tomatoes. Stir and leave to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. After 10 minutes add the roasted aubergine and the chickpeas.
- Next pour in the coconut milk, add this slowly stirring all the time. Simmer for 5 minutes.You should have a thick sauce now. If not simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Finally, add in the spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted. Finish by stirring in the coriander leaves. Serve immediately with naan, basmati or brown rice and toasted flaked almonds.
- The onion - cooking the onion for at least 20 minutes over low heat will give you soft golden onions. This will add flavour to your curry so I recommend cooking them for at least 20 minutes. If you don't have time then give them at least 10 minutes.
- Spices - the spices only need a minute to cook. In fact, as soon as you can smell their aromas they are done! Don't burn the spices as they will turn bitter and ruin your curry.
- Roasting the aubergine - roasting the aubergine makes a huge difference to this curry. The skin will and edges will be crispy but the inside will be soft and tender. Remember to turn the aubergine chunks halfway through cooking. 15 minutes should do the trick as it will cook in the curry too.
- Coconut milk - add the coconut milk slowly, stirring all the time. Try not to bring the coconut milk to a boil as this can spilt the coconut milk. Don't forget to give that can a good shake before you open it!
- Freezing/Storing - Once the curry has cooled transfer it to suitable containers and place it in the freezer. Use within 3 months. Defrost the curry overnight in the fridge then reheat on the hob until piping hot. You may need to add a little water to loosen it up while it is reheating.
- Storing - If you have any leftovers you can store them once cooled in the fridge. The curry will last for about 3- 5 days. Just reheat on the hob until piping hot and serve.
- Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutrition tool and is approximate. It is based on one serving of four and does not include rice or flaked almonds.
- Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible for best results.
*Recipe updated Nov 2021 to include new photos, step by step guide and more nutritional information.