Sri Lankan eggplant/brinjal pickle(wambatu moju).
Wambatu moju aka brinjal moju are fried eggplant strips, shallots, and green chillies mixed with mustard vinegar to pickle them. giving it a combo of sweet, sour, and heat.
A delicious eggplant pickle or relish to your festive table.
In my teens, I was never ever a fan of brinjals, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that people actually liked the purple vegetable with its meaty texture.
That all changed with two dishes,
The first was when I had a taste of a well-balanced brinjal moju(batu moju)AND the second was a gorgeous meaty, eggplant heavy moussaka.
These two dishes helped me get over my dislike of the vegetable.
A unique eggplant(aubergine moju)Sri Lankan recipe.
Other names for wambatu moju
- Brinjal moju
- Batu moju
- Aubergine moju
- Eggplant moju, are some of the well-known names for this eggplant recipe.
What does Batu moju taste like?
Brinjal pickle or as we call it wambatu moju or batu moju in Sinhalese, adds a layer of taste that is pure joy to sink your taste buds into.
The combo of sweet and sour, the crunch of the shallots, and the deep-fried brinjals all work well to give you this vegetable pickle.
You’ll have every opportunity to taste the sour brinjal curry if you ever set foot in a Sri Lankan restaurant or home, the dish is a classic and found on most Sri Lankan menus.
What to serve with brinjal moju
You can serve the wambatu/brinjal moju with various types of rice dishes. Here are a few.
- Plain white rice, Sri Lankan yellow rice or ghee rice,
- Any type of fried rice
- Try the batu moju with various biryani rice
- Vegetarian side dishes you can pair with Batu moju.
- Sri Lankan spicy Dry Potato curry(ala theldala),
- Sri Lankan Potato curry(ala kiri hodi),
- Sri Lankan Beetroot Curry(vegetarian, vegan).
- Sri Lankan cashew curry(kaju maluwa curry).
- Sri Lankan breadfruit curry(del curry).
- Sri Lankan-mildly spiced Pineapple curry.
- Pumpkin curry(Sri Lankan wattakka curry). or an easy Sri Lankan Dhal curry(parippu, dal, daal).
- Meat dishes that go well with batu moju.
- Slow-cooked beef curry(like my grandmother makes).
- Sri Lankan chicken curry.
- Sri Lankan red chilli fish curry(Thalapath malu mirisata).
- Calamari curry(cuttlefish curry).
- Srilankan prawn curry cooked in Coconut milk.
- kalupol-Sri Lankan chicken curry(spicy black chicken curry).
Why you should always buy and cook fresh/new eggplant.
It all comes down to the fact that the longer they are kept after being picked the bitter the eggplant will taste.
If you ever wondered why your eggplant dishes have a bitter taste, it’s because of how long the eggplant had been on the vegetable aisle in your supermarket.
Frequently asked questions about brinjal/batu moju
- Brinjals, eggplant, aubergines. are they different?
- No, they are not, they all refer to the same vegetable, depending on which part of the world you hail from.
- What exactly is wambatu moju?
- This explanation is for readers who are not familiar with Sri Lankan food or wondering what the”Wambatu moju”term means.
- “Wambatu moju”is the Sinhalese term used for the eggplant pickle recipe we are making here.
- The taste of the dish is both sour, sweet, and slightly spicy.
- A better description of the dish would be to say that wambatu moju takes on the quality of both a pickle and a relish.
- The balance of sweet and sour, especially makes this dish a favourite to add to various festive occasions.
- There are a few variations of this dish out there but the basic cooking of the dish follows the same steps.
- How do I cut the eggplants?
- You have to cut the eggplant into long or short strips, not thin but thicker strips.
- Cutting them to the same size will help all the eggplant strips to fry evenly.
- If you have a few shorter strips of eggplant fry them separately so they don’t get burnt.
- How long do I fry the eggplant slices?
- Fry them in smaller batches while keeping a steady heat so they gradually fry evenly.
- What you are looking for is to have the eggplant fried to a deep brown.
- How long can the eggplant pickle be stored?
- Despite the pickle being a preservative I would say you can keep this for a week or two. the moju doesn’t last that long at our place though.
- Instead of a glass bottle with a small mouth, use a plastic or glass container with a wide mouth and yes it needs to be refrigerated. make sure you use a dry spoon.
- take a few spoons into a bowl and leave it out to reach room temp and consume
Workflow for making the Sri Lankan brinjal pickle.
The dish comes together in two stages,
First, the ingredients are fried, brinjals separately followed by green chillies and shallots.
Then they are added to a gravy/sauce made with spices and other ingredients to give the dish its sour and sweet taste.
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Reader’s comments and review for the recipe Sri Lankan wambotu moju(eggplant/brinjal pickle.
“Thank you so much for this recipe. It came out really well. In fact, all your recipes I’ve tried so far have turned out amazing!”
Appliances and utensils needed
- Chopping board and knife
- Large tray lined with kitchen towels
- Small bowl
- Medium-size frying pan
- Slotted spoon
- Large bowl to mix all the components of the brinjal pickle.
- Dry air-tight glass bottle.
More brinjal(eggplant) recipes!
Eggplant sweet and sour curry(Sri Lankan brinjal pahi)
Sri Lankan fried brinjal salad.
Sri Lankan kaliya curry(cooked ash plantain-brinjal curry)
Fried eggplant(brinjals)in yoghurt salad.
Storing- since you can refrigerate the eggplant for more than 2 weeks, store it in a dry glass container and use a dry spoon.
Freezing-since the brinjal moju is a pickle, I don’t think you would need to freeze the vegetable pickle just refrigerate.
Reheating- avoid reheating.
Stop food waste by you can avoid wasting as this brinjal pickle can be stored for a long period.
RECIPE DIFFICULTY- LITTLE CARE NEEDED
How to make batu(brinjal) moju.
Please make sure to read the recipe instructions carefully to avoid mistakes.
The ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.
500g eggplant cut into thick strips(see notes above)
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2-3 cups of oil
100g medium-sized green chillies
1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste(2-3 garlic cloves and 1/2 inch ginger piece)
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1 and 1/2 tablespoon mustard powder(pound the mustard or use a grinder for this purpose)
2 tablespoons of Sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
Salt to season
Have all the ingredients for the batu moju ready.
Cut the eggplant(500g)to the required size(see notes above).
Place the thick strips of eggplant in a bowl or a flat surface.
Add salt to season and turmeric(1/2 tsp)to the eggplants, combine, cover and leave it for 10 minutes.
Place a frying pan over medium heat and pour in the oil.
Gradually increase heat for the oil to reach frying temperature.
Make sure you have a steady oil temperature, do not let it smoke, this would lead to burnt strips of eggplant.
If the oil does reach the smoking point, turn off the heat and start heating the oil again(after a few minutes of course).
Gently squeeze out any extra liquid off the eggplant strips.
Fry them(see notes above)until they turn dark in colour, you can either fry them until they turn golden in colour or a dark brown.
Place the fried eggplant/brinjal in paper towels to absorb oil.
You can also air fry the eggplant strips to make this Sri Lankan eggplant recipe.
Use the same oil to fry the shallots(250g)and green chillies (100g)for 1-2 minutes over low-medium fire.
Place these with the brinjals on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
To a separate bowl, add mustard powder(1 and 1/2 tsp), ginger-garlic paste(1 tbs), salt to season, chilli powder(1 tbsp), sugar(2 tbsp), and vinegar(1/3 cup).
Combine well until sugar dissolves.
Taste the pickling sauce and see if there is a balance of taste between sour, sweet, and heat. adjust accordingly.
Add the shallots, and green chillies and combine well.
Add the fried aubergines/eggplant to the pickling onions and green chillies.
Set aside for at least 1-2 hours before serving for a better-tasting wambatu moju.
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Sri Lankan wambatu moju(eggplant/brinjal pickle).
Fried eggplant, shallots, green chillies mixed with mustard-vinegar to pickle the vegetables, giving it a combo of sweet, sour and heat.
- 500g eggplant cut into thick strips(see notes above)
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 2-3 cups of oil
- 250g of shallots
- 100g medium-sized green chillies
- 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste(2-3 garlic cloves and 1/2 inch ginger piece)
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoon mustard powder(pound the mustard or use a grinder for this purpose)
- 2 tablespoons of Sugar
- 1/3 cup vinegar
- Have all the ingredients for the batu moju ready.
- Cut the eggplant(500g)to the required size(see notes above).
- Place the thick strips of eggplant in a bowl or a flat surface.
- Add salt to season and turmeric(1/2 tsp)to the eggplants, combine, cover and leave it for 10 minutes.
- Place a frying pan over medium heat and pour in the oil.
- gradually increase heat for the oil to reach frying temperature.
- Make sure you have a steady oil temperature, do not let it smoke, this would lead to burnt strips of eggplant.
- If the oil does reach the smoking point, turn off the heat and start heating the oil again(after a few minutes of course).
- Gently squeeze out any extra liquid off the eggplant strips
- Fry them(see notes above)until they turn dark in colour, you can either fry them until they turn golden in colour or a dark brown.
- Place the fried eggplant/brinjal in paper towels to absorb oil.
- Use the same oil to fry the shallots(250g)and green chillies(100g)for 1-2 minutes over low-medium fire.
- Place these with the brinjals on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
- To a separate bowl, add mustard powder(1 and 1/2 tsp), ginger-garlic paste(1 tbs), salt to season, chilli powder(1 tbs), sugar(2 tbs) and vinegar(1/3 cup).
- Combine well until sugar dissolves, taste the pickling sauce and see if there is a balance of taste between sour, sweet and heat. adjust accordingly.
- Add the shallots, green chillies and combine well.
- Add the fried aubergines/eggplant to the pickling onions and green chillies.
- Set aside for at least 1-2 hours before serving for a better-tasting wambatu moju.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3097Total Fat: 337gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 300gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 67mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 6gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g
Nutritional information on islandsmile is provided as a courtesy. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on the site. these figures should only be considered as estimates.
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Nothing to do with the recipe, just archiving little moments in my life to do with the family, if you are in a hurry to get to the recipe you can skip this part.
Little things, big feelings…….
Once ever so often a little piece of my life enters the blog, these can be feelings and moments I would like to reflect on later.
If you are really in a hurry to get to the recipe, please scroll down to the recipe but I would suggest that you continue reading this part of the post, there’s a lesson somewhere in this short paragraph you might relate to.
Today I watched my youngest wearing her shoes………
It took me a few minutes to realize that she didn’t ask me to help her, 6.00 o’clock in the morning is not exactly the time to start with the waterworks but I sure did choke on a few tears.
A few years back, I couldn’t wait for my kids to grow up, they were my terrible four and they were honest to god real terrors, some days it felt like I was being pulled, prodded, and made to take sides in four directions.
I used to wish for a fast-forward button or time to just move a bit quicker so each one of them could just grow up and do their own thing.
When she(18), started with wanting her own room to being a typical teenage girl who knew what she wanted and wanted to do everything on her own, I thought, “well, that’s o.k, I’ve got three more who needs me and I can’t wait for them to grow up quick”.
Then he(17), started grooving to his own tune,” Two down, two to go, I’m going to be free to do a bit of my own thing, maybe go out and have fun with my friends”.
And then, he(12), not grown up yet but he’s been watching and following the footsteps of his elder siblings is just about to break loose from his mama’s clutches.
And it hit me,
I’m almost close to ending the first stages of bringing up my kids, helping them with tiny things that they couldn’t do on their own.
And today when I watched her(7) wearing her shoes, I realized she’s the last one. although not grown up yet, she’s doing all her own things more than any of the three combined.
I thought I’ll be glad, I thought I’ll start doing a happy jig….. not choking on tears that my babies are almost grown-up.
That’s how fast time flies, I’ve been worrying about the chores, basically doing what every other mother does out there except savouring those little moments that create memories for life.
That’s not to say I haven’t savoured and enjoyed moments with them mind you, I wish I had done it more.
I know there’s a long way to go and they’ll still need me but there are times, I find myself going back in time to capture that moment each of my babies was laid on my chest when they were born.
The first smiles and the way each one of them grabbed my finger or held my face between their tiny little hands.
So to my readers, I say, try to enjoy your time with your little ones, savour the moments with your grandkids, you’ll never get them back. they grow too fast.
Thursday 18th of August 2022
Love the recipe. Thanks a lot Sri Lankan Eggplant moju is a hit in my place.
Thursday 18th of August 2022
you are most welcome. regards, J
Saturday 6th of August 2022
There is a discrepancy in the picture. The eggplant raw and cut does not match with the fried eggplant. Cutting it round and then crosswise is an excellent way to have very less skin on the finished product as the skin is the toughest part. But your pictures of the fried product show more skin, meaning they were not cut the way you mention in the recipe.
Saturday 6th of August 2022
Hi, Kingsley, Very observant of you. yes, you are correct, the photos don't simply match because often times the recipe is tested before publishing to be as accurate as possible. the process shots are sometimes not always taken at the same time due to time constraints on my part so you might find slight differences that in no way affect the outcome if you follow the recipe. Or sometimes I do forget to take a particular process shot due to workload which in this case was the eggplant cutting shot and yet to replace it with a new one aligning with the rest of the image in the recipe. I will try to replace the image with a new recent one when time permits. I hope this helps. Regards, J
Saturday 2nd of October 2021
I had made this is April and again today. Turns out really well. Thank you.
Sunday 3rd of October 2021
Hi Asha, you are most welcome. regards J
Sunday 18th of October 2020
I tried this twice and it tastes so good ! Thanks a lot
Monday 19th of October 2020
Hi Harshani, Thank you. glad you enjoyed it. You're most welcome. regards, J
Wednesday 15th of July 2020
long long can I keep this ? do I need to refreigarate the Moju or keep it in a jar, within room tempreture ? thanks
Wednesday 15th of July 2020
Hi Tharanga, Despite the pickle being a preservative I would say you can keep this for a week or two. the moju doesn't last that long at our place though. Instead of a glass bottle with a small mouth, use a plastic or glass container with a wide mouth and yes it needs to be refrigerated. make sure you use a dry spoon. take a few spoons into a bowl and leave it out to reach room temp. And consume, hope this helps. Regards J