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Spiced Eggplant

A simple, Spiced Eggplant dish with aromatic cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, caramelized onions, and garlic, that would make a delicious, vegetarian side to any meal – or picnic!

Spiced Eggplant

Poems have been written about it, songs have been sung about it, movies have been made about it – heck even Beyonce seems to show us that it has to exist for a marriage to work, in her latest album – at least that’s what I gathered. Yet, inspite of parents who sacrificed so much, I never quite understood what unconditional love truly involved till my daughter came into my life 17 1/2 years ago.

Just to see her happy, I have endured screaming tweens and teens at Jonas Brothers concerts, reading and rereading Franklyn the Turtle books, tasting marshmallows dipped in everything from hot sauce to mouthwash, and hours of that big, purple, singing dinosaur on the telly!

Spiced Eggplant

Speaking of the telly, these days she has moved on from singing with dinosaurs to watching Vampires. She tells me it’s the action-packed storyline that has her hooked, though I think that the Salvatore boys and their cohorts might have something to do with her wanting me to take her to watch the season finale screening of The Vampire Diaries in downtown Covington, in a couple of weeks!

At first, I started having flashbacks of those Jo Bro concerts. But then, I realized we wouldn’t have to listen to that big, purple, singing dinosaur on our drive down there, at least! Instead, we could pack up this purple Spiced Eggplant and have ourselves a little picnic – because screaming teens are no match for good food – right?!

Spiced Eggplant

This eggplant was inspired by a Sri Lankan eggplant dish my mom often makes which she calls “Spicy Brinjal Thel Dala” or Spicy Brinjal Fry. To make her version, she thinly slices eggplant and then fries the eggplant slices in hot oil. She then drains the eggplant and then sautées onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and a plethora of spices and adds the fried eggplant to it.

To make my version, I skipped the whole frying part. Instead, I pan sautéed eggplant, onions, ginger, and garlic, with a plethora of spices and tomato paste to come up with this easy, Spiced Eggplant side – which also packs well for lunch (or a picnic) the next day!

Spiced Eggplant

Spiced Eggplant

4.50 from 18 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 3 servings
Author: Shashi
A Spiced & Pan Sauteed delicious eggplant dish that is highly aromatic too!


  • 8 small/baby eggplants chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 sliced jalapeno
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • cilantro to garnish


  • Liberally spread olive oil in a pan and add the onion to it and let it saute over a low flame till it begins to caramelize (about 20 minutes or so)
  • Add in the garlic and ginger and eggplant and stir often and let cook for another 5-6 minutes or so
  • Add in the spices and tomato paste and lime juice and keep stirring till well incorporated
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Sprinkle jalapeno and cilantro on top and enjoy
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  6. Lynn says:

    I had an eggplant and wanted to make something tasty with it that wasn’t Italian. This recipe looked good. The only thing I changed is that I fried thinly sliced eggplant pieces in oil while the onions caramelized in another pan.I did this because the author said that their mother made the dish this way (I had the time). It was very delicious, and my husband remarked that it was as good as something you’d get in a high end restaurant. So, thank you for this recipe! I’m sure I’ll make it again!

  7. Mel says:

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I cooked it on a night I hosted dinner for 5 adults and they all loved it.
    I have to admit I didn’t know how much eggplant to use, because we have the regular sized eggplant, not the baby eggplant. So I used 2 of them and it was sooooo much eggplant. I had about half the dish leftover. Maybe either 1 or 1 and a haf would’ve sufficed.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  8. Sonia says:

    I love eggplants, I sure will try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Ramona W says:

    I love eggplant and this dish is calling my name! You had me at spicy. 🙂

  10. I’m jealous you are taking your daughter to the Vampire Diaries season finale screening! I know shes a huge fan since you guys visited the set a while back and I was jealous also back then! 😉 I’d have to say watching the screening will be wayyy better than a Jo Bro concert. 😉 Anyways, I love eggplant, but I don’t eat it nearly enough! Thanks for making me want to change that immediately with this fabulous dish! LOVE all the spices you used in here, Shashi! I bet this tastes AMAZING! Cheers, friend!
    P.S. I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day, dear! xoxo

  11. Tara @ Sweat like a Pig says:

    Yum! Eggplant is my favourite vegetable (which you may have been able to guess from my most recent post, where it was on almost every single plate haha) so I’m definitely going to try this!

  12. This eggplant looks soooo incredible Shashi! I love eggplant so much, and this spicy dish sounds absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to try it! Thank you for sharing! Pinned <3

  13. Huge fan of eggplant here!! and I love all the warm spices. Making me hungry 😀

  14. Ah yes <3 I am an eggplant lover (just picked up some at the grocery today!)

  15. I love all the spices used here! What another great way to eat my favorite veggie 🙂

  16. Believe it or not I eat something very similar to this on most mornings for breakfast. Yes, I know I eat stir fries with loads of delicious anti-inflammatory spices. Strange, I know but delicious… I say why not?! However, just to take it even a tad stranger… Buddy my dog loves it too. His food bowl is stained with turmeric… LOL I know I would love this as next time I need to add the kick from the chilis. By the way loving those chop sticks… wink wink.

  17. I think it’s time I gave eggplant another try

  18. Love how simple, delicious and flavorful this spiced eggplant looks and sounds, Shashi. I have only made stuffed eggplants, but this sautéed version is super intriguing. Can’t wait to try this. Wish you a beautiful weekend my friend!

  19. Hi Shashi! I have not worked with baby eggplants before. They must be so tender and delicious prepared this way. You got me with those yummy caramelized onions. We are still not out of the purple dinosaur stage….. so I guess I have vampires to look forward to next? Can’t wait. LOL. It could be worse. Have a fab rest of the week and the weekend is coming. Not soon enough IMHO. XO

    • Shashi says:

      Hahaha – those vamps aren’t too bad at all – and you are spot on – it could definitely be worse!
      Yay for the weekend! Hope you and your boys have a wonderful one too!

  20. Catherine says:

    Dear Shashi, This eggplant dish sounds marvelous…I love the spices and exotic flavors. Next time, I going to try this…my family would absolutely love it! xo, Catherine

    • Shashi says:

      Thanks so much Catherine! I love spices, (just like that lady with Frank’s Red Hot) I put spices on just about EVERYTHING!
      Hope you have a wonderful weekend xo

  21. Ashley says:

    haha screaming teens are definitely no match for good food!! This eggplant sounds fantastic! I love eggplant but I feel like it’s so underused in my kitchen. I really need to buy it more often!!

    • Shashi says:

      Hey – underused is better than throwing stuff away because you thought you’d use it and didn’t quite – yup am guilty of that!
      BTW – Thanks so much Ashley!

  22. Maria says:

    This spiced and fried eggplant looks amazing!! Can’t wait to try this. 🙂

  23. Eggplants eh? Well as you know Shashi, we call them aubergines here. But what’s the difference between friends anyway? 🙂

    I have never made a spiced dish from aubergines, I normally use them just to make my veggie lasagne, but this looks amazing and as always I love your combination of spices! 😀

    • Shashi says:

      Haha – funny thing is Neil, in Sri Lanka they were called “brinjals”!
      BTW – thanks so much – I think so much about how we use veggies and stuff in our adult years depends on how we experienced them growing up, and I cannot take credit for this as some form of spiced eggplant was in just about every home in Sri Lanka.
      Hope you and lady Lynne have a safe hike this weekend.

  24. Did I read that right? Marshmallows dipped in mouth wash? Lil Shashi! I love hearing the recap from singing dinosaurs to swoon-worthy vampires. I hope you guys do go to that season finale screening! But if you go, pack a snack. Like this spiced eggplant. It sounds like such an easy and tasty dish! We grow a couple of eggplants in our garden every summer, and I need to come back and make this one once those eggplants are ready. 🙂

    • Shashi says:

      Hahaha – I gotta give it to you to spot that tid bit about the Marshmallows in mouthwash! GAH – I don’t know what was thinking – guess I assumed she used mint flavoring and my blue food coloring before I took a big bite – gah – that was the nastiest thing ever! Guess that’s what I get for letting my daughter have “creative freedom” in the kitchen!

  25. Khushboo says:

    Yumm- eggplant is one of my fave veggies yet one that I don’t make nearly enough! This looks so delicious Shashi and you can totally see the ‘Melt in Yo Mouth’ texture going on 😉

  26. My kind of dish! Simple yet very delicious.