Burnt aubergine veggie chilli

April 15, 2020
Family Verdict:


  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
    70g puy lentils or green lentils, rinsed
  • 30g red lentils, rinsed
  • 400g can kidney beans
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 20g dark chocolate
  • , finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • ½ lime, juiced

  1. If you have a gas hob, put the aubergine directly onto a lit ring to char completely, turning occasionally with kitchen tongs, until burnt all over. Alternatively, use a barbecue or heat the grill to its highest setting and cook, turning occasionally, until completely blackened (the grill won’t give you the same smoky flavour). Set aside to cool on a plate, then peel off the charred skin and remove the stem. Roughly chop the flesh and set aside.
  2. In a large pan, heat the oil, add the onion and carrots with a pinch of salt, and fry over a low-medium heat for 15-20 mins until the carrots have softened.
  3. Add the aubergine, both types of lentils, the kidney beans with the liquid from the can, soy sauce, tomatoes, chocolate, chilli powder, oregano and the spices. Stir to combine, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to very low. Cover with a lid and cook for 11/2 hrs, checking and stirring every 15-20 mins to prevent it from burning.
  4. Remove the lid and let the mixture simmer over a low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 mins until you get a thick sauce. Stir in the lime juice and taste for seasoning – add more salt if needed. Serve hot over rice with whichever accompaniments you want.


Apologies that the dish picture here is not mine. I have made this recipe many times and each time, the pictures I have taken have not done it justice which is why it has taken so long to get this recipe up here. That is a shame, because this is one of the tastiest recipes I have tried for a while - the fact that it is veggie and has 4 of your 5 a day is an incidental, which to me is a sign of a successful veggie recipe.

I am, thanks to Ottolenghi, Y, a great fan of the mighty aubergine especially when, as here it is charred first. It is an intoxicating flavour and a silky (if I suspect some would say slimy) texture. For those who dont like them I would suggest trying this anyway, as the aubergine melts into the chilli in a fabulous way. The resulting chilli, is like the best chillis, a multi-level taste experience. There are many different flavour reveals and it is deeply savoury and rewarding. I would heartily reccomend it.

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