Mini Eggplants in Peanutty Sauce

Mini Eggplants in Peanutty Sauce served in small bowls on a wooden cutting board
Photo: Sara Remington
Baby eggplants are simmered in a thick, full-bodied sauce until tender and juicy. Read more about eggplant in our July/August 2018 Savor feature.

SERVING SIZE: ½ cup (95 grams)
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
COOKING TIME: 55 minutes


  • 12 mini eggplants, stems removed
  • ¼ cup unsalted raw peanuts with skins
  • 2 tablespoons dried, unsweetened coconut
  • 1½ teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (40 milliliters) peanut oil, divided
  • 1½ cups thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1¾ cups (410 milliliters) water, divided
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon coriander-cumin powder
  • 1⅓ cup (320 milliliters) no-salt-added tomato puree
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • ½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon salt


  1. Using a knife, make 2 perpendicular cuts down the length of each eggplant, stopping before the base to keep pieces connected.
  2. In a 6-inch skillet, toast peanuts over medium-high heat, turning frequently until skins begin to pop and peanuts develop brown spots, about 5 to 6 minutes. Watch for signs of burning and adjust heat accordingly.
  3. Allow peanuts to cool, remove skins and transfer peanuts to a blender.
  4. Toast coconut in the same skillet over low heat for about 1 to 2 minutes until light golden brown.
  5. Transfer to blender with peanuts.
  6. Add sesame seeds to skillet and toast over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to blender.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon peanut oil in a 3-quart saucepan. Add onions and sauté over medium heat until lightly caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. Transfer to blender with dry ingredients, add ¾ cup water and blend until a paste forms.
  9. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil in the same saucepan over medium heat. Add cinnamon and cloves and cook until they sizzle.
  10. Add onion-peanut paste and sauté until it thickens, all water evaporates and paste begins to look shiny, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  11. Add remaining spices and stir to combine.
  12. Add tomato puree and ¼ cup cilantro and stir to combine.
  13. Add salt and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until oil begins to separate from the sides of the pan.
  14. Add eggplants and stir until they are coated with sauce.
  15. Cover and allow eggplants to simmer over low to medium heat for approximately 5 minutes.
  16. Add 1 cup water, cover and continue to simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  17. Remove the lid and simmer for an additional 5 to 8 minutes until sauce reduces and thickens.
  18. Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve hot.

Cooking note: Purchase coriander-cumin powder from an Indian grocery store, or use ¼ teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin.

Nutrition per serving: 139 calories, 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 269mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 6g sugar, 4g protein, 472mg potassium, 79mg phosphorus

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Sangeeta Pradhan
Sangeeta Pradhan, RD, LDN, CDE, is the diabetes program coordinator of Charles River Medical Associates in Massachusetts, chair of the Central Mass Dietetic Association and nutrition columnist for India New England News. Read her blog, Web Dietitian, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.