Brinjal and Pine Nut Pulao

Serves 4 


  • 400g baby brinjals, quartered
  • Fine salt to sweat brinjals
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • Sunflower oil, to fry potatoes and brinjals
  • 45ml pine nuts
  • 15ml crushed ginger
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 45ml fresh coriander, chopped
  • 15ml red chilli powder
  • 3 tomatoes, blanched and chopped
  • 7ml coarse salt
  • 5ml ground coriander
  • 5ml ground cumin
  • 5ml garam masala
  • 2ml turmeric
  • 750ml cooked basmati rice
  • 100ml boiling water
  • Fried onion slices, to garnish
  • Handful of fresh coriander, to serve


  1. Sprinkle the fine salt on the quartered baby brinjals. 
  2. Place the brinjals in a strainer and leave to drain.
  3. Wipe the brinjals with absorbent paper towel, gently squeezing out the excess moisture.
  4. Fry the potato slices in hot oil until light golden brown and tender.
  5. Leave the fried potatoes in a strainer to drain.
  6. Fry the brinjal slices in hot oil taking care not to overcrowd the pan.
  7. Remove from the oil and leave in a colander to drain away excess oil.
  8. Gently dab the excess oil off the potatoes and brinjals using absorbent paper towel.
  9. Roast the pine nuts in a microwave oven at 30 seconds intervals until golden brown. 
  10. Place the crushed ginger, chopped garlic and coriander on a chopping board. 
  11. Using a large knife, chop the ingredients to ensure they are well combined.
  12. Reheat 50ml of sunflower oil in a thick bottomed pot.
  13. Add the chopped ginger, garlic and coriander. 
  14. Fry for a few seconds until fragrant and when the garlic starts to brown, add the red chilli powder.
  15. Stir for 3 seconds and then add the chopped tomatoes and coarse salt.  
  16. When the tomatoes soften, add the ground coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric.
  17. Stir for a few seconds and simmer until the oil separates from the tomatoes.  
  18. Place the fried potatoes into the cooked tomatoes and layer the basmati rice over.
  19. Pour the boiling water over the rice and then scatter the fried brinjals over. 
  20. Simmer until the rice fluffs up and heats through.
  21. Sprinkle the fried onion slices and toasted pine nuts over. 
  22. Chop the fresh coriander and sprinkle over the steamed pulao.

Yudhika’s Tips

  • Chickpeas may be added to this pulao.
  • Large brinjals may be used but they will take longer to fry.
  • Potatoes can be boiled instead of fried for a low-fat option.
  • Green chilli can be added to the chopped ingredients for a spicier dish.
  • Fried onion slices can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Always use cooked rice that is cold when making a pulao as hot rice makes the pulao very sticky.