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Burnt aubergine pickle with garlic yoghurt

Side Vegetarian
Serves 6
Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 30 min
Pickling 2 hr - overnight
Featured in
OTK Extra Good Things cookbook

This pickle is super special on its own: keep a jar in the fridge to spoon on to a jacket potato or spread inside a cheese toastie. Be sure to start making the recipe the day before, leaving the pickle to settle in the fridge overnight (the flavours only improve with time). Here it’s served with yoghurt, to be eaten as a mezze with flatbreads, but this is optional. Use a dairy-free yoghurt to keep it vegan.


300g greek-style yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 spring onions (30g), trimmed and thinly sliced at a sharp angle
1 tsp nigella seeds, toasted
1kg aubergines (about 4), poked all over 7–8 times with a fork
1 1⁄2 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
120ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped (180g)
40g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp caster sugar
60ml apple cider vinegar
salt and black pepper


  1. Make the burnt aubergine pickle by first preheating a well-greased griddle pan on a high heat. Once smoking, add the aubergines and grill for 40 minutes, turning as necessary, or until nicely charred all over and softened. Set aside and, when cool enough to handle, remove and discard the stems and skins. Transfer the flesh to a colander set over a bowl and leave to drain for 20 minutes, discarding the collected liquid. Roughly tear apart the flesh into strands and set aside.
  2. Put the fenugreek and cumin seeds into a small frying pan and place on a medium-high heat. Toast for 3–4 minutes, until fragrant, then transfer to a spice grinder and blitz into a fine powder. Alternatively, use a pestle and mortar (and a little arm work!). Stir in the turmeric.
  3. Put 90ml of the oil into a medium sauté pan on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly coloured and softened. Add the ginger, tomato paste, ground spices, sugar, 11⁄4 teaspoons of salt and a good grind of pepper and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring often. Add the vinegar, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Stir in the aubergine and set aside to cool. Transfer to a large sterilised jar, seal the top of the mixture with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, then cover with a lid. Set aside for the flavours to settle for at least a couple of hours, or get ahead by making it a day in advance and storing in the fridge. Remove from the fridge and bring back up to room temperature before serving.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, garlic and 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Spread the mixture on a large plate and top with the burnt aubergine pickle. Sprinkle all over with the spring onions and nigella seeds and serve.