Eggplant masala is made of soft roasted eggplants drunk in a spiced curry sauce. It's super comforting but still light on your stomach! You can make this recipe in 30 minutes, which makes it a great after-work meal. You might also like this easy sweet and sour tofu with rice!
Vegan tikka masala
If I had to describe eggplant masala I would say it's a super flavorful roasted eggplant curry. It's basically like a vegan tikka masala, where you replace the chicken with eggplant (so good!). Served over rice, this meal is also entirely gluten-free. I HIGHLY recommend trying it out!
What we love most about this recipe is that it's ready in only 30 minutes and is the perfect meal to prepare after a busy day at work.
Note about the spices
Tikka masala is usually composed of a blend of spices including coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. Note that these vary based on culinary tradition, family recipes, and geographical location.
For this recipe, we like to use garam masala and a mix of cumin and fennel seeds. We chose to add garam masala because it is a spice blend that can easily be found in grocery stores and contains most of the spices named above.
Step by step with pictures
Prepare the onion, garlic and eggplants. Mince the onion and garlic. Wash the eggplants and cut them into small dices. Heat a pan with vegetable oil. When hot, fry the cumin and fennel seeds for 1 minute without burning them. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent.
Note on frying spices: frying spices in oil enhances the flavors and makes them more intense.
Sauté the eggplants. Add the eggplant and a pinch of salt to the pan or wok and stir. Cover with a lid and let steam for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook until soft. Add the whole can of diced tomatoes (no need to drain)to the pan with the sugar and garam masala. Cover with a lid and cook until soft.
Cook the rice. Bring water to a boil and cook the rice according to the instructions on the package.
Quick tip: chose "fast-cooking" rice that has a boiling time of 10 to 15 minutes for quick weeknight dinners.
Quick tip: If you don't have the required spices at home already, you can use 2-3 teaspoons of red curry paste instead. The flavors will be different but the taste will be just as incredible (we tested it)! Add the curry paste with the canned tomatoes and sugar and skip the step that requires roasting the spices.
If you fancy a meal that is higher in protein, feel free to add cooked lentils or chickpeas (pre-cooked or canned) to the eggplant curry.
You can make this eggplant masala recipe ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure to use air-tight containers adapted to meal prepping. You can store the rice and the eggplant curry in the same container.
More easy weeknight dinner ideas
- Sweet and sour tofu with rice
- Easy fried rice
- Vegetable spring rolls with peanut sauce
- Rice noodles with peanut sauce
Eggplant Masala Over Rice
- 2 eggplants
- 1 red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds or replace fennel, cumin and garam masala with 2-3 teaspoons red curry paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 can diced tomatoes 400 g, 16 oz
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- ⅔ cup (125 g) rice chose rice with a cooking time of 10 minutes
- Wash the eggplants. Cut them lengthwise in 4 and then into dices. The dices should be relatively small to cook more quickly (see step-by-step pictures in post above).
- Mince the onion and the garlic.
- Bring water to a boil. Cook the rice according to the instruction on the package.
- Heat a lidded pan or skillet with oil. When hot, fry the cumin and fennel seeds for 1 minute without burning them. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes).
- Add the eggplant and a generous pinch of salt. Stir to coat the eggplants in oil. Cover with a lid and let steam for 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the diced tomatoes, sugar and garam masala (or red curry paste). Fill the empty can with water and add it to the pan. Cover with a lid again and let cook 15 minutes. Give it a stir halfway through.
- Serve the cooked eggplants with rice and top with sesame seeds if desired.
- If you don't have the required spices at home already, you can use 2-3 teaspoons of red curry paste instead. The flavors will be different but the taste will be just as incredible (we tested it)!
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