Beautiful, butter-soft aubergines simmered in a rich makhani sauce for three hours are what you’ll be dreaming about tonight. It’s velvety smooth and perfect with basmati rice and fluffy Garlic and Coriander Naan.
I’ve recently fallen in love with my slow cooker and have been batch cooking soya mince and black bean chilli, spicy coconut daal and this delicious Aubergine Makhani. The basis my sauce is an irresistible combo of butter (it’s not a makhani without butter!), tomatoes, selective spicing and a touch of cream to finish. It makes for a perfectly-balanced sauce to coat juicy aubergine pieces.
Slow cooking is a great way of making sure your aubergines remain chunky and don’t fall apart. If you’re looking for an equally delicious aubergine recipe where they are first blackened, then mashed, head this way.
One of my favourite dishes to eat in Indian restaurants is Paneer Makhani or Paneer Butter Masala. If it’s on the menu, there’s a 99% chance I’ll be all over it. After trying it in a number of different restaurants, I soon discovered what I liked about my favourites and disliked about the others and got to work perfecting a recipe of my own. It’s the combination of ground coriander, cardamom, kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and creamy and tangy tomato sauce which really makes it so satisfying. Season liberally with salt and sugar too – you need to balance the intense spices and sour tomatoes.
If you’re not a fan of aubergines, this easy vegetarian makhani sauce recipe is also amazing with chickpeas, tofu, paneer, potatoes, cauliflower… or whatever else you fancy. I add a pinch of chai masala for a deeper heat but this is totally optional. If you don’t have any, leave it out.
It’s so easy to make in a slow cooker – there’s no separate cooking, it all goes in at once and is finished with a touch of cream, kasoori methi, flaked almonds and fresh coriander.
Slow Cooker Aubergine Makhani
3 large aubergines, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 x 500g bottles passata (sieved tomato pulp)
2 tbsp concentrated tomato puree
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp coriander seeds, finely ground
2 tsp garam masala
Seeds of 6 cardamom pods, finely ground
¼ tsp fennel seeds, finely ground
3 small red chillies, chopped finely
¼ tsp chai masala (optional)
50g butter, melted
1 ½ tbsp sugar
3 tsp salt
100ml double cream, to finish
1 tsp kasoori methi, to finish
Toasted flaked almonds, to garnish
Chopped coriander, to garnish
Red onions, to garnish
1. Place all of the ingredients in the slow cooker apart from the aubergines, cream and kasoori methi. Give it a good whisk.
2. Fold in the aubergines and make sure they’re well coated. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on the high setting for 3 hours.
3. Don’t stir the curry too much – you want your aubergine to remain chunky so try to leave it to do its thing.
4. After around 3 hours, the aubergine should be beautifully soft. Remove the lid and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
5. Finally, rub the kasoori methi between your palms and add to the curry. Finish with the cream, mixing thoroughly for a delicious creamy finish.
6. Garnish with flaked almonds, red onions and chopped coriander.
Serve with basmati rice and/or Garlic and Coriander Naan. Probably best to have both, though. Obvs.