Spicy brinjals

Spicy brinjals

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  • Makes about 1 litre
  • Easy
  • Meat-free
  • 10 minutes
  • 40 minutes

These spicy brinjals make a welcome addition to your mezze spread. Enjoy with pitas and hummus. This recipe is created by the founder of Cape Town deli Sababa, Tal Smith.


  • 800 g brinjals, cubed
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 t garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 t paprika
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • ½ t ground cumin
  • 2 T sugar
  • 100 g tomato paste
  • 2 x 400 g cans chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup water

Cooking Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix the brinjals in a bowl with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a baking tray lined with baking paper until golden and soft. This should take about 20–30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Fry the onion in the oil with the salt and pepper until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and chilli.

3. Add the spices and cook for a further minute. Mix in the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and sugar. Reduce the heat and cook for 20 minutes.

4. Once the sauce is ready, mix it with the roast brinjals while still hot.

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Photographs: Russell Smith
Production: Khanya Mzongwana
Food Assistant: Emma Nkunzana

Tal Smith Recipe by: Tal Smith
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Tal Smith is the owner of Sababa, a middle-Eastern deli and restaurant in Cape Town.

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