Anjula Devi’s Roasted Aubergines with Fresh Coconut

Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes (includes 30 minutes marinating)
Serves 4

‘Aubergines are a hit or miss for many people. If you pair them with the right spices and sprinkle with a little salt to help remove some of the bitterness, aubergines come into their own. It is technically a fruit, but is used as a vegetable. It’s grown all over the world, and comes in many different varieties. Rich in antioxidants, aubergines are an excellent source of dietary fibre. They also contain vitamins B1 and B6 as well as potassium, magnesium and copper.’


  • 8 small slim aubergines
  • 2 tbs freshly grated coconut (frozen is fine)

Key Spices

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds

Warming Spices

  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Other Spices

  • 1 tsp mango powder

Wet Ingredients

  • Juice of 1 whole lime
  • 200 ml natural plain yogurt
  • 8 fresh curry leaves, ripped into small
  • pieces (optional)
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pulped garlic
  • 1 tsp pulped ginger
  • 1 tsp sundried tomato paste
  • 1 fresh green chilli, minced
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1 tsp grated jaggery


  • Small bunch of coriander including stalks chopped finely
  • Zest of one whole lime


  1. Butterfly the aubergines in half lengthways, opening them like a book, and then gently flatten.
  2. Score the surfaces with a criss-cross pattern, place in a large bowl, squeeze the lime juice over them, then sprinkle a little sea salt, add the natural yogurt, curry leaves, turmeric powder and red chilli flakes and ensure you coat the aubergines well. Set aside.
  3. Take a small dry pan and set on a low heat, add the cumin seeds and brown mustard seeds and the warming spices.
  4. Gently warm through for 1 minute, remove from the heat, place in a pestle and mortar, and grind to a powder.
  5. Add the contents of the pestle and mortar to the aubergines along with the coconut oil, garlic, ginger, sundried tomato paste, green chilli, mango powder and jaggery. Mix thoroughly, cover and leave in a cool place to marinate for 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile toast the fresh coconut on a low heat until light golden-brown. Set aside to cool.
  7. You can either cook the aubergines on hot coals outdoors or under a hot grill for just 3 minutes on either side. Remove from the heat, mix together the lime zest, toasted coconut and fresh coriander and sprinkle over the top of the aubergines.
  8. Serve with fresh chapattis, and a chutney of your choice.

Spice for Life by Anjula Devi includes meat and fish recipes too and is published by Clearview Books

Photography by Dan Jones.  Priced at £25 and available from Lakeland and all good bookshops. ISBN: 978-1908337-375