Garden Egg Stew (Nigerian Eggplant Sauce)

March 29, 2017 (Last Updated: March 21, 2020)

Garden Egg Stew (also known as aubergine stew or Nigerian eggplant sauce) is one of those delicious recipes I remember eating back at home with boiled yam or fried plantains on weekends.

Nigerian Eggplant Stew/Garden Egg Stew (Aubergine Stew)

I love it when my any of my mom comes visiting because I always learn a ton from her, especially in the kitchen and in the marketplace. On a recent visit from my mom, I rediscovered my love for garden egg stew (also known as aubergine stew to our British friends or Nigerian eggplant sauce ). My mom and I went to an Asian market that had tons of produce and we were picking out vegetables when we spotted some Thai-eggplants or as we call them at home, garden eggs. We decided to pick some up and take advantage of this opportunity to make a simple yet delicious garden egg stew. Garden egg stew is one of those eggplant sauce recipes I remember eating back at home in Nigeria with boiled yam or fried plantains on Saturday mornings when we were not eating moi moi or akara. I loved those Saturdays, because it meant I didn’t have to spend my Friday evening skinning beans to prep for blending and could simply look forward to this delicious dish instead! .

How to Prepare Garden Egg Stew

A bunch of thai eggplants or garden eggs stacked.
  • 15 Thai eggplants aka green garden-egg: In Nigerian, we usually have two popular varieties of eggplants: the green ones used in this recipe, and the white eggplant variety that is similar to this, only slightly bigger. Both of those varieties would work best for this garden egg stew recipe. The typical purple aubergines would not afford this sauce the same texture or taste as the green and white eggplants, however, in a pinch you can use them; just be sure to peel the skin off before using it.
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 1 large white onion
  • ¼ cup palm oil
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper chopped
  • 340 g smoked mackerel the equivalent of one large mackerel skinned and deboned
  • 1 tsp chicken/ vegetable bullion
  • 1 small handful of Clove basil aka Nigerian scent leaf/Thai basil
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: 2 tbsp dried shrimp – Nigerians
  • Optional: Extra dried chilli-pepper

Prep the Garden Eggs/Eggplants

To prep the garden eggs/eggplants , take off the stems, wash and quarter each then boil in salted water for 10- 15 minutes.

Sprinkling salt on the garden egg/eggplants in a pot
Boiling garden egg/eggplants in the pot

While the garden eggs/eggplants are boiling, slice the onions into half-moons, dice the tomatoes, roughly chop the basil, and flake the fish.

Nigerian Eggplant Stew/Garden Egg Stew (Aubergine Stew) - Tomatoes used in eggplant stew

Once the garden eggs/eggplants are fork tender, drain them, and mash them with a potato masher or a fork. They should be the consistency of crushed tomatoes, only slightly chunky.

Nigerian Eggplant Stew/Garden Egg Stew (Aubergine Stew) - Smashing the eggplants for the eggplant stew
Nigerian Eggplant Stew/Garden Egg Stew (Aubergine Stew) - Smashing the eggplants for the eggplant stew

Stew the Onions, Peppers and Tomatoes

In a deep saucepan, heat up the palm oil for 2 minutes (be careful not to heat the oil for too long or over high heat, unless the oil will bleach), and gently sauté the onions and scotch bonnet peppers until it is softened and starting to brown ever so lightly on the edges of the onions.

Onions added to pot of palm oil
Onions fried in the palm oil

Add in the tomatoes, and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens, and the oil starts to raise to the top.

Tomatoes added into the stew
Tomatoes added and cooking in the stew
Cooking the tomato stew in pot

Stew the Crushed Garden Egg/Eggplants

Add in the mashed eggplant, and continue cooking on low-medium heat for five minutes.

Easy Nigerian Eggplant/Garden Egg Stew - eggplants added into the stew

Add in the smoked mackerel, dried shrimp, and bullion, stir and continue to simmer on low heat.

smoked mackerel added into the eggplant stew
smoked shrimp added into the eggplant stew

At this point, taste the stew, and adjust for salt, and if you are like me add some extra dry pepper for a little bit more heat. Stir in the chopped basil, and turn off the heat.

basil (effirin) added into the cooking pot of garden egg/eggplant stew
garden egg stew stirred in pot

Serve warm with a side of your favorite carbs.

I paired this garden egg stew/ Nigerian eggplant sauce with fried plantains, but it also goes well with boiled plantains, boiled or fried yams, boiled or fried potatoes, and even rice.

A delicious scoop of garden egg stew (eggplant sauce)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is eggplant same as garden egg?

Yes. Garden egg is what the eggplant is natively called in Nigeria and many parts of West Africa.

How do you preserve fresh garden eggs?

You can preserve garden eggs by placing them whole in the freezer, which will keep them fresh up to 6 months (in my experience)

A hand scooping up some garden egg stew (eggplant sauce) with plantain

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Nigerian Eggplant Stew/Garden Egg Stew (Aubergine Stew)
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Garden Egg Stew (Nigerian Eggplant Sauce) Recipe

Garden Egg Stew (also known as aubergine stew or Nigerian eggplant sauce) is one of those delicious recipes I remember eating back at home with boiled yam or fried plantains on weekends.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: West African
Servings: 4 -6
Calories: 235kcal
Author: Yummy Medley

Ingredients

  • 15 Thai eggplants aka green garden-egg
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 1 large white onion
  • ¼ cup palm oil
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper chopped
  • 340 g smoked mackerel the equivalent of one large mackerel skinned and de-boned
  • 1 tsp chicken/ vegetable bullion
  • 1 small handful of Clove basil aka Nigerian scent leaf/Thai basil
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: 2 tbsp dried shrimp
  • Optional: Extra dried chilli-pepper

Instructions

  • To prep the eggplants, take off the stems, wash and quarter each eggplant then boil in salted water for 10- 15 minutes.
  • While the eggplants are boiling, slice the onions into half-moons, dice the tomatoes, roughly chop the basil, and flake the fish.
  • Once the eggplants are fork tender, drain them, and mash them with a potato masher or a fork. They should be the consistency of crushed tomatoes, only slightly chunky.
  • In a deep sauce pan, heat up the palm oil for 2 minutes (be careful not to heat the oil for too long or over high heat, unless the oil will bleach), and gently sauté the onions and scotch bonnet peppers until it is softened and starting to brown ever so lightly on the edges of the onions.
  • Add in the tomatoes, and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens, and the oil starts to raise to the top.
  • Add in the smashed eggplant, and continue cooking on low-medium heat for five minutes.
  • Add in the smoked mackerel, dried shrimp, and bullion, stir and continue to simmer on low heat.
  • At this point, taste the stew, and adjust for salt, and if you are like me add some extra dry pepper for a little bit more heat. Stir in the chopped basil, and turn off the heat.
  • Serve warm with a side of your favorite carbs.

Notes

If you are cannot find Thai eggplants in your grocery store and have to use the regular large purple eggplant, peal and boil them for 5 minutes longer than is stated in this recipe. The weight equivalent is about 885g/ 2lbs.
Feel free to substitute the smoked mackerel for cooked mackerel. There is a slight difference in the final taste, but it is just as delicious.

If you want to try some other delicious West African stews, why not check out my Spinach Stew; Yoruba Style recipe or my Nigerian Spicy Peanut Stew (Groundnut stew) recipe?

26 Comments

  • Reply
    Anny
    March 30, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Nice one Couz! I love this recipe too..lots! But I haven’t tried it with tomatoes like yours. And I often use the purple eggplant as its bitterness is not as much as the green and white garden egg…Yam or boiled plaintain are my fav side-dish…welldone!

    • Reply
      Ms. Yum
      March 30, 2017 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks Anny!I actually like the slight bitterness that the green eggplant adds to the sauce, I think the tomatoes also helps temper the bitterness. Let me know if you try this recipe. I want to see pictures too!

  • Reply
    Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
    December 29, 2017 at 8:53 am

    5 stars
    What a delicious sounding dish!! I would love to have a taste — all of the ingredient combination sounds wonderful. And yes, I learned so much from my mamma and mother-in-law. They were both so sweet. I certainly miss them.

  • Reply
    Paige
    December 29, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Wow what an interesting recipe! I love eggplant and this looks delicious!

    • Reply
      Lois. O
      January 2, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      It absolutely is!

  • Reply
    Sharon Glascoe
    December 29, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Your photos have me wishing I had a big bowl of this right now. I really like the addition of dipping the fried plantains. Delicious!

    • Reply
      Lois
      January 2, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      Thank you Sharon!

  • Reply
    Meredith
    December 29, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    This eggplant stew looks so delicious! My whole family would love it served over rice… can’t wait to try it soon!

  • Reply
    Helene
    December 30, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I had no idea that the eggplants were called as such. They have made an appearance here but of course in the local markets in India, nobody will write down on a piece of paper what what is. I actually hadn’t thought of making an eggplant stew but looking at yours I feel I should give this a try soon!

  • Reply
    Ben Myhre
    December 30, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    5 stars
    I don’t think I have ever seen this kind of eggplant in the stores around here. It looks awesome though. I would totally eat this.

    • Reply
      Lois. O
      January 2, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Believe me, You’d love it!

  • Reply
    Julie
    December 31, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    This looks so delicious – so warm and filling on a cold winter day. I’d love to come home to a hot bowl of this.

  • Reply
    Monica | Nourish & Fete
    December 31, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Yum! I have been wanting to find some new ways to prepare eggplant, and this looks fantastic. Pinning to try!

    • Reply
      Lois. O
      January 2, 2018 at 6:52 pm

      Let me know when you do!

  • Reply
    Leslie
    December 31, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    It is SO COLD here right now, and this sounds like exactly what I need to warm me up!

  • Reply
    prasanna hede
    January 1, 2018 at 4:12 am

    This stew looks so amazing! I have been trying to include eggplants in my diet,looks wonderful!

  • Reply
    David @ Cooking Chat
    January 1, 2018 at 8:02 am

    looks delicious! healthy, too.

  • Reply
    Stacey
    January 4, 2018 at 11:01 am

    This looks gorgeous and cozy. Love using Thai eggplant when I’m able to find them…this recipe is going to happen soon!

  • Reply
    Oyhek
    September 1, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Love eating with white rice or boiled plantain very yummy

  • Reply
    Ata
    October 9, 2018 at 12:08 am

    Came out delicious!!!!

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 20, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      That is awesome Ata!!!

  • Reply
    May
    January 2, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Wont we peel the skin or back off d egg plant after boiling

    • Reply
      Lois
      January 8, 2019 at 9:22 am

      Hello May! I don’t think that is completely necessary especially since the skin is pretty nutritious. If you prefer to have a completely smooth sauce then you can take the skins off, but if you keep the skin on the texture is still tender.

  • Reply
    Debby
    May 17, 2020 at 11:26 am

    5 stars
    Wow, looks so delicious nd yummy.. Is it possible for me to use grinding stone to mash it if I dnt ve a pistol or potato masher

  • Reply
    Wale
    June 28, 2020 at 5:40 am

    5 stars
    Growing up I had this whenever I visited my uncle’s family. Saturdays with yam and I loved it! I remember years ago, I felt nostalgic and I wanted to try this, I was really young when I had the dish, so I had no idea how it was made, and I couldn’t find any recipe online but I went ahead anyways, I tried to recreate from memory but it came out a disaster! I hated the experience and never tried it again, ruined my memory. Lol!

    This morning, I woke up with the same longing for that taste and I came across your recipe and just right into it I immediately saw what went wrong years ago, I DID’NT BOIL THE EGGPLANTS 😂😂😂. Just this 1 obvious step kept me from enjoying this for years 🤦🏽‍♂️.

    Anyways, thanks for helping me relive my childhood memory.

  • Reply
    Alice Fagbola
    August 12, 2020 at 10:20 am

    5 stars
    My name is Alice and I’m a Nigerian. I’ve cooked this stew for years but never with smoked makerel and scent leaf.

    I’ll definitely try this!

    Thanks.
    P.s I always add ground crayfish but noticed you didn’t. Why? Personal preference?

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