eggplant + tomato curry with buttered millet

It’s such a funny thing being in contact with so many people from all corners of the world on a daily basis. When we’re in the midst of our cold winters (yes, it does get cold here in Perth… for a moment at least!), all my friends from the top part of the world are posting photos of the beach, berries, cherries, peaches and ice cream. You couldn’t get two seasons more opposite than summer and winter, but as we start to warm up into spring and the top of the world cools in autumn, it almost feels like we crossover in a lot of ways. The last of the summer fruits up there are just hanging on as we start to see the first glimpses of ours appearing down here, local tomatoes are starting to ripen as the glut off late-season ones fall in the northern hemisphere. It’s great. For a brief moment we don’t feel too far apart from the rest of the world. 

I’m working on a bunch of recipes that will be featured on a US site next month, so it’s a good thing eggplants are something that grow nearly all year round here! I know for my NZ readers and some of my Australian readers this recipe won’t be that great for this time of the year, but for once my US/UK readers will be stoked!

p.s Thank you all SO much for you kind words on my last post. xx
Here’s a few other millet recipe you may like:
– Spiced pumpkin + millet porridge (sweet breakfast porridge)
There’s also a bunch of great millet recipes in my cookbook.

Eggplant + tomato curry with buttered millet
This curry can be made vegan, simply by using olive oil in the curry and millet. Any leftovers will happily store in a covered container in the fridge for 2-3 days. I left chilli out of this so my kids would eat it, however 1 long red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped would be lovely in here. Just add it along with the garlic and ginger. I’ve given the basic method for cooking millet below, however I usually soak my millet grains overnight in cold water with a touch of apple cider vinegar, to help make it more digestible. The following day, strain off the water and rinse the millet. You can then continue on with the recipe as below, reducing the water to 1 1/2 cups (not 2 cups). I use Kialla organic hulled millet.
Serves around 3-4, as part of a larger meal. It’s easily doubled to feed a crowd.

1 large eggplant (aubergine)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
a good pinch ground cinnamon
3 large tomatoes, cores removed and finely diced
2-4 tablespoons water
the juice of 1/2 lemon
coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve

1 cup (210g) hulled millet
butter, ghee or extra virgin olive oil

Chop the top off the eggplant, then dice into 1cm pieces. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle over the salt and then mix well to evenly distribute. Set aside for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile get all the ingredients ready for the curry (chopping garlic, grating ginger etc). 

Place a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a splash of olive oil or a little ghee then add the millet. Cook, stirring often for a minute or so, until toasty smelling. Remove from the heat and carefully add 2 cups cold water (or 1 1/2 cups if using soaked grains, see headnotes), it will splutter a little so be careful. Return to the heat, add a good pinch of sea salt and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes before fluffing it up with a fork. Add a good knob of butter/ghee/splash of extra virgin olive oil and set aside with the lid on until needed.

Squeeze as much liquid from the eggplant as you can (discard liquid). Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil/ghee, then the eggplant. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often until golden and tender. Add the garlic and ginger and cook whilst stirring for 30 seconds, add the spices and cook 20 seconds or so until fragrant. Add chopped tomatoes and a touch of water (just enough to stop the base from catching and burning). Reduce the heat and partially cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10-12 minutes until the tomatoes have collapsed and formed a lovely thick sauce and the eggplant is meltingly soft. Taste and adjust seasoning and add lemon juice. Serve curry with buttered millet, scattered with coriander (cilantro) leaves.

Inspired by this recipe from the archives (one of the most popular recipes I’ve ever posted!).

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  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today
    September 16, 2014 at 6:36 am

    I know what you mean. I miss summer like crazy already and it's still warm in Berlin. And I know that soon I'll be watching "hot" pictures from OZ when it will be cold over here. But I like it as well πŸ™‚ I also love millet and your proposition sounds perfectly delicious.

  • Valentina - sweet kabocha
    September 16, 2014 at 6:56 am

    I live in Italy and I follow a lot of food bloggers, above all american and australian ones. So it's not only the season, but the time of the day! When it's time to go to bed I see wonderful breakfast bowls from australians, when I wake up americans are sleeping and I saw their breakfast when I'm eating lunch or afternoon snack…It makes me feel so confused πŸ˜›
    Luckly, I think I can still find some eggplants to make this simple but wonderful recipe ^_^

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:33 am

      Haha, I hear ya!

  • Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    September 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I love anything curry and especially with eggplant since it soaks up flavors so completely. Those of us in the States look forward to seeing more of these out-of-season-for-you/in-season-for-us recipes!

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:33 am


  • erin {yummysupper}
    September 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Emma, I just read your previous post and I'm so sorry to hear about your Nan.
    Hang in there Love, xoxoxo E

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:34 am

      Thanks so much Erin xx

  • Millie | Add A LIttle
    September 16, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Gorgeous, gorgeous and more gorgeous! Love everything about this post!

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:34 am

      Thanks Millie! xx

  • Valeria Necchio
    September 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    When it is cold here, I crave summer and it's juicy fruits, and when it's summer, I feel like I don't get given enough time to make the most of them! Eggplants are still around in London too (they are all year around really as hey don't grown here!) and I am more than happy to stretch summer a bit – like Marta said about Berlin, it's really ot that cold yet! Also, I just love the millet twist. x

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:34 am

      Enjoy Valeria! xx

  • Liz @ Floating Kitchen
    September 16, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    As a US reader, I'm excited about this recipe. Looks so delicious!!

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:35 am

      I don't like cooking out of season, but I gotta say it's nice to share something that you guys up there can make!

  • InTolerant Chef
    September 16, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    I do love eggplant indeed, so this sounds gorgeous! I get jealous enough of my family in Queensland- they can grow most veggies year round, while we struggle with minus 6 and heavy frosts πŸ™ I can't even plant out until October, and even then child be caught out with late frost burn xox

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:36 am

      Canberra sounds like NZ πŸ˜‰
      Even after 4 years of living here in WA, it still blows me away what grows here nearly all year round. xx

  • Crystal S. | Apples & Sparkle
    September 16, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Ahh, this looks delicious, I can't get enough eggplant lately. I need to try more recipes using millet. I may need to add this to my lunch recipes for next week. Pinned. : )

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:36 am

      Thanks Crystal, millet is awesome stuff. xx

  • Rivki Locker
    September 17, 2014 at 2:04 am

    I love eggplant recipes that aren't absolutely dripping in oil. This looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:37 am

      Me too! xx

  • aakanksha soni
    September 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    thanks for sharing such an beautiful looking yummy recipe πŸ™‚ you are doing lovely work

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:37 am

      Thanks love! xx

  • cheyenne
    September 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    wow, this looks amazing!
    xo, cheyenne

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:37 am

      Thanks Cheyenne! xx

  • erin
    September 18, 2014 at 1:54 am

    I really LOVE well cooked eggplant. And I really do not like undercooked eggplant. This looks so lovely, thanks for sharing!

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:38 am

      Haha, I'm exactly the same! I love it meltingly soft, like it is here πŸ™‚

  • tammi | recipe junkie
    September 18, 2014 at 5:35 am

    I don't tolerate the heat very well so would happily travel the globe following winter in its tracks.
    Love the sound of this curry and imagine it would be just as delicious cold.

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:38 am

      Really?! I can see why you want to move back to NZ so badly then love! Summer in Perth is a killer! xx

  • Emilie @TheCleverCarrot
    September 19, 2014 at 1:29 am

    I saw this on IG and I had to pop over! I absolutely adore millet and it is so refreshing to see it used this way. I pretty much want to live in that bowl. Lovely, lovely recipe πŸ™‚

    • emma
      September 25, 2014 at 6:39 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by Emilie! xx

  • london bakes
    September 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    This is pretty much exactly what I'm craving right now.

  • Allison
    October 3, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Here are some interesting health facts about the nutritional value of millet that I thought that I would share (I admit, I copy and pasted from another website…)
    12 Health Benefits:

    1. Millet is alkaline and it digests easily.

    2. The Hunzas – who live in a remote area of the Himalayan foothills and are known for their excellent health and longevity – enjoy millet as a staple in their diet.

    3. Millet will hydrate your colon to keep you from being constipated.

    4. Millet acts as a prebiotic feeding microflora in your inner ecosystem.

    5. The serotonin in millet is calming to your moods.

    6. Millet is a smart carb with lots of fiber and low simple sugars. Because of this it has a relatively low glycemic index and has been shown to produce lower blood sugar levels than wheat or rice. (Kamari and Sumathi, 2002)

    7. Magnesium in millet can help reduce the effects of migraines and heart attacks.

    8. Niacin (vitamin B3) in millet can help lower cholesterol.

    9. Millet consumption decreases triglycerides and C-reactive protein. Scientists in Seoul, South Korea concluded that millet may be useful in preventing cardiovascular disease. Nutrition Research. April 2010; 30(4):290-6.

    10. All millet varieties show high antioxidant activity. A team of biochemists analyzed the antioxidant activity; all varieties showed high antioxidant activity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 9 June 2010; 58(11):6706-14.

    11. Millet is gluten-free and non-allergenic. A great grain for sensitive individuals.

    12. Millet’s high protein content (15 percent) makes is a substantial addition to a vegetarian diet

    • emma
      October 14, 2014 at 3:48 am

      Wahoo! Thanks for all of that info! Told ya it was good stuff πŸ˜‰

  • JoΓ«lle
    November 21, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Hi there and thank you for another great recipe. By "great" I mean tested and approved ! We are in the middle of the fall season over here in France but I was still able to find eggplant AND fresh turmeric –which stains everything so horribly but never mind– and I used frozen tomatoes (from our garden). This vegetable dish complements millet very nicely. It is definitely going into my recipe booklet.
    Your site is a favorite of mine… Too bad our seasons are not in sync ☺️!

  • JoΓ«lle
    November 21, 2014 at 6:00 am

    P-S: I always have a hard time cooking eggplant. Instead of sprinking it with salt, this is what I do : I pre-cook it by steaming it for about 5-10 minutes, and then I proceed as the recipe says.

  • GivenToFly
    March 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Hey! I'm a long-time reader but this is my first comment. But I think it's about time that I praise you (and your blog). This was one of the first recipes from your blog that I tried, and it was so good that I've made it again a couple more times. I love how the soft millet absorbs the flavour from the curry, yum! Thank you for sharing the recipe!