Aubergine Cooked with Crushed Mustard Seeds and Yoghurt

A Bengali-inspired dish from Madhur Jaffrey. This vegetarian recipe takes diced aubergine and blends it with crushed black mustard seeds and natural yoghurt.

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This quick-cooking dish from eastern India uses three ingredients that are very typical of Bengali cooking – mustard oil, panchphoran and crushed black mustard seeds.

Serves 4


450–675g (1–1½lb) aubergine
1½ tbsp whole black mustard seeds
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
7 tbsp mustard oil or vegetable oil
1 tbsp panchphoran
1½ tsp salt
250ml (8fl oz) natural yoghurt
⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds


Discard the stem end of the aubergine and dice the aubergine into 2.5cm (1in) cubes.

Grind the mustard seeds lightly in a coffee grinder and then empty into a bowl. Add the cayenne and 250ml (8fl oz) water. Mix and set aside.

Heat the oil in a 30cm (12in) frying or sauté pan over a medium–high heat. When hot, put in the panchphoran. Stir the spices once. Immediately add the mustard seed mixture, the cubed aubergine and 1 teaspoon salt. Keep stirring and cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add another 250ml (8fl oz) of water, cover, and turn the heat to low. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until the aubergine pieces are quite tender. Remove the cover and turn up the heat to boil off about half the liquid.

Just before serving, beat the yoghurt and ½ teaspoon salt with a fork until it becomes a smooth paste and pour over the aubergine. Heat through, but do not bring to the boil. Sprinkle black pepper and ground cardamom over the aubergine, stir and serve at once.


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