Aloo Baingan (Eggplant and Potato Curry)
Aloo Baingan (Eggplant/Aubergine and Potato Curry) may seem like a humble weeknight dish. But when cooked well, it turns into something you can proudly serve to guests. This recipe is easy-to-follow, ready in under an hour, and packed with flavor. Tested to perfection!
“My first time to try a curry dish but defiantly not the last. This recipe was delicious! My friends loved it, also. I feel like a gourmet cook. Thank you. “Jeanie
Aloo Baingan is a Pakistani & North Indian-style vegan curry made with potatoes (aloo) and eggplant (baingan or brinjal). Though not as glamorous as Baingan Bharta, Aloo Baingan can be just as exciting when made well.
The secret to next-level Aloo Baingan is to pan-sear the eggplant before adding it to the curry. Pan-searing the eggplant elevates the flavor while giving it better texture. That said, you can choose to skip this step if you’re in a hurry. I’ve made this plenty of times without pan-frying and it’s still delicious and perfectly balanced in flavor.
Aloo Baingan Ingredients
This Aloo Baingan recipe requires simple ingredients commonly used in South Asian cooking.
Here are a few things to note:
- Eggplant: Choose a small to medium globe variety eggplant. If you’d like, you can also use other varieties of eggplant and adjust the cook time.
- Indian eggplants (also called baby eggplants) take longer to cook than globe eggplants.
- Japanese eggplants (the long, slender one) can work here with the same cook time.
- Spices: This recipe uses familiar spices such as coriander powder, cumin, red chili, turmeric, and black pepper. At the end, we finish off with garam masala or chaat masala for a tangy/chatpata kick.
- Garlic & ginger: You can either use a food processor to finely chop the garlic & ginger or crush them using a mortar and pestle.
- Green chili pepper: Use a small Thai chili pepper or half of a Serrano for a medium-spicy curry. You can increase or decrease this amount to adjust heat.
- Potatoes: I use russet potatoes in this recipe. If you use a different type of potato (such as red potato), you may need to increase cooking time. (For more recipes with potatoes, check out my 10 Pakistani and Indian Aloo (Potato) Recipes.)
How To Make Aloo Baingan
Here’s how to make it in 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Pan-Fry the Eggplant
- Pan-fry the eggplant in a skillet for 3 minutes on each side, or until you get a nice char to it. (Remember, more browning = more flavor.) You don’t need to fully cook here as it’ll finish off cooking with the potatoes in the curry.
- If you skip this step, simply place the chopped eggplant in a bowl of water and proceed with the recipe. This helps prevent the eggplant from browning.
Step 2: Make the Base of the Curry
- Sautéing patiently is key here. Make sure the onions are nice and golden before adding the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes until they disintegrate into the curry and oil starts to separate from them. At any point if the masala starts sticking to the bottom, add a splash of water to deglaze the pan. This process gives this curry so much depth. (Trust me, I’ve tried skimping on this and it’s just not the same.)
Step 3: Cook the Potatoes and Eggplant in the Curry
- Once you’ve made the base (or masala), add in the potatoes & eggplant and cook until the vegetables are tender. Garnish & serve!
How long to Cook Eggplant in Aloo Baingan
Because of its high water content, I find eggplant is best slightly mushy or disintegrated into a curry (just like zucchini). Otherwise, the eggplant oozes out too much water in the finished curry. I know some people would prefer it more in tact, which is why I thought this quick table would help.
|Preferred Texture of Eggplant||When to Add Pan-Seared Eggplant||Eggplant Cook Time|
|Completely mushy/Bharta-like||Add along with the potatoes||25-30 minutes|
|Mostly mushy with some pieces intact||Add 10 minutes after adding the potatoes (what this recipe calls for)||15-18 minutes|
|Slightly mushy with most pieces intact||Add 15 minutes after adding the potatoes||10-12 minutes|
How to make this Aloo Baingan in an Instant Pot
As I mentioned earlier, the eggplant contains lots of water, which is all contained in the Instant Pot. After you pressure cook it, you’ll be left with plenty of water that you’ll have to sauté out. This makes for excessively mushy eggplant. If you’re okay with that, here’s how you’ll make it in the IP:
- Press Sauté on your Instant Pot and set to More. Once the IP turns to ‘Hot’, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds and onions. Sauté for 8-10 minutes, until the onions are golden.
- Deglaze with 2 tbsp of water and ensure no bits are stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the chopped tomatoes, green chili pepper, all spice powders, and salt. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until tomatoes are softened.
- Add the eggplant and potatoes and stir to mix. Cancel sauté, close the lid and move pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook and set the pressure level to High, with a cooking time set to 3 minutes.
- When pressure-cooking is complete, quick-release the steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Select Cancel to turn off the Instant Pot, then carefully open the pot. Add green chili pepper and the finishing oil. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until no excess water remains and the oil starts to separate from the curry.
For more tips on cooking with the Instant Pot, check out my guide on How To Use The Instant Pot For Indian And Pakistani Cooking. If you are in search of more Pakistani Instant Pot recipes, take a look at my collection of 15+ Pakistani Instant Pot Recipes.
Tips For Making Aloo Baingan
- The masala will initially taste salty, but potatoes and eggplant can take plenty of salt. You’ll find it’ll balance out toward the end. If you find it’s a tad too salty, add a bit of plain, whole-milk yogurt.
- Add 1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain) while pan-frying the eggplant to give it extra flavor.
- Pan-fry the potatoes before adding them to the curry (just like the eggplant).
What To Serve With Aloo Baingan
Since this is a somewhat ‘dry’ curry without much curry/salan, I find it goes best with any type of bread such as roti, naan, or paratha. That said, it’s also quite enjoyable with basmati rice. Plain, whole-milk yogurt or raita offers a cooling contrast to eggplant curries.
More Aloo (Potato) Recipes You’ll Love
- Aloo Palak (Spinach & Potato Curry)
- Keema Aloo (Ground Beef & Potato Curry)
- Aloo Anday Bhurji (Scrambled Egg & Potato Curry)
- Mixed Vegetable Curry (Aloo Matar Gajar)
- Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower & Potato Curry)
Tried this recipe? If you have a minute, please consider leaving a comment & star rating telling me how it was! If you’re on Instagram, please tag me so I can see your creations. I truly love hearing from you! Thank you!
Aloo Baingan – Eggplant and Potato Curry
- 1 small to medium (~450 g) globe variety eggplant, unpeeled
- ¼ cup neutral oil, plus more for pan-frying the eggplant
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 medium (~245 g) yellow onion, finely chopped
- 6-7 (~1 tbsp) garlic cloves, crushed
- 1- inch (~1 tbsp) piece ginger, crushed
- 2 medium (~300 g) tomatoes (or 3 small), finely chopped
- 1 small green chili pepper such as Thai or Serrano, sliced
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili powder, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp kosher salt, or 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 medium (400-450 g) russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into ¾-1” cubes (place in a bowl of water to prevent browning)
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp garam masala or chaat masala, optional
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Heavy-bottomed pan with lid
- Slice off the stem of the eggplant. Then continue to slice the eggplant widthwise into 3/4 inch-thick rounds. Dice the rounds into 1-inch cubes.
- Place a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ¼ cup oil to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the eggplant in a single layer (you may need to do this in 2 batches) and pan-fry for 3 minutes, until golden brown. Then flip the pieces and pan-fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add oil as needed and distribute as needed because the eggplant has a tendency to absorb oil. Remove onto a plate and set aside. (See Note 1)
- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for a few seconds. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until lightly golden (~8-10 min). Deglaze with 2 tbsp of water.
- Once the water dries up, add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute, until the raw smell disappears and the onions deepen in color. Add the tomatoes, green chili pepper, all spice powders (except garam masala), and salt. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and the oil begins to separate from them (~4-5 minutes). If needed, add 2 tbsp of water to deglaze the pan and help the tomatoes disintegrate into the masala.
- Once the oil has separated from the curry base/masala, add the potatoes. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes to soften. Add 1/2 cup water and stir to mix.
- Turn the heat down to low-medium, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the pan-fried eggplant (See Note 2) and cook for another 15-17 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it's sticking to the bottom of the pan, deglaze with 1/4 cup of water. The eggplant should get mushy and the potato should be very tender.
- If needed, raise the heat and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the oil starts to separate again and most of the eggplant has disintegrated into the masala.
- Adjust salt and seasoning if needed. Turn off the heat and sprinkle in cilantro, garam masala or chaat masala (if using), and lemon juice. Serve hot with roti, naan, or any type of bread.
- place the eggplants in a large bowl and fill with water to prevent browning.
- add the potatoes & eggplant at the same time (Step 5). This will make disintegrated eggplant and in-tact potatoes.