Make Raghavan Iyer's aubergine-garlic paté

Restorative garlic, a natural antibiotic, adds flavour to smoky aubergine for a moreish pre-dinner nibble

Aubergine and garlic paté. Photography by Manja Wachsmuth

Serves 6

Preparation time 30 mins

Cooking time 25 mins

Garlic has a reputation for being a heroic antibiotic, as well as being pretty effective at warding off colds, flu and other inflammatory diseases. Thankfully, as well as boasting these germ-busting properties, it's also really delicious – get your fix in this recipe from chef and author Raghavan Iyer, which is inspired by traditional cooking in northern Indian villages.


  • 2 small aubergines
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 115g passata
  • Juice of ½ medium lime, plus 1 large lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 25g finely chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds


  1. Heat an oven grill or a gas grill for direct heat that’ll give the aubergines that smoky flavour. Pierce the aubergines with a fork in five or six different places.
  2. Grill the aubergines 5-8cm away from the heat, turning them occasionally to ensure even cooking, until the skin is completely blackened and blistered, about 20-25 minutes. To cook on the gas grill, hold the aubergines 5cm-8cm above the flame.
  3. Transfer the aubergines to a large bowl, then cover with cling film and set aside for about 30 minutes. The steam that rises will sweat the aubergines and help to loosen the skin for easy peeling.
  4. Peel and discard the skin and stem. Put the pulp in a bowl and mash to a smooth consistency. Keep the juices and any liquid that pools at the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Add the ground coriander and cumin, salt, garam masala, cayenne, turmeric, half the onion, the tomato sauce, lime juice, ginger, garlic and half the chopped coriander; mix well.
  6. Heat the ghee in a wok or a deep 30cm frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle and turn reddish brown in colour, about 15 seconds.
  7. Immediately add the remaining onion and stir-fry until light brown around the edges, 2-3 minutes. Add the aubergine mixture and stir-fry until almost all the liquid evaporates, 15-20 minutes.
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining coriander and the lime wedges. Serve with crostini or crusty bread.