This 30 Minute Chickpea Aubergine Curry recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal. It’s quick to make, simple and incredibly flavourful! Serve over basmati rice and with a side of bread to top it up a notch, you won’t want to leave a single drop of sauce on the plate. By the way, if you follow a special diet, this recipe is naturally vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free. What else can one ask for?
Since you often ask me about the inspiration and where I get my ideas from, let me share with you a short story :P. Today’s recipe is based on the “Curry de garbanzos y berenjena de La Cuchara Azul.” Talking with Asu and Ana, the 2 sisters behind La Cuchara Azul (the Blue Spoon), about making one of their recipes, I opted for this one because, besides how good it looked, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t shared a curry recipe on the blog yet (I had over IG, but I haven’t had the time to upload them here yet)!
In the UK, while I was living in Oxford, I discovered Indian cuisine (well, and Thai and Nepalese and…), it’s really popular there. And as you can imagine, from the restaurant to learning how to make things at home (naan, dahl, curries…). Like many cuisines, it has some complicated dishes, but it also has many within anyone’s reach. It requires though to stock your pantry with some extra spices besides the classic Mediterranean ones, but they are easy-to-find spices nowadays, I promise. I hope to encourage you to make curry at home with this Chickpea and Aubergine Curry recipe!
30 Minute Chickpea Aubergine Curry Ingredients
As promised, cooking a curry doesn’t need to be complicated, and it all starts with the ingredients list. You’ll see that this recipe only calls for ingredients that one can find in any supermarket :).
- Chickpeas: since it’s a quick recipe, today I am using canned chickpeas. Nowadays, there’re very good brands that don’t have any weird ingredients on the label, so using them can sometimes be life saving. If you have dried chickpeas and/or prefer to cook them yourself, here I explain how you can cook them.
- Aubergine (eggplant): it adds texture and flavour (it’s one of my favourite vegetables by the way 🙂 ). La Cuchara Azul suggest salting them and leaving them for half an hour in a colander so they release all their bitterness. I have skipped this step because the aubergines I buy at the neighbourhood greengrocers never turn out bitter, and it also saves me some time :P. Besides, I find that if we poach them very well, together with the coconut milk, any trace of bitterness that might exist “disappears”.
- Onion: a classic ingredient of Indian (and Spanish) cuisine, it adds such a good flavour.
- Curry: there’s an infinite variety of curry mixes, but lucky us we can currently find good ones in any supermarket or spice shop, which is what really matters. Asu and Ana use yellow curry paste, but since I had yellow curry powder at home, I used the latter.
- Coconut Milk: I love the aromatic touch it brings and if your curry is spicy, it works great to balance the heat. If you don’t like it, you can replace it with vegetable broth or just water. If you take a look at the original recipe, you’ll see that it calls for water, desiccated coconut and cornstarch (to thicken), but as they suggest, you can substitute this with coconut milk. By the way, when using coconut milk, you don’t really need a thickener (that is, you don’t need cornstarch), because the coconut milk already helps with thickening the sauce. Important note! Do not mistake it with coconut water – coconut milk has fat content and usually comes in a can, while coconut water usually comes in a carton and is basically the water inside the coconut.
- Olive oil: we need it to sautée the veggies.
- Salt and Pepper: needed to enhance the flavours.
Optional ingredients for serving:
- Rice: I love basmati or jasmine rice for this dish because they are more aromatic than other rice varieties, but whichever one you have at home will work. The point is to have something to leave no trace of the curry sauce at the end ;).
- Bread: naan, bazlama, even pita… not only is it used to dip into the sauce, but also, as Indians do, it’s like a spoon, and that’s because a curry+bread bite is a next level thing!
- Parsley or coriander: a touch of colour is always a good idea, because curries that don’t use tomato… well, they can seem a bit bland if we only consider their colour, which is very misleading.
Why Do You Sautée The Spices before Adding the Coconut Milk?
Sautéing the spices with oil first activates all of their aromas. Moreover, the aromatic chemicals of each of the spices used in the curry powder react with each other creating a more unified aroma. You only need 30s-1min since ground spices can burn very quickly, which would ruin all their flavour and the dish.
Can It Be Prepared Ahead?
Yes Yes Yes! It’s one of those dishes that is even more flavourful on the next day, so you can easily make it a day or two in advance. You’ll see how all the flavours settle and the curry tastes even better if possible. So if you don’t have time to prepare it during the week, you can make it during the weekend in batch cooking mode :). Plus, you can double or triple the quantities and freeze portions for later – from 30 minutes, we’re down to a 5-minute meal next time!
How to Store this Chickpea Aubergine Curry
To Store: Place the cooled curry in an airtight container or jar, and store for up to 5 days in the fridge.
To Freeze: Place the cooled curry in an airtight container, jar or freezer-safe bag even. Store for up to 2-3 months in the freezer.
More 30-Minute Comfort Food Recipes You’ll Love
If you make this 30 Minute Chickpea Aubergine Curry recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
30 Minute Chickpea Aubergine Curry
- 1 onion - finely chopped
- 1 medium aubergine - cubed
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp curry powder - I've used yellow curry (see notes)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 400 g chickpeas - drained and rinsed (drained weight)
- 1 can coconut milk - (400 ml)
- Olive oil
- Basmati rice - or Jasmine
- Flatbread - naan, bazlama (there's a recipe on the blog), pita
- Fresh parsley - or coriander
- Cover the bottom of a medium-sized pot with olive oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook until translucent and slightly golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the aubergine with the salt. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the aubergine begins to soften.
- Stir in the black pepper and curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 30s-1 minute.
- Add the chickpeas and coconut milk. Fill 2/3 of the coconut milk can with water and add it to the pot. Stir to combine, bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for about 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. If the sauce thickens too much, add additional water to thin. adjust saltiness.
- To serve, divide the rice among bowls and spoon the curry overtop. Top with fresh parsley and serve with a side of bread. Enjoy!
- If your curry is very mild, I suggest you add 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (for a heat touch) and 1 tsp turmeric.
- It’s one of those dishes that is even more flavourful on the next day, so you can easily make it a day or two in advance. Plus, you can double or triple the quantities and freeze portions for later – from 30 minutes, we’re down to a 5-minute meal next time!
- How to Store this Chickpea Aubergine Curry
- To Store: Place the cooled curry in an airtight container or jar, and store for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- To Freeze: Place the cooled curry in an airtight container, jar or freezer-safe bag even. Store for up to 2-3 months in the freezer.