Aubergine moju

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  • 4
  • 1 hour 10 minutes
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This aubergine moju, or wambatu moju, is a Sri Lankan dish made from tangy spiced aubergines and topped with a pandan-infused onion pickle. It’s a delicious side dish to any Sri Lankan main. In Sri Lanka the aubergine is often fried, but here Cynthia Shanmugalingam roasts it instead.

First published in 2023
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Spice mix





Combine all the ingredients for the spice mix in a spice grinder, and blend until smooth. Loosen with a drop of water if needed


Next, make the pickle. Heat up the vinegar, sugar, salt and water, stirring continually so the sugar dissolves. When bubbles appear and the mixture is simmering, remove from the heat

  • 100ml of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50ml of water

Drop in the pandan and garlic, then set aside to cool. Once cold, add the Bombay onion and chilli and stir through. This is best served cold, so refrigerate until needed


To roast the aubergines, preheat the oven to 240°C/fan 220°C/gas mark 9. In a large bowl, using your fingers, mix the aubergine slices with ½ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons of neutral oil


Lay out the slices on a baking tray so they are flat next to each other, and bake for 30–45 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and set aside to cool


Fry off the onion in 2 tablespoons of oil until almost browned at the corners, then add the spice paste and mix thoroughly. Next stir through the remaining salt and the dry spices. Be careful not to burn them and cook for 2 minutes


In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil till hot and then fry off the sliced banana pepper until the edges are slightly charred


In a large mixing bowl combine the banana pepper, sugar and cider vinegar and stir through then add the cooked onion spice mix. Once the aubergines are cooked, add them to the bowl, stirring gently through. Taste and adjust salt if you think it needs it

  • 40g of cane sugar
  • 50ml of apple cider vinegar

Serve warm or at room temperature on a large platter, drizzling a few generous spoons of the pickle on top

First published in 2023

Cynthia Shanmugalingam spent years connecting people with work in food before she embarked on her own culinary career. Today, she brings village Sri Lankan cooking to London at her debut restaurant Rambutan in Borough Market.

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