Butternut squash & aubergine bhuna served with pilau rice and chapatis

A curry house favourite cooked in typical restaurant style so you can bring the delicious flavours of Indian curry home. We’ve included a recipe for a curry base which can be used to make a number of different dishes . This Bhuna is a thick and moderately hot curry, we chose to use butternut squash and aubergine but it will work just as well with other vegetables or vegetarian proteins so feel free to use your favourites!


Plant based Butternut squash & aubergine bhuna served with pilau rice and chapatis


Difficulty level: 4/5
Preparation time: Curry base- 20 minutes, Bhuna- 15 minutes
Cooking time: Curry base- 1 hour 30 minutes, Bhuna- 40 minutes
Serves: 2 people 


Curry Base:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 fresh coriander stalks with leaves removed
  • 500 ml boiled water with 1 cube vegetable stock dissolved
  • 200g canned chopped tomatoes (approx 1/2 of a tin)


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander stems finely chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder (If unavailable you can substitute for ¼ tsp cayenne and ¾ tsp paprika)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree plus 50 ml water to dilute
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 aubergine chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes halved


  1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Quarter onions and separate the internal layers. Combine all of the above ingredients except tomatoes then bring to a gentle simmer for 40 minutes
  2. Add tomatoes, stir them into the curry base and then continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before blending to a smooth consistency with an immersion or upright blender.
  3. Allow to simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop and the oil to separate out. Stir one last time to reincorporate oil.
  4. While curry base is simmering, first peel butternut squash then cut to quarters lengthways before slicing into 1 inch cubes. Do the same with the aubergine although no need to peel first. Season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast at 180° for approximately 40 minutes or until tender. 
  5. Heat frying pan with oil on a medium heat, add roughly chopped onion for 2 mins until golden brown. Add ginger, garlic, chilli & coriander stems stirring for a further 2 minutes.   
  6. Now reduce heat and add the spice mix, stirring constantly for 30 seconds making sure not to burn the spices.
  7. Increase heat to medium high and add the diluted tomato pureé and mix well with other ingredients. Now add the curry base 1/3 at a time stirring in for 2-3 minutes on each occasion.   
  8. Lower the heat and add the roasted butternut squash and aubergine. Cover the curry and allow to simmer for a further 10-15 mins. 
  9. Drop in the cherry tomatoes for the final 3 minutes of simmering. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with rice and naan bread.

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