Monday, 29 November 2010

Indian aubergine pickle: Hamper project no.2

This is a real delight, a Claudia Roden recipe which first appeared in her classic Book of Jewish Food. I discovered it in the recently published Leon Book 2, as I was looking for Christmas hamper inspiration. Intense, rich, fragrant and juicy, it's perfect with cold meats, a curry, or use it like Branston's in a doorstop Cheddar cheese/roast beef sandwich (as I did with the leftovers that didn't make the jar, pictured above).

In retrospect, I might have used the smaller, thinner Middle Eastern aubergines, rather than our big fat European ones. The slices are just enormous! And, there are just a few air bubbles in my jar. I'm sure this won't be a problem in the short term, but if you were looking to store the pickle for 3-6 months, it would be advisable to prod the aubergine slices with a skewer/fork to drive away the bubbles before sealing.

It will keep for a few months, refrigerated.

Here's the recipe, lifted shamelessly from the (very good) Leon cookbook:

Makes: 1 large jar
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins
  • 1kg aubergines
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded
  • 5cm piece fresh ginger
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 250ml wine vinegar
  • 250ml toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 100g sugar
  • sea salt
Sterilise your jar(s).

Cut the aubergines into 1.5cm slices. Blend the chilli, ginger, garlic and cumin with a little of the vinegar in a food processor.

Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large pan and add the mustard and fenugreek seeds. When they start to crackle, add the curry leaves along with the ginger and chilli paste. Cook until the mixture becomes a golden colour.

Add the turmeric, sugar, and remaining vinegar and stir well. Add the aubergines, season with salt, and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

Allow the mixture to cool, then pour it into a jar. Cover with the remaining oil.


  1. This looks gorgeous - definitely one to make.
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Hi there. I thought the pic didn't quite do it justice, so pleased to here it still makes you want to have a go. It's a winner, I promise.