Sweet and Sour Brinjal Masala

My father’s sister, Cynthia, was a wonderful cook. She would prepare delicious meals with a variety of dishes in the menu, with a minimum of fuss. She did have a maid, though, to help her with the pre-preparation and grinding, which I don’t have. Therefore, I have reworked the recipe in a way which allows one to make it simply and easily.

Sweet and Sour Brinjal Masala

Sweet and Sour Brinjal Masala

I had tasted this brinjal (egg plant or aubergine) masala only once, and though I had taken the recipe from her, I couldn’t n find it at all. Nevertheless, since I have a fascination for recipes and my taste buds have a good memory, I remembered most of the ingredients. This recipe is a slightly modified version of my aunt’s. I substituted vinegar for tamarind as I felt that it vastly improved the taste. I have also introduced coriander powder, fenugreek powder, and gingelly oil to give it a more rounded flavour. So here is Cynthia Athai’s (aunt’s) brinjal masala morphed into the Sweet and Sour Brinjal Masala. It is makes a delightful combination with Kuska Rice and Chicken Curry.


  • ½ kg Brinjal, quartered
  • 2 big Onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp Ginger–Garlic paste
  • 1 ½ tsp Chilli powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Coriander powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp Mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • ⅛ tsp Fenugreek powder
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • ⅓ C or more Gingelly Oil (Sesame Oil)
  • ½ C water, if needed
  • 1 sprig Curry Leaves


  1. Heat the oil in a wok or kadai. Fry the mustard and fenugreek seeds.
  2. Add the brinjal pieces and fry on low heat till almost cooked. The brinjal should not become mushy; it should still be firm and retain its shape.
  3. Now add the onion and the ginger–garlic paste and salt and fry.
  4. When browned, add the powders and mix.
  5. If it is too dry, add water to prevent the brinjal from shrivelling.
  6. Add the sugar and vinegar and keep frying till a glaze appears. Add the curry leaves and mix.
  7. Remove and serve.


  1. I use only fresh ginger–garlic paste, not the commercial ones. I make large quantities of the paste, ginger and garlic in equal proportion, and store it in an airtight bottle in the refrigerator. It usually keeps for two weeks.
  2. If 1 tsp vinegar is not sufficient, another teaspoon could be added to enhance the sweet and sour taste.

4 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Brinjal Masala

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