Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eggplant Rogan Josh, By Gosh

Indian food is one of those cuisines that I really like - and sometimes even crave - but rarely make at home. That's probably due to the fact that I have always lived in places with a ton of convenient, cheap and tasty Indian restaurants. Me + all-you-can-eat Indian buffet = full, happy, and sleepy.  But a recent spate of disappointing lunches reminded me that if you want something dependably yummy, you really need to learn how to make it yourself.

While hunting around online for inspiration, I came across, of all things, Jamie Oliver's recipes for various curry pastes. I'll be honest, I don't know how authentic these are, but when it comes to curries, I definitely trust the British to steer me in the right direction. 

I was particularly attracted to the deep red of the rogan josh curry paste - it looked spicy, rich, and delicious. The recipe, below, follows his very closely except I tripled the number of hot peppers, and futzed around with seasoning until it tasted right. I've also decreased  the amount of garam masala because I think that flavor can really overpower everything if you're not careful. My research revealed that rogan josh is traditionally served with lamb, but I had other ideas. I got these cute mini eggplants from my CSA, and I figured they would be hearty enough to stand up to something that was meant to go with lamb. I was right! In fact, I ended up throwing just about everything but the kitchen sink into this baby, and it was a great success! 

Eggplant Rogan Josh
For the curry paste:
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 5 " ginger
  • 1/3 -1/2 jar of roasted red pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 fresh red chilis (with or without seeds - it depends on your pepperhead level)
  • small bunch fresh coriander (aka cilantro)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
Toast the cumin, coriander, and peppercorns in a skillet until fragrant; grind in a mortar and pestle.
Next, blend everything in a food processor and pulse until smooth. 
Et voila! Curry paste to use in your very own yummy dishes!

For the dish: (these are approximate measurements - because you have so much curry paste made, you can put in  more or fewer ingredients and adjust the amount of paste you use accordingly)
  • 2 cups of eggplant, cubed and lightly salted. *Note - if you're  using baby eggplant, you can leave the skin on, as it gets very tender. If not, remove the skin.
  • 1-2 potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks, and blanched
  • 1 package firm tofu, drained (paneer cheese would be fabulous here as well)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 - 1 cup plain yogurt 
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 tbsp oil, butter, or ghee (I used ghee)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
In a stockpot, brown the onions over medium heat in the butter or ghee.
Add the eggplant and fry until tender.
Add the potatoes, continue stirring.
Add about a tbsp of the curry paste and stir for another few minutes
Mix the yogurt with enough water to form a buttermilk consistency and add to the pot.
Now add more curry paste according to your own taste. I used a lot!
Gently fold in the tofu and add your peas. 
Reduce heat and simmer until everything is tender.
Add some of the fresh cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasonings and curry/yogurt ratios.
Just look at that bubbling pot of goodness!
I served my rogan josh with an extra dollop of yogurt, a cilantro garnish, and long grain brown rice. 


  1. Great recipe, I like the addition of paprika in it, unusual. What is better than veggies really?

  2. I can't take credit for the paprika unfortunately! But it definitely gives it a nice color and rich taste.

  3. This looks delicious. I need to learn how to make Indian dishes myself, too. It's a part of the culinary world I haven't explored thoroughly yet and it has so much to offer.

  4. I love curry. This recipe sounds delicious! It'll go on my "must make" list! :)

  5. Hmm.. I've got some eggplant from my CSA to use up and this sounds like it might just do the trick! Thanks for sharing!

  6. To everyone: Thanks so much for the positive feedback, and if you make it - please tell me how it turns out!!

  7. Thanks for this recipe. Something new to try for eggplant. Hope mom likes it. She always like the Oriental version for eggplant. But, can't wait to try this.

  8. Rogan josh is always our favorite Indian specialty and what a great idea to make it with eggplant! Terrific recipe!

  9. Indian food is always one of my weaknesses. LOVE the idea of a veggie rogan josh -- sounds just perfect to me!

  10. I'd have never imagined a rogan josh with eggplant, but this sound really good...will try soon

  11. SO glad I came across your blog on FoodBuzz! Love it!
    My favorite veggie is eggplant, and I love Indian food. Your curry paste recipe is a must try, as is everything!
    Best, Amanda