Loku Amma’s Eggplant Pickle


Years ago, when we’d first moved to Australia my parents, my sister and I took a trip to Paddy’s fruit and vegetable markets at Flemington in Sydney. We drove in my dad’s newly purchased yellow Nissan Pulsar. We parked it in one of the giant concrete parking towers and braved Paddy’s. It was an assault on the senses. Paddy’s was full of new-age costermongers. Boisterous vegetable vendors, spruiking their wares, flagging you down and begging you to come into their stalls.

We spent some time walking through the narrow spaces between the stalls, blocking our noses at the stench of rotting vegetables discarded on the sides and begging our parents for chips.

Once we finished we headed back out to our car. Or at least we tried. Try as we might we couldn’t find the little yellow Pulsar. We walked up and down the concrete tower, scoured from side to side. The car was nowhere to be seen. My parents were convinced it had been stolen. Back we marched to the markets to try and find a pay-phone, this was before the days of cell phones. It was as we came down the tower that we spotted not a pay phone, but another tower. Turns out we were looking in the wrong one.

Up we went the next tower and found our little yellow car tucked away in a corner. Phew.

I would think about that whenever we went back to Paddy’s. I’d make doubly, triply sure I knew where the car was.

We often went to pick up boxes of eggplant to make eggplant pickle, similar to the one below. I’d place it in sterilised bottles to keep for a few weeks or even gift to friends. This is a recipe my Loku Amma makes to serve with her amazing Chilli Chicken Curry. The cocktail onions are something I’ve seen added before and I like the crunchy texture.



  • 750g (1.5 lbs) eggplant washed and cut into thick fingers


  • oil for deep frying
  • 2 tbps. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. garlic
  • 4 spring onions sliced at an angle
  • 1/2 cup cocktail onions



Deep fry the eggplant in batches and drain well.



I did this 24 hours beforehand and let the eggplant drain well over night, remembering to change the paper underneath a couple of times. Otherwise, I find the finished dish has an oily texture.

In a  small saucepan mix the soy,vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and chilli. When warm, add the deep fried eggplant and spring onions and picked onions. Warm through.

Place in a glass  or ceramic container until it’s time to serve. I find this best made a couple of days ahead. I store this in the fridge and pull it out and bring it to room temperature before serving.



4 Comments Add yours

  1. shonalika says:

    This looks delicious! There was a sweet aubergine pickle I used to be addicted to – I stopped eating it after a while because I found I could better appreciate flavours of food when I wasn’t slathering it with something that was really mostly sugar. XD I’ve looked up alternative pickles to see if I could make a version that would be A. Healthier and B. Not available 24/7 so I don’t get addicted to it, but they all looked too complex. This recipe, on the other hand, looks more beginner-pickle-maker friendly (though I am terribly inexperienced when it comes to deep-frying anything. :p)

    1. chathginige says:

      Haha! I can totally understand how addictive these things can be! Deep frying can be such a pain, but it’s so essential for the flavour here. I think my biggest challenge, especially with eggplants is getting the temperature right. Too hot and it burns, too cold and it soaks up all the oil!

  2. I am going to have to try this sometime soon!!! I love eating this but cant get my hands on them here!!! Thanks for the recipe!!! 😀

    1. chathginige says:

      No worries ! You’ll have to tell me how these turn out!

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