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Tomato Eggplant Sauce in a black cast iron pan.

Smoky Tomato Eggplant Sauce

A simple and relatively quick tomato sauce that is versatile and filled with lovely vegetables. 
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dinner, Sauce
Cuisine African, Nigerian
Servings 10


  • 1 pound Purple Eggplant
  • 1 can Diced Tomato
  • 1 Onion (Large)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Red Pepper (Medium)
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Crayfish Powder optional*
  • 1 tbsp Chili Flakes
  • Salt to taste


  • On a gas stove or in a grill, burn the skin of the whole eggplant. The eggplant should have a substantial char all around it. The process of charring the eggplant usually takes 10-15 over an open gas flame. Also, it is possible to do this can be done ahead of time.
  • Place the burnt eggplant in a bowl and cover. Trapping the heat of eggplant would steam off the skin. Let it rest for about ten minutes. Once it is cooled down, remove as much of the skin as possible. Don't be tempted to scoop out the middle. The bits of the skin left after cleaning helps to give the sauce a smoky aroma.
  • Roughly chop off the cleaned roasted eggplant flesh. Don't do this in a blender because you don't want a paste. You want chunks of soft eggplant.
  • Add the tomato, 1/2 of the onions, garlic, the red pepper as well as the chili flakes into a blender. Pulse into a rough paste.
  • Slice the remaining onion.
  • Add the vegetable oil into a saucepan over medium heat. After a minute, add in the onion slices and a pinch of salt. Let the onion cook gently. 
  • Once the onion slices are wilted and almost caramelizing, add in the tomato sauce into the saucepan. 
  • Stir in the herbs, paprika and crayfish powder into the tomato sauce at this point. Let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes, mixing occasionally. 
  • The tomato sauce is ready for the eggplant chunks when most of the moisture is cooked off. The tomato sauce should be thick before mixing in the eggplant. Make sure to mix in the eggplant chunks so that it is well distributed within the saucepan.
  • Taste the sauce to check for salt. Now is the time to adjust.
  • Let the tomato eggplant sauce simmer for about 5 minutes and then it is done.


*I debated adding this ingredient to the recipe because it is so culturally specific but I want to be able to talk about how I cook as a NIgerian woman. A good substitute for the crayfish powder would be to melt in some anchovies into the sauce. This boosts the flavor of the sauce.
Keyword Aubergine, Eggplant, Pasta Sauce, Tomato Eggplant Sauce, Tomato Sauce