Seychellois aubergine & chickpea cari

by Selina Periampillai

A bowl of pure, wholesome, warming goodness

The combination of aubergine, chickpeas and sweet coconut milk makes this ʻcariʼ divine, tumbled over steamed white rice, with some Island-style rotis to scoop up leftover sauce.

I have used ʻkala chanaʼ—these are small, dark brown chickpeas with a nutty flavour. They can be sourced in Asian stores either tinned or dried in packets. If you cannot find them, you can use a tin of normal chickpeas.


1 aubergine, chopped into 3cm cubes
Sea salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 curry leaves, fresh or dried, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tomato, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp Seychellois massalé or mild curry powder
1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 x 400g tin of kala chana chickpeas or regular chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve


First, mix the chopped aubergine in a bowl with 1 tsp salt and leave for 15 mins, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Add 2 tbsp oil to a frying pan over a high heat and tip in the aubergine. Fry for 6-8 mins, until golden brown on all sides. Do this in batches, so they all cook evenly. Set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil to a large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion, curry leaves, chillies and garlic together for 2 mins, until the onions have softened slightly, stirring occasionally to avoid any sticking at the bottom of the pan. Next, add in the tomato and cook for 2 mins more, until it starts to break down into the sauce.

Sprinkle in the turmeric, massalé or curry powder and cinnamon. Stir well into the onion and tomato mixture, which will turn a bright yellow.

Deglaze the pan with 50ml water, stirring frequently to lift up any bits sticking to the pan. Add in the coconut milk, potatoes and ½ tsp salt. Lower the heat and let this simmer for 15 mins, before adding in the chickpeas and fried aubergine and cooking for a further 5 mins.

Check the potatoes are tender and taste for seasoning. Sprinkle over black pepper and parsley and serve with lime wedges.

Recipe: Selina Periampillai
Image: Yuki Sugiura