South Indian Pickled Eggplant

Autumn is here. It’s raining more frequently and the days are quickly becoming darker. Not that we care – we only have two weeks left in Sweden! As you probably can understand there is a lot of packing, planning, ticket booking and apartment renting going on. We haven’t decided yet where we are going after California, but we are dreaming about backpacking in Vietnam, Wwoofing in Costa Rica or just relaxing in Thailand.

With all these things spinning around we haven’t had a second left to share new recipes with you guys. Until today. This spicy pickled eggplant recipe is perfect for the autumn – full of flavors, garlic and chili. You can have it on bread, as a side dish or in a vegetable pot, and it will probably also cure your cold …

Some years ago we attended an Indian Cooking Class together with Luise’s mom and we were amazed how everything that we made that night tasted so genuine Indian. Somehow we lost all the recipes from that night but a couple of days ago Luise’s mom sent us this eggplant recipe together with her story from that night.

I learned how to make this South Indian Pickled Eggplant when we attended an Indian food class in Copenhagen. The class was lead by 2 wonderful danish women, who often travel around India to learn how to cook genuine Indian food. With a great entuthiasm and humor they then arrange their spicy food classes in cold cold Denmark. The classes always end with a feast of 20 different dishes, naan bread and Indian beer. I am very inspired by the South Indian kitchen and since then I always keep a jar of Eggplant Pickles in my fridge to spice up the boring danish kitchen …

South Indian Pickled Eggplant
Makes around 2 jars

1/2 cup olive oil
10 cloves garlic, minced
½ tbsp fenugreek seeds
½ tbsp cumin seeds
1 dried red chili, mashed
½ tsp mustard seeds
6 – 10 curry leaves

1 cup vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp salt

2-3 medium size eggplant, cut into small cubes
2 inches ginger, minced
1½ tbsp tumeric
2 fresh green chili, cleansed and sliced

Heat the olive oil in a thick pot, add fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds. Let it boil for a short while and then add garlic. When it has turned light brown add red chili, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Fry while stirring over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add vinegar, water and salt, stir around and then add eggplant, ginger, tumeric and green chili. Let it boil for at least 20 minutes. Cool off and pour into glass jars. Store them in the fridge.


  • darlene Gorey
    where can I find curry leaves
  • Beth
    I've newly discovered your blog and hope you can answer this question for me even though this recipe was posted some time ago... I'm dying to try this pickled eggplant recipe, since my husband loves Indian food, Indian pickle, spicy food, etc. I'd like to clarify though how much eggplant you mean by "2 to 3 medium size eggplants". This can vary by quite a bit depending on what kind of eggplant you're using, and I didn't see this specified in the recipe. Can you give an approximate measurement (i.e., in cups)?
  • Christopher Heath
    A wonderful Aubergine dish and one i will make time and time again. Thx for all the recipes on your blog they are really really nice and now are our go to recipes when we need some inspiration.
    Hi there!!! The picture looks yummy, and the recipe is nice too.. but I am not sure which south Indian cuisine it is derived from....South Indians do not use vinegar in cooking, we use Tamarind juice/pulp instead, try it next time.. you guys will love it ! :)
  • Amy
    Hi -- how long does this last in the fridge for? Thanks.
  • Patti
    Do you have any cookbooks? Thanks p.s. looking for christmas gifts.
  • Maraya
    Seems like a lot of turmeric compared to the other spices. Did you mean teaspoons rather that tablespoons? Or is it normal to use a larger proportion of turmeric in pickles than in curries? Thanks for the recipe! I'm trying it out right now.
  • mitjak
    Great recipe which I'll enjoy trying. Just wanted to compliment your blog design, however: a gorgeous theme, and especially love the collage of recipes on the home page. My eyes enjoyed reading the beautifully typeset pages.
  • Just made this tonight and it's sooo delicious - thanks for the recipe! And the story :)
  • Valeria
    btw your photo of the cubed eggplant looks great! Oh, one question... are you traveling and leaving Sweden for good? or is it just for vacations or something of that sort?
  • I'm such a huge fan of aubergine think its a very versatile vegetable not just for Indian cooking but otherwise too. Ur Indian cookery class w 20 dishes & Indian beer sounds amazing. Love ur blog. I bet the pickle tastes scrummy!
  • I've never had much luck preparing Indian food at home but maybe I'll go the pickling route to meet success. You've made it seem very do-able here and your recipe uses one of my favorite vegetables. Thanks!
  • Cumin, red pepper, and curry? Wow, that will definitely clear up a cold! That looks delicious, too!
  • Valeria
    oooooooohh goodie! this sounds so yummy :D can't wait to try it.. although I just started school today so I'll have to wait for the weekend... I'll tell you how mine came out
  • Oh, that looks divine. I am making that and eating it all myself.
  • Christine
    Oh this sounds so yummy! I only wish my husband liked eggplant :( And I'm also enjoying reading about your upcoming travels. I am 12 months into an 18-month maternity leave and would much prefer to have such a wonderful trip lying ahead, as opposed to going back to work! I hope you will continue to blog while on your travels. Best of luck!
    • Hi Christine! I've never been a BIG fan of eggplant either... But now I've learned to like grilled eggplant 'burgers' and love these delicious pickles, so maybe you should try to make them for him anyway ;) he might actually like it! We are looking forward to keep blogging while we are traveling, I'm glad to hear that you will keep reading! /Luise
  • Karen
    How wonderful! How long do they keep in the fridge?
    • If you use clean jars and seal them straight away they will make it for at least a month in the fridge (unopened). An opened jar will stay fresh in the fridge for about five days. /Luise
  • Oh, this sounds delicious! Indian is such a weakness of mine :)
  • The words Indian, pickled, and eggplant all in one title make me so utterly ecstatic, and these are three of my favorite foods/types of foods. This looks absolutely beautiful and I can only imagine how wonderful it tastes. I'm absolutely going to be making this soon!
  • What a terrific recipe! I'm curious to see what curry leaves look like. Never cooked with them before. Nor fenugreek seeds (though I have eaten them before). Great post!

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