March 3, 2012

Gujarati Ravaiya (Stuffed Aubergine Curry)

Bharela Ravaiya nu Shaak - Gujarati Curry with Stuffed Aubergines

Gujarati Ravaiya (Stuffed Aubergine Curry) is a true vegan comfort meal from western India. Stuff baby aubergines with a spicy peanut masala for Gujarati grandma vibes.

Serve with hot phulka rotli and a simple onion and tomato salad. A glass of salted Chaas (buttermilk drink) if you’re feeling fancy.

Why is it that vegetables are always better when you stuff them? This stuffed eggplant recipe is no exception.

My mother’s recipe for Ravaiya

Ask any Gujarati and they’ll rave about their mum or gran’s version. It’s in our nature. And believe us, we’re telling the truth. There is no love greater than the love you feel when you eat these baby aubergines.

You must stuff each one by hand. It’s messy, fun and a labour of love. Their flavour is amplified by the effort and time it takes to prepare them. It’s the taste of a mother’s devotion to her family.

Indian Stuffed Aubergine Curry
Gujarati Ravaiya – a Gujarati institution.

This is my mother’s recipe for Gujarati Ravaiya. I make the same one for my son now. He calls them “oh-ber-jean”.

Childhood memories of this Gujarati curry

To tell you the truth, I used to hate aubergines. I thought they were slimy and seedy. 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.

When I woke up, my mum had to cut a chunk of my waist-length hair out and I cried.

How to make Gujarati Ravaiya (Stuffed Aubergine Curry)

Traditionally, the aubergines are served as they are, sometimes with a tomato sauce, sometimes without.

My mother has always made these “bharela ravaiya” or “bharela ringan” with a luscious tomato sauce. However, my mother-in-law comes from the Patel community and prefers to serve them without a tomato sauce.

Both ways are delicious in my opinion. Just pass me the rotli.

Vegetarian Stuffed Aubergine - Gujarati Ringan nu Shaak
I like to serve my Ravaiya nu Shaak with Phulka Rotli and chopped onions.

Gujarati Ravaiya: Tips & FAQ

What kind of aubergines (ringan) should I use for Ravaiya?

Choose firm, small aubergines (ringan/eggplants). They can be any colour and either short and fat or long and thin. My preference are the small, fat purple ones. However, I advise you to choose the best quality you can find.

Ravaiya made with small black aubergines (brinjal/eggplant)

What stuffing do you put in Gujarati Ravaiya?

Ingredients for the stuffing will differ from recipe to recipe. Indeed, all families have their own unique style and preferences. My recipe for Ravaiya stuffing includes:

Should I add potatoes or not?

Lots of people like to add a few stuffed spuds to their curry. I’m not going to tell you which way is better, or more traditional. If you like potatoes, go ahead and add them. Don’t be shy, get your carb on.

Some ingredients needed to make Ravaiya

What else can I stuff with this Ravaiya masala?

Aubergines not your thing? Use the stuffing masala from this recipe to fill onions, okra, sweet potatoes, chillies, capsicums, Brussel’s sprouts or skin-on bananas (I’m serious).

So in short, you can customise this recipe to suit you. I like to do a version with all of them for special occasions.

Some of my favourite stuffed Gujarati curries include:

Bharela Marcha - Gujarati Stuffed Bullet Chilli Curry
Bharela Marcha – Gujarati Stuffed Chilli Curry is a variant of this Ravaiya recipe

I hope to share recipes for all of these delicious Gujarati shaaks in time. Keep your eyes (and your onions) peeled!

Recipe for Gujarati Ravaiya (Stuffed Aubergine Curry)

Bharela Ravaiya nu Shaak - Gujarati Curry with Stuffed Aubergines

Gujarati Ravaiya (Stuffed Aubergine Curry)

Ask any Gujarati and they’ll rave about their mum or gran’s Ravaiya (stuffed aubergine curry). It’s in our nature. There is no love greater than the love you feel when you eat these hand-stuffed baby aubergines.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: aubergine, curry, gluten free, peanut, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Steaming basket
  • Large pan

Ingredients

  • 8-10 baby aubergines

For the peanut stuffing:

  • 85 g skinned peanuts coarsely ground
  • 2 tbsp gram flour toasted in a dry pan until aromatic and lightly golden
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (check the packaging if preparing for anyone with a gluten allergy/intolerance)
  • 4 large cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tsp ginger grated
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 50 g fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp any cooking oil
  • 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1 tbsp any cooking oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 200 g chopped tomatoes
  • 200 ml water
  • 5-6 curry leaves optional
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Chopped red onion to serve
  • Fresh coriander leaves to serve

Instructions

  • Combine all of the ingredients for the stuffing except for the oil in a bowl.
  • Heat three tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan until hot and shimmering. Slowly and carefully pour the oil onto the peanut mix and stir to combine well. Set aside to cool.
  • 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, leaving the stalk area uncut. Place the aubergines in a bowl filled with cold water to stop them oxidising inside and to keep them perky.
  • 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. If you don’t want to use your hands, you can use a butter knife to stuff them.
  • Fit a large pan with a steaming basket. Place the aubergines in the basket and fill the pan with plenty of hot water. Ensure the bottom of the steamer doesn’t touch the water. Cover with a lid and cook over a moderate heat for 12-14 minutes, until the aubergines are tender. A fork should poke through without any resistance.
  • 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, optional curry leaves and leftover stuffing paste. Cook the mixture out for 2 minutes and then add the tomatoes, water, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and sugar. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time. The mixture should begin to thicken slightly.
  • Add the steamed aubergines and cover with the paste. Be careful not to break them. Cook for a further 2 minutes to heat through. Garnish with fresh coriander if you like. Serve with phulka/roti and chopped red onions.

Recipe Video

Sanjana’s Notes

  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container and eat within 3 days.
How to freeze Ravaiya
  • These Ravaiya (stuffed aubergines) freeze beautifully. My preference is to freeze the steamed aubergines in a freezer-safe container and then make the sauce when I want to serve the curry. Just place the defrosted Ravaiya in the sauce and heat through until piping hot.
  • You can also make the stuffing ahead of time and keep it in the freezer for when you fancy this dish. It’s also great for stuffing other vegetables like potatoes, okra, chillies and onions.
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How to make Indian stuffed aubergine curry

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21 responses to “Gujarati Ravaiya (Stuffed Aubergine Curry)”

  1. 5 stars
    this is going to be a long comment 🙂
    absolutely loved the clicks….pink against the deep purple does wonders to the colors.
    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:

    5 stars
    Just excellent You are truly inspirational. I have made this many times over and can’t praise you enough. The peanuts and roasted gram flour/besan are so tasty.

  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. Violet says:

    5 stars
    Hi Sanjana, thank you for a lovely site! This was completely delicious. Will make again! 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:

    5 stars
    Hi sanjana

     

    like your recepie. so delicious!

  13. K3moms says:

    5 stars
    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.

  17. […] recipes from Prachi, Shailja, Naina, Chitra, Sonal and this one that I came across, to name a few (apologies for those I missed, I tried to remember everyone’s!) and the […]

  18. Shivani says:

    5 stars
    Loved my husbands grandmas bharelu shaak and this one is so close to that!! Loved it and will be making it again. Next time will add more garlic though- can never have enough garlic 😀

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