This spicy eggplant is so easy and makes an amazing side dish. The recipe here is for Indian style oven roasted eggplant, but you can also make it in the skillet. Pick this one as a side with the many delicious Indian main courses we have for you.
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Oven Roasted Eggplant (Indian Style)
My mother used to make a delicious and easy Indian eggplant side dish in the skillet. She sautéed eggplant with a crushed mixture of fresh garlic, dried red chilies and coconut.
And then cooked it until it was creamy and fork tender but with crispy caramelized edges. It was so flavorful and paired very well with simple daal and rice.
The recipe here is adapted from that idea, but I make it in the oven as I find it so much easier. I can make large quantities of the eggplant side dish and don't have to keep stirring or checking on it. You can make Indian shredded cabbage recipe in the oven too!
Besides, I can control the amount of oil used to cook the eggplant, with no loss in taste. You can also make this in the air fryer.
- Eggplant: I choose from globe/American, Italian or Japanese eggplant varieties. Select fresh, firm, medium size eggplant that is heavy for its size and with a shiny, smooth and vibrant purple skin. Also make sure that the stem is still green.
- Cooking Oil: I use peanut oil, avocado oil or olive oil.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic for best flavor.
- Red Chili Flakes: It adds some heat and taste.
- Dried coconut: I use Bob’s red mill unsweetened dried coconut flakes. You can also try desiccated coconut or grind dried coconut slices available at Indian grocery stores.
- Cumins seeds: This is optional.
- Herbs: I use fresh cilantro for garnish.
- Lemon Juice: Sprinkle some fresh squeezed juice if you like.
- Salt: To season and balance the flavors.
How To Make Spicy Roasted Eggplant
Brief overview below. *Full recipe at the end of blog post.
- Seasoning Mixture: Combine crushed garlic, coconut flakes, red chili flakes, salt, cumin seeds and olive oil.
- Combine: Cut eggplant in cubes. Add the eggplant to the seasoning mixture and toss to coat well.
- Roast: Spread eggplant on baking sheet. Bake until tender and edges are golden, flipping in between. Garnish with herbs and lemon juice.
Select eggplant carefully.
Cut it into large pieces for the seasoning mixture to stick well on all sides.
Season appropriately. Don't use too much salt, chili flakes or lemon juice.
Follow the steps and tips for roasting the eggplant carefully, making sure to cook until soft and fork tender.
How To Serve It
- Side: Serve it as a simple side dish.
- With Rice: It is so comforting with plain rice and some stew or curry - tomato chicken, chana dal or egg curry.
- With Flatbreads: Try it with some skillet flatbreads or whole wheat naan with shallot yogurt dip.
- With Meats/Chicken or Fish: Easy pan kebab, chicken kabobs, seared fish or kotlet (meat patties).
- Lower Carb: Enjoy it with cucumber raita.
Roast the eggplant ahead. Make the seasoning mixture and store in refrigerator to have it readily available for a quick side dish.
This spicy eggplant dish keeps well in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 days. Freeze it in freezer-safe containers.
This roasted Indian style eggplant side dish is low carb, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, egg free, dairy free, nut free, and grain free.
- Low Sodium: Reduce the salt and increase the spices and herbs as per taste.
- Flavors: Other flavors that go well with eggplant are thyme, chives and parmesan. It is not Indian, but tastes great.
If the eggplant skin is not too thick, then you can roast it with skin on. This helps hold the soft flesh together. And the skin of eggplants is also a source of some nourishing phytochemicals. You may choose to peel some of the skin away in zebra stripes.
These days most eggplants do not need salting, especially for this type of recipe. If you do want to salt your eggplant ahead of roasting, then sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of salt on the eggplant pieces and let it rest for half hour. Rinse and pat dry before tossing with oil and seasonings.
Eggplant does not have a strong flavor and can take on many flavors and also pairs well with a wide range of dishes. For an Indian style eggplant, I mostly use earthy spices such as cumin and coriander seeds. Highly aromatic spices such as cardamon and cinnamon may not be necessary expect if you are making eggplant biryani.
Choose fresh eggplants that are firm, feel a bit heavy for their size and have a vibrant color.
This spicy eggplant side dish is very healthy, filling and flavorful. Checkout the serving suggestions above to include this in your diet.
Eggplants are high in fiber and low in calories and carbohydrates. Hence are great for those on low carb diets. They are a good source of potassium, folic acid, manganese and phytochemicals. The skin of eggplants is also a rich source of anthocyanins, plant pigments with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
More Vegetable Side Dish Recipes
- Moroccan Carrot Salad
- Oven Roasted Cauliflower Potatoes (Aloo Gobi)
- Spicy Oven Roasted Okra
- Mirchi Ka Salan (Chili Pepper Curry)
★ DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE COMMENT AND GIVE IT A STAR RATING BELOW!
Spicy Eggplant Side Dish
- 1 pound eggplant Italian, Japanese or globe variety, medium size
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 6 cloves garlic crushed, about 2 tablespoons
- 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut or unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds optional
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash the eggplant, wipe it dry and cut it into 1½ inch cubes. Tip: See note for peeling eggplant.
- Combine olive oil, crushed garlic, red chili flakes, coconut flakes, cumin seeds and salt. Add eggplant and toss to coat the eggplant with the seasonings and spices very well.
- Arrange eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake until fork tender for about 30 minutes (time may vary with oven). Flip the eggplant pieces in between, making sure to cook until soft and fork tender inside and edges are caramelized.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool couple minutes and stir once again. Top with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of lemon juice.
- Transfer to a serving dish. Serve with steamed rice, stews or curries.
- Eggplant: Select fresh, firm, medium size eggplant that is heavy for its size and with a shiny, smooth and vibrant purple skin. Make sure that the stem is still green.
- Peeling: If the eggplant skin is not too thick, then you can roast it with skin on. You may choose to peel some of the skin away in zebra stripes.
Dried coconut: Try desiccated coconut or grind dried coconut slices available at Indian grocery stores. Or use Bob’s red mill unsweetened dried coconut flakes.
- Make Ahead: Roast the eggplant ahead. Make the seasoning mixture and store in refrigerator.
- Storage: It keeps well in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 days. Freeze it in freezer-safe containers.
- Don't use too much salt, chili flakes or lemon juice.
- Stove Top Instructions
- In a large skillet over medium high, heat 3 tablespoons oil and add eggplant. Stir fry until edges are golden brown and center is soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add salt, garlic, red chili flakes, coconut, cumin and toss well. Continue to cook 5 to 10 minutes until edges are caramelized and eggplant is cooked through.
- Top with cilantro and lemon juice as per taste. Turn off the heat and serve with rice.
- For more information on ingredients, variations, FAQs and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.