Eggplant Choka - A taste of the West Indies

Eggplant Choka - A taste of the West Indies

Imagine stumbling upon a dish that's so rich in flavours and stories, it's like uncovering a hidden culinary treasure. That's exactly what we're doing today with Eggplant Choka (pronounced choh-kha), the West Indian eggplant dip that's about to take your taste buds on an unforgettable journey. Welcome back to another installment of the Nourished by Tradition recipe series where we explore the flavours of the West Indies with easy and healthy recipes. There are two (2) more recipes to close out this series that will be uploaded later this week so be sure to bookmark this blog. 


Now, picture this: a dish so simple, yet bursting with complex flavours, telling tales of vibrant cultures, and shared moments. This isn't just any dish; it's Eggplant Choka, a humble yet extraordinary blend of roasted eggplant, garlic, and local herbs and spices that somehow manages to capture the essence of the West Indies in every bite. Whether you're a die-hard foodie or someone who just loves to dabble in the kitchen, trust me, you're going to want to get to know this dish a little better.

eggplant choka a west inidian eggplant dip cooking eggplant over the fire

Eggplant Choka is a popular dish in the Southern Caribbean, in countries like Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. These islands have a huge Indian influence that has shaped so much of their local cuisine from curries and flatbreads to fragrant dips and sides like this eggplant choka. Much like other Caribbean dishes, the term "choka" actually describes the method used to prepare the dish. The term originates from the Hindi word "chokha," meaning to mash or crush, which perfectly describes the preparation method of this dish. The vegetables, often roasted over an open flame are then mashed or crushed, to create a flavorful blend that's both rustic and sophisticated. So when you see the word "choka" behind a vegetable dish, just know that the vegetable has been roasted, mashed and enhanced with a ton of aromatics.

There's another unique cooking technique used to make choka called "chunkay" (pronounced choong-kay). This is a final step that involves pouring hot oil over sliced onions or aromatics to cut the raw taste without the need to actually cook them.

eggplant choka a west indian eggplant dip topped with chopped herbs and sliced onions


Eggplants, the star of this dish, are not just any ordinary vegetable they're a powerhouse of nutrients. You'll find that most, if not all of the recipes that will be shared on this blog are a balance of health and culture. So it's no surprise that this recipe is not only tasty but also great for hormone health. 

First off, eggplants are brimming with fiber. This isn't just any fiber, but the kind that plays a crucial role in stabilizing blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels are erratic, your body responds by pumping out more insulin and cortisol, throwing your hormones out of whack. The fiber in eggplants help maintain insulin sensitivity and reduce the stress on your adrenal glands.

Eggplants are rich in antioxidants, particularly nasunin, a type of anthocyanin found in their purple skin. Nasunin is not just a pretty color; it's a fierce protector of your brain cells from damage and helps in detoxifying harmful substances in the liver. Given that the liver is one of your body's hormonal headquarters, optimizing its function is crucial for hormonal balance. Nasunin's ability to aid in the detoxification process supports your liver in metabolizing hormones, ensuring that excess hormones don't throw your system off balance.

Furthermore, the magnesium and vitamin B6 in eggplants deserve a standing ovation for their hormone-friendly roles. Magnesium plays a pivotal part in the production and regulation of hormones like insulin, thyroid hormones, and sex hormones. Vitamin B6, on the other hand, is essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which influence mood and stress levels. By promoting the production of these feel-good hormones, Eggplant Choka can be considered a comforting dish for those particularly stressful days.

Eggplant Choka, with its rich blend of smoky eggplant, heart-healthy oils, and aromatic spices, isn't just food; it's functional medicine on a plate. Every ingredient contributes to its hormone-balancing act, making it a wise choice for anyone looking to support their hormonal health naturally.


Imagine these flavours dancing on your palate: 

  • Smokiness from charred eggplant.
  • Fiery, aromatic and earthy warmth from crushed garlic and scotch bonnet pepper.


Eggplant Choka is incredibly versatile. Serve it as a dip with roti or naan, use it as a spread for sandwiches, or pair it with rice for a hearty meal. It's also the perfect companion for grilled meats and vegetables, adding a smoky, spicy kick that elevates the entire dining experience.

 Let's get into the recipe!

eggplant choka a west indian eggplant dip that is hormone-friendly and delicious


1 large eggplant, washed and dried 

3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole

1/4 of an onion, thinly sliced (*see notes)

A piece of scotch bonnet pepper, finely minced and seeds removed

1/4 tsp salt or Chadon Beni Salt recipe 

2 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

Chadon beni or cilantro, finely chopped



  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F. Place the whole eggplant and garlic cloves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 30-35 minutes until the skin is charred and the eggplant is soft. Remove the eggplant from the oven and let it cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel the meat away from the skin and set it aside in a bowl.
  2. In a bowl or mortar add the roasted garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and salt. Use the back of a spoon or pestle, to crush everything together to form a paste then set aside. Add it to the bowl with the roasted eggplant, then mash with a fork or potato masher until slightly chunky.
  3. Top with the sliced onions. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, pour the oil over the mashed eggplant making sure that it touches the onion slices on top. Mix to combine everything then garnish with chadon beni.  
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • Use as much onion as you'd like.
  • You can omit the scotch bonnet pepper, but it truly adds to an authentic Eggplant Choka eating experience. 



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