Stuffed Indian Eggplant


By Andrea Nguyen

There are many kinds of eggplants in Asia and the egg-shaped Indian variety is particularly wonderful. It peaks during hot months and as the season winds down, I make this terrific Indian recipe, which I learned from Ruta Kahate’s 5 Spices, 50 Dishes. You’ll find the Indian eggplants at South Asian markets as well as at some farmer’s markets where they’ll be sold by Asian farmers. In California where I live, Hmong farmers are my summer time go-to source for eggplants. They have a medium-thick skin and creamy flesh, and are much smaller than the regular globe variety. You can certainly grill them, but better yet, stuff them with a rich mixture of ground peanuts and sesame seeds and let them get kind of crusty. Serve warm or cold.

Indian Eggplant Stuffed with Sesame-Peanut Masala

Serves 4

1/4 cup toasted white (hulled) sesame seeds

1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves

2 teaspoons water

8 Indian eggplants, or 6 small Italian or Japanese eggplants (1 1/2 pounds total)

3 to 4 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup water

1. For the filling, use a mini food processor to grind the sesame seeds, peanuts, sugar, salt, turmeric and cayenne to a crumbly texture. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cilantro and water to create a compact, spreadable mixture. Set aside.

2. Use scissors to trim the eggplant stems so that they are about 1/2 inch long. Use your fingers to remove the green pointy flaps of the eggplant caps. Make a deep cross incision in each eggplant, stopping 1/2-inch short of the stem. To do that, position each one on its side on your cutting board. Hold it down with one hand while you wield the knife with the other hand to make the first horizontal cut. Roll the eggplant 90 degrees and make the second horizontal cut.

3. Use a teaspoon to stuff each eggplant with about 1/8 of the filling. Gently pry open the eggplant, stuff in the filling. Make sure there is filling between each of the cuts. Gently squeeze the eggplant to make the filling sticks and fills the crevices.

4. Pour the oil into a large nonstick skillet over medium heat to film the bottom. When hot, add the eggplants in a single layer. Fry the eggplants for 3 to 4 minutes, turning frequently, to brown them on two sides. Don’t fret when some of the filling spills out. Add the remaining 1/4 cup water, cover with a lid or foil, and turn the heat to low. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning halfway through, until tender. Pierce with the tip of a knife to test. There will be filling in the skillet bottom. If you want to crisp those bits and serve them with the eggplant, increase the heat to medium high and fry for 1 to 2 minutes, until crisp. Remove from the heat, let the sizzling subside, then transfer to a plate and serve hot or warm.


Posted in Indian, Recipes


  1. Anonymous said...

    That sounds Great!

  2. Anonymous said...

    I make these a fair bit – several versions. There’s a version I make with amchoor that has a nice tang. They re-heat beautifully, too.

  3. Ideabot said...

    Bought Indian eggplants a few days ago. Couldn’t pass them up at 39 cents a lb. Didn’t have a recipe for these small jewels. Consulted with an Indian co-worker and she recommended I stuff them as that was her favorite preparation for this vegetable. Mark’s recipe adds sesame and peanuts to her recipe. I also added 1/2 tsp of garam masala from her recipe. This is a very flavorful and satisfying dish. The recipe is a keeper!

  4. Mike Osman said...

    I first learned of this from Ruta Kahate too. It made converts of all my eggplant hating friends. It’s become one of my signature dishes. The sesame peanut masal with a hint of cayenne and a lot of cilantro make this a savory, sweet and herbal dish.

  5. Susie said...

    These were delicious! Kids couldn’t eat them 🙁 and the heat was almost too much for me (and I love spicey food) so I will cut the red pepper in half next time. Also a note – the garlic is not included in the instructions. I figured it out but it should be added so that someone doesn’t accidentally leave it out.

  6. Steve said...

    Made this last night, man was it good.

  7. Cindy said...

    Yum! Did not have cilantro so I susbsituted salsa; it turned out amazing! Used honey roasted nuts too as sub for regular peanuts/ sesame / sugar.

  8. Indian Dishes said...

    Hi John,
    None at the moment but will definitely explore it. Do keep a look out here for them.

  9. QQs Mom said...

    Trying this out tonight with what I have in the house … I have honey roasted nut mix (cashews, almonds, pecans) and added the sesame and a little brown sugar. Didn’t have enough cilantro in the garden as it’s barely sprouting now but added a little mint and tongho (Asian veg that’s kind of like arugula). Found it much easier to stuff with fingers than a teaspoon. In the pan now, can’t wait to try, they look delicious. Thanks for recipe!

  10. Serena said...

    I picked up a bag of these beautiful little eggplants at Sprouts the other day, and then had to figure out what to do with them. I found this recipe, and modified it with what I had on hand:

    Trader Joe’s Thai chili cashews instead of peanuts
    Fresh mint instead of cilantro
    Added shredded, unsweetened coconut instead of sesame seeds
    Left out the cayenne and kept everything else the same

    It was AMAZING!!! Husband asked that I put this dish into regular rotation.


  11. Thomas said...

    Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 cbneu

  12. Claire said...

    This is the first time I have ever seen these and the store where I bought them had no idea how to prepare them! These are a great surprise for family or guests..Love them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *