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Eggplant pahi

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

A Sri Lankan recipe from @Ottolenghi that pops with tremendous flavours. I have made this recipe a few times and enjoy this dish a lot. A "Pahi" is a Sri Lankan curry without gravy. This technique allows the flavours to be concentrated, and almost as importantly, it gives the dish the ability to be preserved longer. Usually, a Pahi tastes better the longer it sits. Any number of vegetables can be made using this technique and the dish can be served as a chutney or as a side. The mushy vegetables in this dish come together in a spicy and flavorful concentrated sauce. This recipe has layers of flavour, herby from the lemongrass and pandan leaf, the spices add complexity, the touch of vinegar adds some tart brightness to the dish and it finishes with a lingering heat I enjoy this dish on top of some white bread as an appetizer, or as a side w9th any meal. This dish is always better the next day once the flavours have had time to come together. I adapted the recipe to add whole herbs, lemongrass, pandan leaf, and curry leaves, rather than grinding them into a paste. In addition, I cannot find Ramiro peppers, so I substitute red bell peppers instead. Another great recipe from a fabulous book And cook. This was the recipe that made me order this book on Amazon. I love all of Ottolenghos cookbooks, and this one is definitely a keeper.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


2 large aubergines (750g), halved lengthways, each half cut into 1/2 inch wedges

1 tsp ground turmeric

Oil spray

3 medium onions (450g), finely diced

4 Romano (or Ramiro) peppers (500g), or, red peppers, halved lengthways, deseeded and cut

widthways into 2cm-wide strips

1 mild red chilli, minced

1 tablespoon ginger paste

4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1½ teaspoon curry powder

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 pandan leaf, roughly chopped (optional)

2-inch piece of lemongrass, roughly chopped

About 12 fresh curry leaves

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2½ teaspoons caster sugar/sugar

Salt to taste

Toss the aubergine with the turmeric and a touch of salt in a bowl. Layer in a single layer and spray with olive oil. Broil till cooked through, browned on the outside and soft inside, about 15-20 minutes.

In a deep sauté pan, add the mustard seeds and fry till they pop, about 30 seconds. Add onions to the oil and fry them for about 8 minutes, turning once, until golden. Add the peppers, lemongrass stems, curry leaves, pandan leaf and chilli and sauté for 5 minutes, until the peppers are soft.

Add the rest of the spices, ginger, and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and the vinegar and simmer on medium heat till the water has evaporated and the oils have begun to be released. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt. Gently mix in the eggplant, it will be mushy and you do not want to let them disintegrate.

Serve either warm or at room temperature.

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