Korean Aubergine Pickle Recipe - Vegetarian Food

Aubergine Pickle

Korean Aubergine Pickle Recipe - Vegetarian Food
Region / culture: Korea | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 3 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Aubergine Pickle
Aubergine Pickle

Aubergine Pickle, a delightful and tangy condiment, is a culinary gem that brings a burst of flavor to any meal. This recipe, with its roots in traditional pickling methods, transforms the humble aubergine into a vibrant and versatile accompaniment. Perfect for those looking to add a touch of zest to their dishes, this pickle combines the earthy tones of aubergine with the sharpness of various spices and the freshness of herbs. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a curious food enthusiast, this aubergine pickle recipe is sure to inspire your culinary adventures.


The tradition of pickling aubergines has been a part of culinary practices across various cultures for centuries. Originating from the need to preserve food, pickling allowed for the extension of the aubergine's shelf life while enhancing its flavor. This particular recipe draws inspiration from Asian pickling techniques, incorporating elements like ginger, green chile, and red chile flakes, which are staples in many Asian cuisines. Over time, the recipe has evolved, embracing local flavors and ingredients, making it a beloved dish in households around the world.


How to prepare

  1. In a large saucepan, bring water, aubergines, and salt to a boil.
  2. Cook over moderate heat for 3 minutes, occasionally turning the aubergines in the water.
  3. The aubergines should be half-cooked and pliant, but not mushy.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  5. Once cooled, cut the aubergines into 3 equal pieces.
  6. Make a deep cross-shaped cut at one end of each piece to create an opening for stuffing. Set aside.
  7. In a bowl, thoroughly mix together the green chile, garlic, ginger, scallions, chile flakes, and onion or chive or radish.
  8. Open up the cut in each aubergine and stuff about 2 tbsp of the mixture into each.
  9. Place the stuffed aubergines in a glass or plastic container with a tight cover.
  10. Cover the container and let it sit in a cool, non-refrigerated spot for 1 day to mature.
  11. Afterward, serve and refrigerate.
  12. For a lighter flavor, it is best to consume the kimchi within the first 3 days.
  13. If you prefer a stronger taste, wait until later in the week when the mixture has fermented.
  14. The kimchi can be refrigerated for a maximum of 1 week.


  • This recipe is versatile and can be adapted to suit personal tastes. For a sweeter version, add a teaspoon of sugar to the stuffing mixture. For a more intense flavor, increase the amount of ginger and garlic. You can also experiment with different types of chiles to adjust the heat level.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results when making Aubergine Pickle, consider the following tips and tricks:

- Choose firm, glossy aubergines with smooth skin to ensure freshness.

- Salt the aubergines before cooking to draw out excess moisture and bitterness.

- Be careful not to overcook the aubergines; they should be pliant but not mushy.

- Allow the pickle to mature for at least one day to develop its flavors fully.

- Adjust the amount of chile according to your preference for heat.

Serving Suggestions

Aubergine Pickle can be served as a side dish or condiment with a variety of meals. It pairs exceptionally well with grilled meats, rice dishes, and flatbreads. For a refreshing appetizer, serve atop a crisp cucumber slice or with a side of crackers.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is the pickling process, which involves stuffing the aubergines and allowing them to mature to develop the flavors. Proper boiling and cooling of the aubergines are crucial to achieving the right texture.

Ingredient Substitutions

If Korean radish is unavailable, daikon radish or even regular radishes can be used as substitutes. Similarly, if oriental eggplant is not available, any variety of small, slender eggplants can be used.

Make Ahead Tips

Aubergine Pickle is an excellent make-ahead dish, as it requires at least one day to mature. It can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator, where it will continue to develop its flavors.

Presentation Ideas

For an elegant presentation, serve the Aubergine Pickle on a platter garnished with fresh herbs such as cilantro or mint. A sprinkle of sesame seeds can also add a nice touch.

Pairing Recommendations

This pickle pairs beautifully with dishes that have a mild flavor, as it adds a spicy and tangy element. It complements grilled chicken, fish, and vegetable stir-fries well.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store the Aubergine Pickle in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. It is best served cold or at room temperature, so reheating is not necessary.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

This recipe is low in calories, with most of the caloric content coming from the aubergines themselves. It's an excellent option for those looking for flavorful, low-calorie additions to their meals.


Aubergine Pickle is relatively low in carbohydrates, making it a suitable addition to various diets. Aubergines themselves are low in carbs, and the additional ingredients contribute minimal amounts. The primary source of carbohydrates in this recipe comes from the vegetables used in the stuffing mixture.


This recipe is low in fats, with the only significant sources being the natural oils found in the aubergines and the small amount of oil that may be present in the chile flakes. It's an excellent choice for those monitoring their fat intake.


Aubergine Pickle is not a significant source of protein. However, it can be paired with protein-rich dishes to create a balanced meal. The focus of this recipe is on flavor and texture rather than protein content.

Vitamins and minerals

Aubergines are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and manganese. The addition of green chile, garlic, and ginger not only enhances the flavor but also contributes additional vitamins and minerals, making this pickle a nutritious choice.


Aubergine Pickle is free from common allergens such as nuts, dairy, and gluten. However, those with specific vegetable allergies should review the ingredients list carefully.


Overall, Aubergine Pickle is a nutritious, low-calorie, and low-fat condiment that can add a burst of flavor and a dose of vitamins and minerals to any meal. Its low carbohydrate content makes it suitable for various diets, and it's free from common allergens.


Aubergine Pickle is a flavorful, nutritious, and versatile condiment that can elevate any meal. With its rich history and simple preparation, it's a must-try for anyone looking to explore the art of pickling. Whether served as a side dish or used to add zest to your favorite recipes, this pickle is sure to impress.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still remember the exact moment I discovered this recipe for Aubergine Pickle. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Martha in her quaint little cottage on the outskirts of town. Martha was known for her incredible culinary skills, and she was always experimenting with new recipes she had learned from her travels around the world.

On that particular day, Martha invited me into her kitchen to help her prepare a special meal for lunch. As we chopped, stirred, and simmered, Martha suddenly pulled out a jar of aubergine pickle from her pantry.

"This is a family recipe that has been passed down for generations," Martha explained as she spread the pickle on a slice of freshly baked bread. "It's a tangy and savory condiment that pairs perfectly with meats, cheeses, or even just a simple piece of bread."

I took a bite of the pickle, and my taste buds were instantly delighted by the complex flavors of the tangy aubergine, the aromatic spices, and the hint of sweetness that lingered on my tongue. I knew right then and there that I had to learn how to make this incredible pickle for myself.

Martha saw the excitement in my eyes and smiled knowingly. "I'll teach you how to make it," she said. And so, over the course of the afternoon, Martha guided me through the process of making her family's recipe for Aubergine Pickle.

We started by selecting the perfect eggplants from Martha's garden – firm and glossy, with a deep purple hue. We sliced them into thick rounds and laid them out on a tray, sprinkling them with salt to draw out any excess moisture.

As we waited for the eggplant slices to sweat, Martha showed me how to prepare the brine – a mixture of vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, and a medley of other spices that would infuse the pickle with its signature flavor.

Once the eggplant slices had released their excess moisture, we rinsed them off and patted them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Then, we carefully layered the slices into sterilized jars, alternating with the brine mixture and ensuring that each slice was fully coated in the tangy liquid.

Martha sealed the jars with tight-fitting lids and placed them in a cool, dark corner of her pantry to mature. "The longer you let it sit, the better it will taste," she explained. "But I promise you, it's worth the wait."

And so, I returned home that evening with a jar of Martha's Aubergine Pickle in hand, eager to share this newfound treasure with my own family. As the days turned into weeks, the pickle matured and the flavors melded together, creating a symphony of taste that I had never experienced before.

I began to experiment with different ways to enjoy the pickle – spreading it on sandwiches, serving it alongside grilled meats, or simply spooning it onto a plate with a hunk of crusty bread. Each time I took a bite, I was transported back to Martha's kitchen, where I had first discovered the magic of this delectable recipe.

Over the years, I have shared Martha's recipe for Aubergine Pickle with friends, neighbors, and even strangers who have become curious after tasting its unique flavors. I have made slight adjustments here and there, adding my own personal touch to the recipe while still staying true to its traditional roots.

But no matter how many jars of Aubergine Pickle I have made, each batch still holds a special place in my heart – a reminder of that warm summer day in Martha's kitchen, where I first learned the secrets of this beloved family recipe. And as I pass on this recipe to future generations, I know that the legacy of Martha's Aubergine Pickle will live on, bringing joy and delight to all who taste its delicious tangy goodness.


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