Vegan Aubergine Pathia

Pathia is an ancient Parsi curry from Persia, it is hot, sweet and sour. Chillies supply the heat, jaggery adds sweetness and tamarind, the savoury sourness. There are quite a lot of chillis in this recipe but the heat is offset by the tamarind and the sweetness of the sauce. The recipe is adapted from 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi. The directions are quite precise and a bit too fiddly I thought initially but if you go with it and follow it to the letter, it makes a really good, rich and tasty curry!

Serves 4 as a main or 6-8 with side dishes.


  •  10 baby aubergines (~4-5 inches long)
  • 1½ teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 3-5 green chillies, chopped (depending on how hot you like it!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ¾ tsp coriander powder
  • ¾ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ tsp fresh turmeric, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery
  • 10 curry leaves
  • a small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • pinch of salt


  1. Cut the aubergines in half, sprinkle with salt and set aside in a bowl for 30 mins.
  1. Rinse the salt off the aubergines, pat dry and griddle on a medium heat until soft and slightly charred with a criss-cross pattern, set aside.


  1. Grind the green chillies, 2 of the garlic cloves and the cumin seeds into a paste (toast the cumin seeds first in a small pan if you want extra flavour). I used a Nutribullet and added a little water.
  1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan and fry the onions until they are soft. Add the ground paste and fry for 2 minutes, stirring well.


  1. Add the cumin, coriander, red chilli, garam masala and turmeric. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  1. Add the tamarind, the jaggery, curry and coriander leaves and salt. Taste and adjust the sour, sweet, and salt flavours to your liking. Add 200ml of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  1. Lay the aubergines out flat in an oven dish and spoon the sauce over them. Leave some bits peeping out!
  1. Bake in a warm oven (150°C) for an hour until the sauce becomes sticky and starts to burn slightly at the edges.


  1. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with naan bread or brown basmati rice.


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