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Spicy Indian Brinjal Curry recipe (vegan)

This easy Spicy Indian Brinjal Curry recipe features luxe rich flavors, lots of spicy goodness, and deliciously melty meaty flavors that make you forget the creamy intensely smoky curry is vegan. This is giving major luxe irresistible takeout vibes…but it’s homemade in less than 30 minutes. A super creamy, lush, and utterly craveable curry that will make all your curry dreams come true. Gloriously savory, decadently rich, with a bit of sweetness and smokiness, scooped over a bed of steaming rice or served with a side of fluffy warm flatbread. Yes, please!

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Brinjal Curry is a great everyday Indian curried dinner made with eggplants, loads of spices, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and herbs…it’s a super quick, ready in under 30 minutes Indian comfort food recipe. It can be made in lots of different ways, and it’s always soooo tasty. 

This is a lighter less calorie-dense version of the famous Sri Lankan Brinjal Curry. The original recipe is a time-consuming masterpiece of deep-fried eggplants, lots of oil, and the same smoky flavors you get in this easy curry. 

A low-calorie vegan dinner eggplant curry recipe 

Deep flavors, luxe creamy textures and so much curry goodness in one dish. No one would ever guess that this is a low-calorie naturally vegan curry that comes in at just around 240 calories per serving. That’s right! A whopping LESS Than 300 calories per meal! How is that even possible with so much flavor? It shouldn’t be but by some miracle of melty eggplants that soak up all the flavors as they grill on the pan, a ton of healthy spices, and a little creamy coconut milk it is possible to get a rich curry with under 300 calories. AMAZING! 

What kind of eggplant to use in Indian Brinjal Curry 

There are many different types of eggplants or aubergines out there. Any and all edible eggplants can be used to make Brinjal Curry. Because I like a tender textured aubergine with a soft meaty bite that soaks up all the flavors of the curry sauce, I like to use smaller (younger) eggplants. 

Indian Brinjal curry cooking tips and tricks 

How to get soft and tender eggplants

Using smaller eggplants means the aubergines are younger and have fewer seeds. It also makes the eggplants more tender and less bitter.

How to prevent eggplants from going brown when chopped

To prevent your eggplants from going brownish when they’re chopped simply immerse them in a bowl full of salted water and keep them immersed until you’re ready to use them. Immersing chopped eggplants in salted water also helps prevent the eggplants from developing a bitter taste.

Note: if chopped eggplants are immersed in salted water for longer periods they will soak up a lot of the salt. You can adjust your recipe accordingly by using less salt in your dish.

Good fresh spices

Did you know that spices lose their flavor over time? Fresh spices will always add more flavor to your dish. If you’re using older spices you can always add more spices to make up for the difference in strength.

Curry leaves

Curry leaves give this deep-flavored dish that little extra fragrant flavor. If you don’t have curry leaves and can’t get them, you can easily make your Brinjal Curry without curry leaves. Curry powder is made from curry leaves, although the powder is less fragrant and spicier. You can add a teaspoon of extra curry powder to the eggplant curry to replace the curry leaves.

Garam Masala substitutes

You can use sambar powder, curry powder, or pav bhaji masala as a substitute for garam masala.

Easy 30-minute Indian eggplant Curry ingredients 

Eggplants (or aubergines to my UK readers) – small to medium-sized eggplants or aubergines work best in eggplant curry as they contain fewer seeds and have a more melty meaty texture. Asian eggplants also work well. 

Chickpeas – adding chickpeas to the eggplant curry adds a little extra protein and gives the dish a more rounded nutritional profile. It also gives the aubergine curry a delicious meaty texture that’s irresistibly good.

Vegetable oil – you can use any type of vegetable oil you prefer. I used coconut oil, but avocado oil or olive oil works just as well. You want to use vegetable oil with a high heat tolerance as this curry cooks at high temperatures.

Tomatoes – canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, passata, or fire-roasted tomatoes all work in this simple vegetable aubergine curry. I used regular canned tomatoes because that’s what I had in the cupboard, but any type of tomatoes, even fresh, will work in this curry.

Easy Indian Aubergine Curry Seasoning and flavor ingredients

Spices – this low-calorie eggplant curry is pretty much spice heaven. All the spices make it a rich ultra-flavorful and utterly delicious curry. The spices also add immune system-boosting health benefits and are believed to increase your metabolism.

Onion and garlic – the onion and garlic lay the foundation for the curry adding depth and holding everything together. You can use any type of onion you have available. I used red onions, but white onions, yellow onions, or even shallots or leeks can also work to flavor the curry.

Curry leaves – curry leaves are fragrant and smell aromatically like curry powder. They add a more fragrant perfume hint to the Indian eggplant stew, but you can easily omit them and replace them with a teaspoon of curry powder.

Coconut milk – coconut milk is great in sauces. It creates a creamy sauce and naturally enhances the flavors of the spices. And you can’t taste the coconut flavor at all. Because I like my curry creamy, I added a bit of coconut milk to the sauce. For a thicker less creamy curry (that also has even fewer calories) you can make the curry without coconut milk. 

How to make 30-minute Indian dairy free low-calorie Brinjal Curry step-by-step instructions 

  • Heat oil in a deep pan and add the cumin seeds and chopped onions. Sauté for a moment then add the green chili and garlic. Season with garam masala, ground coriander, curry powder, black pepper, and ginger, and combine. Add the chickpeas and diced eggplants and mix. Let the seasoning cook with the vegetables for a minute to really bring out all the flavors in the spices.
  • Now, pour in the canned tomatoes and add the tomato paste. Mix to combine everything, then add the coconut milk and water (Note: if you prefer a dry curry without a lot of sauce use less water). Bring to a quick boil then turn the curry down to a simmer.
  • Next, let the Brinjal curry simmer until the eggplants are soft and the curry is thick. 
  • Taste test and add more salt and chili if needed. 
  • Serve Brinjal Curry with fluffy rice or flatbread to soak up all the delicious sauce. 
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro or basmati and enjoy.

Simple way to make easy Spicy Brinjal Curry in a crockpot 

  • Add all the ingredients to the crockpot. Place the lid on, and set the timer to cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. Let the steam release naturally. 
  • Serve with a side of steaming fluffy rice and enjoy.

How to make easy vegan Indian Brinjal Curry in an instant pot 

  • Turn your instant pot to sauté and add the chopped onions, chili, and cumin seeds. Season with garam masala, ground coriander, curry powder, black pepper, and ginger, and combine. Add the chickpeas and diced eggplants and mix. Let the seasoning cook with the vegetables for a minute to really bring out all the flavors in the spices.
  • Now, pour in the canned tomatoes and add all the remaining ingredients to the instant pot. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Release the pressure and stir to mix everything well. Taste to see if more salt or other seasoning is needed. 
  • Leave to rest for 2 minutes to let the sauce thicken slightly.
  • Serve with a side of steaming fluffy rice and enjoy.

Frequently asked questions 

How many calories are in Brinjal Curry?

One portion of spicy vegan Brinjal curry comes out at just around 240 calories per serving (not including rice Or bread).

Can I leave out coconut milk in Indian Curry?

Yes. This easy 30-minute Indian Eggplant curry can easily be made without any cocoa milk or other milk substitutes. It’s rich and luscious just as it is.

Is Indian Eggplant Curry freezer friendly?

Yes. This easy aubergine curry is freezer friendly. Just freeze it in a freezer bag or freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months.

Looking for more easy vegan stews and curry dishes? You might like these 5 best easy vegan curry recipes:

Spicy Indian Brinjal Curry Recipe (vegan)

This easy Spicy Brinjal Curry recipe features luxe rich flavors, lots of spicy goodness, and deliciously melty meaty flavors that make you forget the creamy intensely smoky curry is vegan. This is giving major luxe irresistible takeout vibes…but it’s homemade in less than 30 minutes. A super creamy, lush, and utterly craveable curry that will make all your curry dreams come true. Gloriously savory, decadently rich, with a bit of sweetness and smokiness, scooped over a bed of steaming rice or served with a side of fluffy warm flatbread.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword vegan dinner
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 240kcal
Author Simone – Munchyesta.com

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil can be coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil
  • 2-3 small (500g) Eggplants / Aubergines
  • 1 Red Onion finely diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic finely chopped
  • 1 15oz can Chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup Canned Tomatoes which can be fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 Green Chili finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp Curry Powder
  • ¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ inch (2cm) Fresh Grated Ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp Chili Flakes
  • 1 15oz can Coconut Milk
  • 1 cup Water
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 10 Curry Leaves optional
  • 1 handful Fresh Cilantro or Basil chopped

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a deep pan and add the cumin seeds and chopped onions. Sauté for a moment then add the green chili and garlic. Season with garam masala, ground coriander, curry powder, black pepper, and ginger, and combine. Add the chickpeas and diced eggplants and mix. Let the seasoning cook with the vegetables for a minute to really bring out all the flavors in the spices.
  • Now, pour in the canned tomatoes and add the tomato paste. Combine everything, then add the coconut milk and water (Note: if you prefer a dry curry without a lot of sauce use less water). Bring to a quick boil then turn the curry down to a simmer.
  • Let the Brinjal curry simmer until the eggplants are soft and the curry is thick. 
    Taste test and add more salt and chili if needed. 
    Serve Brinjal Curry with fluffy rice or flatbread to soak up all the delicious sauce. 
    Garnish with fresh cilantro or basmati and enjoy.

How to make easy Spicy Brinjal Curry in a crockpot 

  • Add all the ingredients to the crockpot. Place the lid on, and set the timer to cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. Let the steam release naturally. 
    Serve with a side of steaming fluffy rice and enjoy.

How to make easy vegan Indian Brinjal Curry in an instant pot 

  • Turn your instant pot to sauté and add the chopped onions, chili, and cumin seeds. Season with garam masala, ground coriander, curry powder, black pepper, and ginger, and combine. Add the chickpeas and diced eggplants and mix. Let the seasoning cook with the vegetables for a minute to really bring out all the flavors in the spices.
  • Now, pour in the canned tomatoes and add all the remaining ingredients to the instant pot. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Release the pressure and stir to mix everything well. Taste to see if more salt or other seasoning is needed. 
  • Leave to rest for 2 minutes to let the sauce thicken slightly.
    Serve with a side of steaming fluffy rice and enjoy.

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