This South Indian Baked Eggplant Curry is made in the oven instead of the skillet. Eggplant / aubergines and red lentils are baked in a fragrant spiced tomato coconut milk sauce. So good served over rice or as soup! It's Glutenfree, nutfree and also soyfree.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: baked curry, eggplant curry, Indian curry recipe
Bake the eggplant: To a 9x11 inch or similar sized baking dish, add the oil and add all of the spices and salt and mix well.
If the spices are getting too clumped up, add splashes of some water or few teaspoons of water so that the mixture is like a thin spice paste.
Then add eggplants, onion, garlic, and ginger and toss really well to coat. Eggplants will shrink a lot so you need a dish where they are about doubled up in layer.
Then bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius ) for 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the tempering with mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds: Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and cook until the seeds start to pop or change color. Then add the curry leaves and immediately take off heat. Be careful while adding the curry leaves because they will pop and splash a little bit. Keep this tempering aside.
Remove the baking dish from the oven then add the tomato sauce, coconut milk, lentils, salt, and mix in. Add the tempering and mix lightly.
Then return the dish to the oven. Cover with a parchment and continue to bake for 25 minutes or until the lentils are cooked to preference and the sauce has thickened.
If the sauce has thickened too much, you can gradually add in about 1/2 cup of warm non-dairy milk and mix in. Taste and adjust salt and flavor. Add more salt, spices if needed then mix in.
Remove the dish from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes. Then garnish with cilantro the lemon juice and serve with rice or flatbread or dosa, or serve with garlic bread as bowl of soup.
To make this into a soup, you can add in a little bit more non-dairy milk while the curry is still hot so that it gets a bit soupier and then serve with garlic bread.
Curry leaves : There is no good substitute for curry leaves so if you can't find them, leave them out. You can Substitute 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp coriander and 1 tsp lime juice for every 6 curry leaves. It’s slightly different flavor but complements the sauce with the tang and earthy tones. How to store Curry leaves: fresh Curry leaves can be frozen in an airtight container for 8-10 months. Use frozen wherever recipe calls for fresh curry leaves
For keeping it mild, use 1/2 teaspoon paprika instead of cayenne
if you cannot find tomato puree you can use unseasoned tomato sauce or purée canned diced tomatoes and use
No oil: It’s difficult to make this oil free. You can dry toast the mustard seeds and use but the flavor payback isn’t as strong as oil toasted seeds. For the roasting process you can use broth or aquafaba
Stove top: Make the tempering in a larger skillet. Then add the spices and mix in. Add onion and eggplant(use smaller chopped) toss well and cook until eggplant is golden on some edges. Then add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, partially cover and cook until the eggplants start to break down and the lentils are cooked. Stir occasionally.