Skip to content

How to make Japanese-style aubergine curry

Rustle up a vegan spin on the classic Japanese dish with this aubergine katsu curry-inspired recipe. It's packed with warming, umami flavours and finished with a side of tangy pickled radish. Don’t forget to grab the handy ingredients shopping list at the bottom of the page.

  1. Pickle the vegetables

    In a bowl, mix together all the pickled radish ingredients. The lemon juice is key to pickling the radish. It seasons and cures, making the radish release its liquid and soak up the flavour. If you have rice vinegar, that works well too. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

    Pickle the vegetables
  2. Peel and salt the aubergines

    In a colander set over a plate, sprinkle both sides of the aubergine evenly with the salt and set aside.

    It is important to peel the aubergines first, as this helps the breadcrumbs coating stick and will ensure the vegetables soak up less oil when fried. Salting concentrates the flavour and softens the texture, making it tender.

    Peel and salt the aubergines
  3. Blend the sauce

    Heat the 1 tbsp oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Fry the onion and carrots for 10 mins or until softened. Stir in the garlic and ginger, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 mins, adding a splash of water if needed. Add the 3 tbsp flour and the curry powder; cook for 1 min, stirring. Add the stock and apple and stir well. Increase the heat to medium and simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. Season with the maple syrup and soy sauce. Blend the sauce until smooth.

    Blitzing the sauce in a blender or food processor gives it its signature silky texture so make sure to blend until it’s completely smooth. You could also use a stick blender to whizz the sauce directly in the pan.

    Return the sauce to the pan (if necessary), cover and keep warm on a low heat until you are ready to serve. Meanwhile, cook the rice to pack instruction.

    Blend the sauce
  4. Coat the aubergines

    Dry the aubergine slices with kitchen paper, pressing down to squeeze out the moisture, then rub with the miso paste.

    In a bowl, whisk the remaining flour with 140ml water to make a thick batter. Put the breadcrumbs in another bowl. Working one at a time, dip the aubergine slices in the batter, drip off any excess so the breadcrumbs stick and cook evenly, then gently coat in the breadcrumbs, making sure you cover both sides and the edges very well. Leave to set for 15 mins, which will ensure a stronger coating for frying.

    Coat the aubergines
  5. Get the oil hot

    Line a baking tray with kitchen paper and preheat the oven to gas 2, 150C, fan 130C. Pour oil into a large, deep, heavy frying pan to fill just under 2cm deep (300-400ml, depending on the size of the pan). Heat the oil until very hot (180C); it should be shimmering and just starting to smoke*. At this temperature the food forces out steam, which stops the oil from being absorbed.

    Get the oil hot
  6. Fry in batches

    Working in batches, slide 3-4 aubergine slices into the hot oil and cook for 3-4 mins each side. It’s important to maintain the temperature of the oil when deep-frying. If you overcrowd the pan, the temperature will drop. Be careful of the hot oil spitting when sliding the slices into the pan.

    Remove with a metal slotted spoon or tongs and transfer to the prepared tray to absorb any excess oil. Keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining aubergine.

    Fry in batches
  7. Serve your aubergine curry

    Serve the aubergine with rice, curry sauce and pickled radish on the side.

    For a crisp side salad to enjoy with your curry, toss shredded veg with soy sauce, rice vinegar, a little sugar and sesame seeds.

    Serve your aubergine curry
  8. Ingredients

    We've made a handy shopping list so you can get everything you need to make this aubergine katsu curry. Don't forget to screenshot before you go shopping!

    2 aubergines, peeled and sliced into 1cm-thick rounds
    ½ tsp salt
    300-400ml vegetable oil, plus 1 tbsp
    2 onions, thinly sliced
    2 carrots, peeled and diced
    6 garlic cloves, crushed
    6cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
    100g plain flour, plus 3 heaped tbsp
    4 heaped tsp hot curry powder
    1 vegetable stock pot, made up to 650ml
    ½ apple, grated
    1 tbsp maple syrup
    1 ½ tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
    300g jasmine rice
    40g miso paste
    150g panko breadcrumbs

    For the pickled radish

    1 lemon, zested and juiced
    1 tsp brown sugar
    ½ hot red chilli, sliced
    150g radishes, very thinly sliced

    Serves 6

    Freezing and defrosting guidelines

    Freeze sauce only. In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.

    *Never fill a pan more than two-thirds full of oil before frying. In case of fire, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid or a metal baking sheet to extinguish the flames. Never leave hot oil unattended.

    Each serving contains

    • Energy

    • Fat

      16g 23%
    • Saturates

      2g 10%
    • Sugars

      13g 14%
    • Salt

      2.1g 34%

    of the reference intake
    Carbohydrate 97.6g Protein 12.5g Fibre 5.4g