Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Subzi

A great dish from Ol’ Madras, in South India.

Madras Curry

I had a Tamil Indian friend in Adelaide who would regularly arrive at my place, bearing this curry and a bunch of roses, asking only that I cook some rice and maybe (under his guidance) some payasam. This curry is so easy and so good, or maybe it is the memory of the smell of the roses that biases my tastebuds.

Sauce-free Indian curries like these are really just slightly-more-elaborate vegetable sautés—toast spices in ghee, coconut oil or Indian sesame oil, add in your vegetables, and finish with salt and sometimes a touch of sugar to season the simple, healthful spicy glaze that coats the vegetables.

You might like to try other Subzi recipes.Try Okra Subzi, Sweet Potato Subzi with Yoghurt, Sweet and Sour Potato Subzi, Sweet Potato Subzi, and Potato Subzi.

Are you looking for Sweet Potato recipes? Try Sweet Potato Subzi, Slightly Sweet and Sour Pumpkin Subzi, and Sweet Potato Vindaloo.

For Spinach dishes, try Spinach Thoran, Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, and Stir Fried Spinach with Coconut. Or for Eggplant dishes, try Eggplant in Tamarind Leaf Paste, Baingan ka Salan, Brinjal Chidambaram Kosthu, Spicy Eggplant Rice, and Grated Coconut Masala Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Sweet Potato recipes, Spinach recipes and Eggplant recipes. And explore our Indian recipes.  Or take some time to check out our Mid Autumn recipe collection.

Madras Curry

If you would like to make your own Sambar Powder visit this recent post which will explain the process.

Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Subzi

I often make half quantities as the full recipe makes quite an amount.

1 large sweet potato, about 650 – 700 g, peeled and cut into 2 – 2.5cm cubes
1 large eggplant, about 450 g, cut into 2 – 2.5cm cubes
500 g of spinach, blanched, dried and chopped
1 Tblspn cumin seeds
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tblspn Madras Sambar Powder (buy or make your own) or a good curry powder (adjust am0unt to heat of the curry powder)
1 tspn black mustard seeds
1 tspn sea salt
0.25 tspn turmeric powder
50 ml ghee
2 Tblspn chopped green coriander leaves

Heat ghee in a heavy-based saucepan on low heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and allow to pop. Add the garlic and cumin seeds, and stir fry until garlic turns a golden brown colour.

Add the sweet potato pieces and cook for 5 minutes until the sweet potato is half cooked. Stir occasionally and add a splash of water if needed.

Mix in the eggplant cubes, spinach, sea salt, sambar powder and turmeric powder. Cook on low-medium heat until the sweet potato and eggplant is tender. Add a splash of water if needed.

Remove dish from stove and stir in the coriander leaves.

Allow the dish to sit for 15 minutes to develop the flavours, and serve with rice and/or naan.

Madras Curry

recipe notes
I have made this without the sambar powder, and the gentleness of the resulting curry is wonderful.


23 thoughts on “Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Subzi”

  1. Chennai is the term coined in recent years. For most of them ( Like my Father in law) it will always be good ol’ Madras.

    I never tried making a sweet potato dish and this curry sounds like it would be a good start.

  2. Delicious memories and a DELICIOUS curry!

    Happy 2008 – hope your year is grand.

    Thanks, Lucy – hope your 2008 has been great so far.

  3. wow, that was a nice post, just as much as the curry recipe:)

    I’m hosting a Game Night recipe event and would love to have one of your entries. Do check the details on my blog:)

    So sorry I missed your Games Night – I was away on holiday. It seems very very successful and I am looking forward to exploring the entries in the roundup.

  4. This recipe begs to be made and I’ll be sure to make it for friends, tasting a little of it of course. I only like eggplant certain ways – as a choka, biganee, fire-roasted and then dry-curried. 🙂

    I am hoping that this recipe changes your mind about eggplant!

  5. A great friend! What a nice guy to bring flowers and a yummy curry! Recipe sounds good too, thanks!:)
    Chennai was called Madras by the British. Recently, Tamil Nadu decided to go back to their original name.
    Bangalore, where I come from, is called “Bengaluru” now, which was “Benda Kaaluru” (oldest name) before the British!:D

  6. was tasty, but added a bit of coconut milk to make it a bit more of a source. a bit of madras sambar doesnt go astray.
    good combo though!

    1. Thanks Tash, it is great to play with recipes. Nachi called me from India the other night – I hadnt heard from him for 12 months or so, so it was good to catch up.

  7. How delightful of your friend to call in so!..I think it will forever be Madras for me..wonderful dish..I think you re-posting all your posts is nice in another way..we get to see them all at once again..thank you for the efforts..

  8. What a great recipe for a vegetable Madras. Really unique! I’m just starting to put my favorite Madras recipe’s together at http://www.madrasrecipe.com. They are donated by a friends mum who I have very fond memories of as I was growing up. To her it will always be a Madras curry 🙂

  9. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  10. I didn’t have the proper Madras Sambar Powder and had to substitute brown mustard seed for black, and used masala curry . I really enjoyed the combination of sweet potato, eggplant and spinach. It’s a fantastic recipe, and the next time I make it, I’ll take the time to make my own Madras Sambar powder and get some black mustard seed to be more authentic. It deserves it.

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