Eggplant Tikka Masala

How many of you drool over Indian curries? I am mad for curries πŸ™‚ When the weather is gloomy and dull, there is nothing more comforting than a platter of some Indian curries (any curry !) and butter garlic naans and rice !! Wow, just writing that makes me yearn for some πŸ˜› So, today i thought of making a curry of my own and combing 2 of my favorite Indian dishes into one rich and luxurious curry ! Presenting Eggplant Tikka Masala !!

This week i was looking for some globally loved Indian curries and one of the first ones that popped up on my laptop screen was “Chicken Tikka Masala”. To me it was no surprise as i have seen it umpteen times on the menu cards of Indian restaurants across various countries. Infact it is one of those dishes that are absolutely on the “must try” list for people who venture into Indian cuisine for the first time.. and they always seem toΒ  love thisΒ  dish. Well, it is chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, grilled and cooked with a rich, aromatic and really flavorful tomato and cream curry.. so whats not to love, right !! Unfortunately, I have never tried Chicken Tikka Masala in my life because i am a vegetarian and thought that should not keep me from trying out this curry.

As i read the recipe , the aromatics and flavour combination of the curry started playing on my mind and i thought of making a meatless version for my family.

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Now we all know that Eggplant is a vegetarian’s meat. The texture, color and flavours can be made to substitute meat in various dishes so i thought why not try making a tikka masala version with it?

The result… is mind blowing !! The eggplants do a great job of soaking up the amazing tangy flavours from the yogurt marination and the curry base adds that oomph factor in this curry dish. Since Eggplants are soft, some of it simply melts in the curry while cooking and makes the curry taste even better ! Try it out πŸ™‚

Eggplant Tikka Masala

Eggplant Tikka Masala

  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants / 2 cups eggplant cubes
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Marination

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  • 1 cup non fat yogurt (i used Greek yoghurt), hung
  • 3 tablespoons kala chana Besan ( can also use chickpea flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp rock salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp paprika/ kashmiri chili powder (for the color and the heat)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic,minced
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

Curry Base

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • whole spices (1 stick cinnamon, 2-3 pods of cardamom, 1 bay leaf)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp dry fenugreek / kasuri methi)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup milk (whole milk preferred but you can use skim milk for a lighter curry)
  • 2 tablespoons cream (optional. I use quark/ greek yogurt instead)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

garnishing

  • fresh, chopped coriander
  • dollop of fresh cream/ greek yogurt (optional)

Method

  1. Begin with combining all the ingredients for Marination in a bowl and mix well. Add the eggplant cubes and coat the marination well. Cover the bowl and stick it in the refrigerator for atleast half an hour. After marination is done, remove the eggplant cubes in another bowl and reserve the leftover marination to use in the curry.
  2. Take a non stick pan and add some oil in it. Once the oil is hot, add the marinated eggplants and cook on medium high till the eggplants are a little chared (chared gives the tikka masala it’s distinctive taste) on one side. Now flip the eggplant cubes and cook on the other side till done. Note – You can also bake the eggplants on 375F for 20 minutes in the oven
  3. Meanwhile, let us prepare the curry base. In a pan, add in the oil and butter and let it get hot. Once the oil is hot, add in the whole spices and saute for a couple of seconds. Drop in the chopped onions and saute on high for a couple of minutes or til the onions turn translucent.
  4. Now, add in the tomato puree, tomato paste, red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic and mix well. Cook this till the tomatoes are cooked well and start to leave oil on the sides of the pan (approx 10 minutes).
  5. Add in the milk, cream, coriander powder, garam masala and dry fenugreek. Mix well and cook on high till the mix comes to a boil. Add in the leftover marination to the curry at this time.
  6. Now, gently drop in the cooked eggplant pieces and combine with the curry sauce. Mix well and simmer for 5-7 minutes. The Eggplant Tikka masala is ready to be served !!

Seriously.. this is by far one of the most amazing dishes i have prepared with Eggplants ! It simply amazes me to see how far certain cooking techniques take ingredients and transform them into delicacies πŸ™‚ A humble eggplant surely goes through a mountain of transformation in this dish and the result is amazing ! Soft, juicy and meaty eggplant simmered in a rich, tangy, spicy curry is a magical combination πŸ™‚ Serve with naan breads, rotis, rice or use it as a filling for those tortilla wraps and pita pockets !

My fav pita combination would be – Eggplant tikka msalas + tzatziki and greens !

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17 Comments

  1. Yummm!! Love this take on tikka masala!

  2. Love it!! Very innovative recipe.

  3. Gorgoeus! I’m definitely making this very soon!

  4. Great Idea! I love eggplant and what better than the creamy sauce!!

  5. Pingback: Perfectly cooked aubergine… | foodbod

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  7. I am actually drooling over this dish! A great way to use Aubergines! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  8. Is there any other substitue for Kala chana besan or the chickpea flour? I can’t find them anywhere.. Would plain flour work?

    • Hi Syana. Thanks for writing in. Well yes you can certainly use plain flour instead of chickpea flour but I would suggest you also give a go at the rice flour/cornstarch. Hope that helps

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