Yotam Ottolenghi’s aubergine recipes (2024)

Aubergines are, for me, the gift that keeps on giving. For all the aubergines that I’ve grilled, roasted, charred, steamed, peeled, fried, blitzed and sliced in my life, there always seems to be some new way to cook them or a new combination of flavours to pair them with. Here I look to Sri Lanka and China for inspiration, before fusing two much-loved Middle Eastern favourites.

Aubergine and red pepper pahi with fenugreek and curry-leaf oil (pictured above)

There are many versions of this lipsmackingly delicious, sweet-and-sour Sri Lankan dish. This one uses coconut cream for richness and sweet red peppers. If you can’t find a pandan leaf (look for them in specialist south Asian food stores), just omit it from the spice paste. Serve the pahi at room temperature, but you can make the aubergine base a day before to get ahead – the flavours get even better with time.

Prep 30 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4 as a side

2 aubergines (500g), quartered lengthways, each quarter cut lengthways into 4, then cut into 4cm pieces
2 red peppers, halved, stems, seeds and pith removed and discarded
2½ tbsp olive oil
Fine sea salt
60ml coconut vinegar
, or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp demerara sugar

For the spice base
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
, peeled and thinly sliced (180g)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
10g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
40 fresh curry leaves
1 pandan blade, middle stem removed and discarded, the leaf roughly chopped (10g)
2 tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground turmeric
20g coconut cream

For the fenugreek oil
45ml olive oil
25 fresh curry leaves
¾ tsp fenugreek seeds
, crushed in a mortar

For the coconut cream
25g coconut cream
2½ tsp lime juice

⅛ tsp demerara sugar

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9. Put the aubergines and peppers on a lined baking tray, add two and a half tablespoons of oil and a half-teaspoon of salt, then toss to coat. Roast for 25 minutes, until lightly golden and slightly charred in places, then take out of the oven. Once the roast veg are cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the pepper skins, tear the flesh into roughly 4cm pieces, then set aside with the aubergines.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil and onions for the spice base in a large saute pan on a medium-high heat, and saute, stirring, for 10 minutes, until soft and slightly golden.

While the onions are cooking, put the garlic, ginger, curry leaves, pandan (if using), spices and coconut cream in a food processor, add 200ml water and blitz for four to five minutes, until it’s like a paste. Scrape this into the onion pan with a half-teaspoon of salt, turn down the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for seven to 10 minutes, until the oil splits. Gently stir in the aubergines, until they’re well coated in the spice mixture.

Mix the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl, add to the pan and cook for two to three minutes, until the vinegar is absorbed. Stir in the peppers and leave to cool.

For the fenugreek oil, put the oil in a pan on a medium heat and, once it’s good and hot, fry the curry leaves for two minutes, until translucent. Add the fenugreek and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, stir for 30 seconds, then take off the heat.

In a small bowl, mix all the coconut cream ingredients and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, then set aside.

Transfer the pahi to a high-sided plate, spoon on first the coconut cream followed by the fenugreek oil, then serve at room temperature.

Prawn-stuffed aubergines in tamarind tomato sauce

Yotam Ottolenghi’s aubergine recipes (1)

Inspired by Chinese stuffed aubergines – a dish I love –the sweet-and-sour tomato sauce takes the dish in a slightly Middle Eastern direction. Earmark the filling and sauce to use in other meals, too: shape the filling into patties, for instance, sear on both sides, then simmer in the sauce.

Prep 15 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4

2 aubergines, cut into 2cm-thick rounds (600g)
150g raw king prawns
100g sustainably
sourced haddock fillet (or other similar white fish), cut into 6 pieces
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
55g spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped, 5g reserved for serving
15g coriander, roughly chopped, plus 1 tbsp extra for serving
10g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
⅛ tsp turmeric
Fine sea salt
70g cornflour
olive oil
5 fresh plum tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp tamarind paste
⅛ tsp white
or black pepper

Working with one aubergine slice at a time, use a small, sharp knife to cut a slit in the side to create a pocket for the stuffing to go into – take care not to cut all the way through.

Put the prawns, haddock, garlic, spring onions, coriander, ginger and turmeric in the small bowl of a food processor with half a teaspoon of salt, then pulse to a thick paste. Using a tablespoon, fill each aubergine pocket with one to two tablespoons of the paste, then gently push it inside so the whole pocket gets filled.

Put the cornflour in a small bowl, coat both sides of each aubergine slice, pressing them in and brushing off any excess, then transfer to a tray. Put a large frying pan on a medium-high heat and, once it’s hot, add two tablespoons of olive oil. Fry half the stuffed aubergine slices for three to five minutes on each side, until golden, then return to the tray and repeat with the remaining aubergines and oil.

Meanwhile, using the coarse side of a grater, grate the tomatoes into a small sieve set over a bowl and discard the skins. Leave to drain for five minutes, then set aside both the pulp and the tomato water.

Wipe clean the aubergine pan, return it to a medium-high heat and add the remaining two tablespoons of oil. Once it’s hot, add all the spices bar the pepper, and cook, stirring, for a minute, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato pulp, tamarind and a half-teaspoon of salt, then nestle the stuffed aubergines in the sauce, and cook for four minutes, flipping them once halfway, until the sauce thickens. Gently stir in the tomato water to loosen the mix, then cook for another two minutes, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the aubergines.

Sprinkle on the extra coriander and spring onions, grind over the pepper and serve.

The Guardian aims to publish recipes for sustainable fish. Check ratings in your region: UK; Australia; US.

Aubergine and chraimeh b’siniyah

Yotam Ottolenghi’s aubergine recipes (2)

This brings together two Middle Eastern/Mediterranean dishes that I adore: b’siniyah, a comforting meat casserole with a tahini crust, and chraimeh, a spicy Moroccan tomato sauce. The combination is a vegan showstopper; it’s also a great make-ahead dish, as good at room temperature up to a day after making it as it is warm out of the oven.If you like, serve this with a mixed herb salad in a simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing.

Prep 35 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Serves 6-8

2 aubergines (500g), peeled in alternate strips, so they’re striped like a zebra, then cut into 3cm cubes
2 onions, peeled and cut into ½cm-thick rounds (360g)
350g cherry tomatoes, stems discarded
60ml olive oil
Fine sea salt and black pepper

For the chraimeh
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp paprika
¾ tsp caraway seeds
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
1 jalapeño chilli
, stem discarded and flesh roughly chopped (remove the pith and seeds, too, if you prefer less spice)
1¼ tsp cumin seeds
45ml olive oil
2 tbsp tomato
40g dried sour cherries
, or dried cranberries soaked in lemon juice

For the batter
90g tahini
170ml whole milk
, soy if you want the dish to be vegan
40g fine polenta

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9. Put the first four ingredients in a large roasting tray with three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and toss to coat. Roast for 40 minutes, until the aubergine and onions are charred and soft and the tomatoes blistered and falling apart, then remove. Keep the oven on.

Meanwhile, put the first five chraimeh ingredients in the bowl of a small food processor with three-quarters of the cumin seeds, the oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a heavy grind of black pepper, and blitz to a coarse paste. Put a small frying pan on a medium-high heat, add the spice paste and tomato puree, and cook, stirring, for a minute, until dark and sticky. Stir in the dried cherries and 250ml water, bring to a simmer, then cook for two minutes, until the mix thickens slightly and splits.

Put all the batter ingredients in a medium bowl with an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and whisk smooth.

Transfer the roast vegetables to a shallow, 28cm ovenproof casserole dish, pour the chraimeh on top, then pour over the batter so it covers everything evenly. Bake for 12 minutes, until the batter is spongy and bubbling, then remove and turn on the grill to its highest setting. Once it’s very hot, grill for five minutes, until lightly charred, then remove and leave to rest for five minutes. Meanwhile, toast the remaining cumin seeds in a dry pan, scatter them all over the top of the dish and serve.

Just before serving, mix all the ingredients for the herb salad ingredients in a small bowl with an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, scatter this all over the top of the casserole and serve.

  • This article was edited on 24 July 2023, to clarify when to add the tamarind to the sauce base for the prawn-stuffed aubergines.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s aubergine recipes (2024)
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