Aubergines in honey and lemon

This is another Lebanese-style dish that I’ve been making for a few years but not got around to posting. Even if you don’t like aubergines, you’ll like this as the cooking removes the chewy texture you tend to associate with aubergines.

I really like it cold the day after, as the flavours come out even more. Perfect with pitta, hummous, tabbouleh.


  • 2 large aubergines, firm skinned as you can get
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
  • 2in fresh root ginger, grated (I keep the ginger in the freezer; it’s easy to grate from frozen)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • Chilli powder or half a red chilli, chopped
  • 6 tbsp clear honey
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1/4 pint hot water
  • Olive oil, salt

Peel and then slice the aubergines into 1cm (ish) slices. Salt and grill (in batches if necessary) until very brown on both sides. Don’t worry if they char a bit – it adds to the flavour.

In a big frying pan, flash fry the garlic for 30seconds in olive oil. Add the aubergines (again, in batches if necessary), cumin, ginger, water, honey, lemon juice and chilli (if required). Tip: mix the honey, water, lemon, ginger and cumin whilst the aubergines are cooking. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10mins. If you are doing batches, extract the first batch from the sauce to a serving dish, and then add the next batch. The sauce should end up being like a thin gravy in consistency – add more hot water if required.

This recipe was inspired by Claudia Roden’s Tamarind and Saffron cookbook (highly recommended).

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