March 3, 2012

Baby Aubergines Stuffed with Peanut Masala

Peanut Masala Stuffed Aubergines

Peanut Masala Stuffed Baby Aubergines (1)

Stuffing baby vegetables with spicy, nutty masala can be a beautiful thing. It’s nothing new, Gujaratis have been popping a tray of them onto their dinner party tables for years. Stuffed vegetables are, and always have been the ultimate show-off dish – the more extensive the variety of veggies you manage to wangle into the dish, the more fabulous you are.

I remember when I was little it was just aubergines, potatoes and onions in our family kitchen. As I grew, we became more and more adventurous with what we put in; it all began with bananas (my granddad used to add these back in Mombasa), then we added peas to the sauce, stuffed baby courgettes, okra, paneer (you didn’t really think I’d miss that one out did you?) and no matter what it was, it still tasted amazing. Go ahead, be fabulous and experiment with your stuffed veggie curry.

Today I’m downsizing. Not because I can’t be bothered, but because I know these fresh baby aubergines I got from the market (no lie, I actually went to a market) can hold their own against the aromatic masala stuffing.

To tell you the truth I used to hate aubergines. I thought they were slimy and seedy and as a child, I wanted nothing more than to hide them under my brother’s mattress for the time he put Cherry Tunes in my hair whilst I was asleep.

The great aubergine loophole

A couple of years ago I realised that the only reason I didn’t like aubergines was because of the seeds. Then I found out about the great aubergine loophole.

To cut a long story short, like almost every beautiful living thing in the world, aubergines are either male or female. Females, being their wonderful selves, contain lots of bitter eggs to help create more diddy aubergines whilst warding off any predators, which is what makes them less delicious – but not any less beautiful!

To tell the difference between male and female aubergines, take a look at the shape. Usually females are rounder. So next time you’re shopping, keep your eyes peeled for skinnier aubergines, the shinier the better.

With baby aubergines it’s much harder to tell between male and female but take your time and pick carefully – it makes all the difference to your finished dish.

Peanut Masala Stuffed Baby Aubergines (1)

Baby Aubergines Stuffed with Peanut Masala


12-15 baby aubergines

For the peanut stuffing:

110g redskin peanuts (I don’t bother removing the skins)
2 tbsp gram flour, toasted in a non-stick pan until aromatic
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp ground cumin seeds
4 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ginger, grated
½ tsp red chilli powder
Handful fresh coriander, chopped finely
1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the tomato sauce:

1 tbsp sunflower oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
5-6 curry leaves
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp red chilli powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp sugar


1. Combine all of the ingredients for the stuffing except for the oil in a blender. Pulse 5-10 times until roughly ground. Place in a glass bowl.

2. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan until hot and shimmering. Slowly and carefully pour the oil onto the peanut mix and combine. Set aside to cool.

3. Trim the tops of the aubergines. I like to leave a little stalk for pretty presentation. Slit the aubergines crosswise from the bottom, almost all the way through – leave the stalk area uncut. Stuff each aubergine with the peanut masala – don’t be afraid to use clean hands to do this; just get right in there. You should have a little bit of the stuffing left over – keep it aside.

4. Place the aubergines in single rows in a microwave and oven-safe dish. Cover the dish with cling film (plastic wrap) and make a hole in the top. Microwave on full power for seven minutes. Remove the cling film and allow to cool.

5. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat one tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop. Add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, tomatoes and then the rest of the ingredients. Allow to simmer for a few minutes. When bubbling, add the leftover stuffing mix and combine.

6. Pour the sauce over the aubergines and bake in a preheated oven at 190°C for 35 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh coriander.

Serve with crispy paratha and plain yoghurt, or for a Gujarati feast, serve with Gujarati Daal, fluffy rice, chapattis and a glass of Salted Lassi.

Love Sanjana

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20 responses to “Baby Aubergines Stuffed with Peanut Masala”

  1. this is going to be a long comment 🙂
    absolutely loved the clicks….pink against the deep purple does wonders to the colors.
    i did not know that aubergines have male and female….i actually read the post twice, just to make sure i had read right !! thanks for the information – v interesting !!
    i have a thing with aubergines or brinjal whatever u want to call them – just love it !! am def going to try this one !
    following you on pinterest, really nice profile pix there, it was nice to pump into you on pinterest 🙂 c you around !!

  2. Shobha says:

    The stuffed brinjals look delicious !

  3. Sukanya says:

    Wow! its a wonderful idea to prepare them in microwave/oven… i have always used a lot of oil toasting these lil ones… thanks for the recipe.. btw great blog…way to go

  4. Moo says:

    I am definitely going to try this – I used to eat at a restaurant called Saffron in Birmingham UK and they had a similar dish on the menu that was just gorgeous. I never did find a decent recipe similar, but this looks perfect! Thanks for sharing. Moo xx

  5. Maayeka says:

    Great recipe!!perfectly done and beautifully presented..I also make bharwa baigan this way..
    very nice info about male and female brinjals, never heard about this before..thanks for sharing the info and the recipe.great blog indeed!!!

  6. Mr. P says:

    They are so beautiful! When are you actually going to cook me dinner? I will wait no longer!

  7. This sounds really good. I didn’t know there were male and female eggplants! That is a great tip! Thanks

  8. Bhaskar says:

    Just excellent info. I never knew about male and female aubergines. Truly inspirational. I’m going to try this recipe.

  9. Sumayya Jami says:

    Fabulous, I can’t wait to make this! Your blog is one of the very few I actually want to cook from! thanks for sharing. great meeting u today x

  10. V says:

    Hi Sanjani, thank you for a lovely site! Regarding the aubergines and step 4 which calls for them to go in a microwave: I don’t have one – what do you recommend I do instead? I would be grateful for your thoughts. Thank you, V

    • Sanjana says:

      Hi. If you don’t have a microwave you can also steam the aubergines until tender. I hope this helps.

  11. Inci says:

    Hi Sanjana,


    Love your blog and your recipes. Having been born in Kenya – and just got back from Nairobi i can relate to the yummy Kachoris. Just had them at bhagwanji's Thanks

  12. Indu says:

    Hi sanjana


    like your recepie. But in the end u have asked to place the aubergines with the sauce in an oven to bake for 35 mins…. Can u give an alternative for the same as I don't have an oven 

  13. K3moms says:

    Absolutely delicious!  Fixed for first time,my husband said I had "outdone" myself!  

  14. Puja Darshan says:

    Nice info about male and female brinjals, thanks for great sharing…

  15. pari patel says:

    Great recipe!!perfectly done and beautifully presented..I also make bharwa baigan this way..
    very nice info about male and female brinjals, never heard about this before..thanks for sharing the info and the recipe.great blog indeed!!!

  16. DMM says:

    Hi Sanjana, love your recipes, the simplicity and not over-ingredientified! Please can you let me have alternative to peanut recipe, ie my daughter absolutely loves all forms of aubergines and I’d like to make stuffed aubergines but apart from peanuts, what alternative do you have? Thanks DMM
    PS I shall certainly be recommending you to my friends and family – also love your East African section.

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