A warming winter dinner recipe: Aubergines with ginger, spring onion and chilli

This ‘deliciously slithery’ dish of aubergines can be enjoyed with rice or simply on its own.

This favourite recipe is very good spooned over small bowls of steamed jasmine rice. I always use the absorption method rather than simply boiling it in water: wash the rice well until the water runs clear, cover and simmer quietly until cooked, using 200g of rice to 325ml of water. Once it’s clear that the rice is cooked, switch off the heat and leave the lid on for a further 7–10 minutes, before fluffing up with a fork.

Simply reduce or raise amounts pro rata, to suit servings.

However, I am perfectly happy to slurp up this deliciously slithery—a good dish of cooked aubergines should always be thus—assembly just as it is.

Aubergines with ginger, spring onion and chilli (serves 4)


  • 250ml mirin (sweetened rice wine)
  • 75ml soy sauce (Kikkoman preferably)
  • 1 small knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1tbspn sesame oil
  • 2 large, mild red chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 aubergines
  • Peanut oil (or other neutral-flavoured oil)


Pour the mirin into a saucepan, bring up to the boil, then simmer until reduced to about half its original volume. Decant into a bowl and stir in the soy sauce, ginger, spring onions, garlic, sesame oil and chillies.

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Remove the stalk from the aubergines, slice them length-ways into quarters and then cut across each quarter to achieve short lengths.

Heat 2–3 tablespoons of peanut oil in a large frying pan until hot, but not smoking, then put in the aubergines and gently fry, turning them over regularly with a slotted spoon until the flesh is golden and the skins burnished, for 10–25 minutes. They should be very tender, but not collapsing, and you might have to do the frying in batches, together with a little more oil.

Once done, lift the aubergines out onto crumpled kitchen paper to drain, then tip into a large mixing bowl. Spoon the dressing over them and, with slow and tentative movements, turn the aubergines through it. Decant into a suitable serving dish and serve warm or at room temperature.