Clove-infused stuffed aubergines


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

Small, slim aubergines are used to make this traditional dish, Baingan Ke Lonj. The aubergines are sliced along most of their length, leaving them joined at the top, and these cavities are stuffed with a spicy onion paste tempered with clove and cinnamon. The aubergines are then tied shut and gently simmered in an onion sauce. This dish goes well with rice, bread or lentils.


  • 400 g/14 oz small, slim aubergines (eggplants)
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 10 ml/2 tsp ginger purée
  • 1–2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped (deseeded if preferred)
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp chilli powder
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp garam masala
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cm/½ in piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 fresh tomato
  • sprigs of fresh coriander (cilantro), to garnish
  • wedges of lime, to garnish
  • rice and/or Phulkas and a lentil dish, to serve


  1. Trim off the stalks from the aubergines. Cut them lengthways from the bottom to the top, leaving about 1cm/½ uncut at the top end so there are two conjoined slices that can be opened up and stuffed. Take care not to slice all the way along the length or the dish will not work.

  2. Carefully place the aubergines in a large bowl of salted water and soak for 15–20 minutes. This helps remove any bitterness.

  3. Meanwhile, heat half the oil over a medium heat and add the onion, ginger and chillies. Stir-fry for 4–5 minutes, until the onion is soft.

  4. Reduce the heat to low and add half the salt, along with the turmeric, chilli powder, coriander and cumin. Cook for 1 minute, then stir in the garam masala and remove from the heat.

  5. Drain the aubergines, rinse them and dry with a clean dish towel.

  6. Stuff the aubergines with the onion mixture, using about 5ml/1 tsp of mixture per aubergine. Tie them up with a piece of thread in a criss-cross fashion. Reserve any remaining onion mixture.

  7. Heat the remaining oil in a large pan over a low heat. Add the cloves and cinnamon. Let them sizzle for a few seconds, then add the aubergines and the remaining salt.

  8. Increase the heat to medium and cook the aubergines, stirring, for 3–4 minutes. Add any reserved onion mixture and pour in 500ml/18fl oz/2 cups warm water. Bring it to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes.

  9. Cut the tomato into quarters, remove the seeds and finely slice each piece into julienne strips, for a garnish.

  10. At the end of the cooking time, remove the lid and cook, uncovered, for a few minutes longer, if necessary, to reduce the sauce. There should be very little liquid left and the thickened spice paste should coat the aubergines.

  11. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully remove the threads holding the aubergines together, keeping them intact. Serve each aubergine with some of the sauce, accompanied by rice and/or Phulkas and a lentil dish of your choice.

Per portion Energy 188kcal/779kJ; Protein 3.9g; Carbohydrate 15.6g, of which sugars 9g; Fat 13g, of which saturates 1.6g; Cholesterol 0mg; Calcium 59mg; Fibre 3.8g; Sodium 9mg.