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Baingan masala or brinjal masala in rectangular earthenware bowl with cilantro garnish.
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5 from 10 votes

Baingan Masala

This baingan masala or eggplant/brinjal masala is so easy to make and so delicious with melting slivers of eggplant in a fiery red tomato onion sauce mellowed with peanuts. Suitable for vegan, keto, gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free diets.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Baingan Masala, Brinjal Masala, Eggplant masala
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 158kcal



  • 2 medium eggplants (I used Italian eggplants. Use any variety other than the large globe eggplant. Cut the eggplant into slivers about two inches long and three-fourths of an inch thick. If using the small Indian eggplants you can leave them whole with the stem on and make two crosswise cuts from the top of the eggplant almost all the way to the stem)
  • 2 medium potatoes (Cut into slivers. Use red or yellow potatoes)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (If you don't have the paste use four cloves of garlic and a 1-inch knob of ginger.)
  • ¼ cup peanuts (lightly roasted. If nut-free substitute with 2 tablespoon lightly roasted sesame seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne (or paprika, or any red chili powder. Use less or more depending on your heat preference)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander (coriander powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (cumin powder)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro (coriander leaves, or mint, finely chopped)


  • Air-fry the eggplant and potatoes: Place the eggplant slices in the air fryer basket and air-fry at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, tossing the basket halfway through to ensure everything cooks evenly. Repeat with the potato slices. You can coat the veggies with a bit of oil if you want before you air-fry but it is not necessary. Alternatively, if you don't have an air-fryer, fry the vegetables in a couple of tablespoons of oil until they are semi-tender. You can also toss the vegetables with a bit of oil, arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer, and broil them on high for 5-10 minutes.
  • Blend the masala ingredients: Place the masala ingredients--onions, tomatoes, ginger garlic paste and peanuts--in a blender and blend into a smooth puree. Set aside.
  • In a wok or saucepan heat the oil. Add cumin seeds and, when they sputter, add the blended masala paste. Be sure to keep the heat low when you do this as the masala will sputter and bubble.
  • Add remaining spices: These are garam masala, turmeric, cayenne or paprika, ground coriander and ground cumin. Add ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix.
  • Cover the wok and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat or a medium flame until the masala is darker and glossy. Stir a few times in between so the masala doesn't stick. A good indicator of whether a masala paste has cooked is to check for droplets of oil separating and floating on top. Because we use very little oil in this recipe you likely won't see droplets on top but a glossier look and a darkening of the tomato paste is a good indicator that the masala is ready.
  • Add the eggplant and potato slices to the wok. Mix them in and add ½ to 1 cup of water at this point to create a sauce. Cover again and let the veggies cook until they are tender. Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  • Garnish with cilantro or mint and serve hot.


  • Substitute the chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) with chopped mint for a lovely, soothing, summery finish to the spicy baingan masala.
  • You can make a dry baingan masala (instead of a saucy one) by adding very little to no water to the sauce as it cooks. If you do that, be sure to stir regularly to make sure the spices don't stick.
  • You can make this baingan aloo masala low-carb friendly by leaving out the potatoes, which will reduce net carbs to 6 per serving.


Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 681mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 448IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2mg