Slow Cooked Aubergine and Lentil Curry
An aubergine and lentil curry cooked in the slow cooker for all the flavour and none of the hassle – and no bitterness.
Do you eat a lot of aubergine? It was never something I ate a lot of growing up – just the odd moussaka. When I started trying to cook it as a student I treated it pretty much like courgette – frying, grilling or roasting it fairly quickly. However, where courgette quickly turns to slime if overcooked, my aubergine remained stubbornly tough and bitter.
Over time I’ve learned that aubergine is much tougher than it looks, and prefers a longer cooking time to really bring out that sweetness, however you choose to cook it. Why I didn’t try it in the slow cooker sooner I’ll never know, but I’ll certainly be doing it again. It was melted and sweet, infused with yummy spices, and not slimy.
Aubergine (egg plant) is widely used in Indian cooking. It has a meaty texture and absorbs flavours readily – all things that make it perfect for a curry. Serve this hearty aubergine and lentil curry with rice, chapatis or just bread to take your aubergines to a new level. I think it would be just as nice if you swapped the spices for garlic, stirred in some basil at the end, and served with fresh bread for a Mediterranean style feast.
In India it’s traditional to serve a vegetable curry alongside a lentil curry such as a dal and that’s how we often eat Indian food in our house, but I love this aubergine and lentil curry because the lentils are integrated into the main dish – it’s a one pot curry. I can’t claim it’s authentic Indian though – just a hearty warming meal with Indian inspiration. With no added fat, this is the perfect healthy winter warmer.
Aubergine (eggplant) Size
The aubergines here are all of a standard size, but aubergines (eggplant) can vary quite a bit, so I weighed and measured them as I made it this time. They all varied between 9-10 oz and 5-8 inches. That’s roughly 255-283g and 12-22cm.
As these are quite small I sliced them, then cut each slice into four quarters. If yours are a bit bigger than this you may want to cut each slice into more pieces so the chunks aren’t too big. That will stop the aubergine/eggplant from getting too bitter. Of course, if your aubergines are bigger, use less of them too.
Step By Step
Original article published on 12 April 2016. Edited and photos replaced on 25 September 2017 and 22 January 2019
An easy, low fat slow cooker curry. This vegan dish cooks the aubergine to perfect sweetness.
- 6 aubergine/ egg plant
- 8 oz lentils
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes 400g/14 oz
- 4 tsp coriander
- 4 tsp turmeric
- 4 tsp cumin
- 4 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
- 1.5 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp extra hot chilli powder
- 1 vegetable stock cube Sufficient to make 1 litre of stock/bouillon
Cut the aubergines into quarter slices – or for big aubergines, small chunks- and place it in the slow cooker, along with the lentils.
- Open the tins of tomatoes and add them to the slow cooker.
Mix in the spices. Boil the kettle. Mix the cornflour/cornstarch together with a little water to form a paste and stir it in.
Mix the ingredients in the slow cooker thoroughly. Mix 600 ml freshly boiled water from the kettle with the stock cube and pour it in. Cook on medium for 6 hours or on low for 8 hours.