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Chargrilled Aubergine Pesto

“The flame-roasted aubergine imparts a deep, smoky flavour while the sun-dried tomato lifts the whole with its sweet, sharp zing. Excellent as it is on pasta, or as a dip with vegetal dippers, or as a base for a tomato and aubergine galette” – Dale Berning Sawa - Chargrilled Aubergine Pesto: Guardian Recipe Swap February 2016

Bajan Choka meets Basil Pesto.

That’s the best way to describe the combination of these two classic dishes from Trinidad and Italy. Bajan Choka is a Trinidadian side dish . The intense flavour comes from being roasted on an open flame which rapidly cooks and flavours the flesh in its skin. The smokey soft pulp is then fried with onions, hot pepper and usually served with Paratha Roti.

Most of us are familiar with basil pesto; I am especially from my years as a student. This was my go to jar to lift my pasta dishes out of the tuna mayo and sweetcorn era I found myself locked into. Nowadays I make my own from time to time, I love the fresh robust taste of the basil and raw garlic on pasta. Simple and delicious!

You can have either of these dishes separately or together as I demonstrate below. It should last no more than 2 days in the fridge.


Chargrilled Aubergine Pesto

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Print


Handful of Basil Leaves

2 large garlic cloves

1/2 cup olive oil

Handful of Pine Nuts

1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

1 Whole Aubergine (grilled)

Salt/Pepper - season to taste

3-4 Sun-dried Tomato pieces

Squeeze of lemon juice.



‘The Open Flame Way’

  1. Wipe the Aubergine clean. Place the Aubergine directly on a gas stove flame, turning every 3-4 minutes with a set of tongs.
  2. You want to see the skin burn but not quite to bursting, it will begin to deflate and flake.
  3. The whole process should take no more than 10 minutes
  4. Remove the Aubergine carefully as the hot gas escaping from inside can burn your skin.
  5. Using the tongs, hold upright over a chopping board and with a fork scrape the skin away in a downward motion. Carefully picking away any residue burnt skin.
  6. Chop off the stem, place the flesh in a bowl and mash with a fork.


‘Oven Roasted Way’

  1. Wash and dry eggplant.
  2. With a knife cut deep slits all around the eggplant. Bake at 450 degrees for half hour or until soft. Remove from oven and place in a sealed zip lock. Let sit for 10 minutes, this makes it very easy to remove the skin.
  3. Leave to cool completely.


The Pesto

  1. Add the remainder of the ingredients and with a hand blender, blend to a smooth consistency.
  2. Transfer to a container and drizzle to top with oil, this helps preserve the colour. Seal with a lid or serve with pasta.




1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Aubergine Pesto Galette | Loretta's Kitchen

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