The first of the seasons aubergines are starting to peek out from inside their pretty lilac flowers in the fields where I walk the dog.
I have lots of aubergine recipes saved from Spain to China that will make even the most stubborn aubergine haters out there succumb to its deeply, dark and delicious charms.
I can say that because I used to be one of them – a hater I mean, not an aubergine obviously. If they are cooked incorrectly, which they generally are, they can be a spongy, chewy, watery, bland and disgusting disaster. Which is why there are so many haters out there.
The first recipe from my aubergine collection that I am going to share with you is a curry. I chose the curry because my chillis on the roof terrace are turning for green to red very quickly right now and every morning there is a fresh crop of jewel-like peppers twinkling at me from the bush.
These chillis are just asking to be used, and there are lots of them.
So expect lot of chilli recipes in the next few weeks including: my homemade Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce and some spicy Chickpea Tikka Masala Burgers. It’s going to be a long, hot summer.
This curry is delicious, the aubergine is meltingly soft and the sauce well reduced to create an intensely rich and flavourful dish.
It’s from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey. You can’t go wrong with Rick, he knows good curry. I just added the chickpeas so it was a one pot dish and I didn’t have to make any rice to go with it. Some flatbreads would be nice to scoop it up though.
Rick Stein has a new series about Spain on the BBC at the moment. I saw it for the first time last night and he mentioned that next week he would be in Andalucia. I’m really interested to see where he goes and what he eats. It’s definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s called Rick Stein’s Spain.
Curried Aubergine with Tomato & Chickpeas
Serves 2-3, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey
- 1 large aubergine
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 100 ml olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 or 2 red chillies, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
- 1 tin, 400 gr chopped tomatoes
- 200 gr (1/2 a jar/tin) cooked chickpeas, rinsed & drained
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- a handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus leaves for garnish
- 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
- lemon wedges to serve
Cut the aubergine in half across the middle then cut each half in half lengthways. Cut each piece, lengthways into 6 or 8 wedges, place them in a colander, sprinkle over 1/2 tsp salt and toss to coat. Place the colander in the sink to drain for 10 minutes. This draws out some of the water out of the aubergines.
Meanwhile prepare your onions, garlic, ginger and chillies. Heat a large frying pan over a medium high heat without any oil. Pour the olive oil into a shallow dish and brush the aubergine wedges on all sides with the oil. Put them in the frying pan a few at a time and cook for 2 or 3 minutes on each side until well browned. This helps to stop the aubergines absorbing too much oil. Set aside in a heatproof bowl and continue cooking the rest.
Put the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli into a processor or blender with 2 or 3 tbsp water and process to a smooth paste. Heat 2 tbsp of the remaining olive oil in the frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fennel seeds wait until they start to pop then add the onion paste and fry for about 2 minutes. Add the ground coriander and turmeric and fry for a further minute then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and 3 tbsp water.
Lower the heat, cover and leave to simmer for about 8 minutes until sauce has reduced and thickened. Add the aubergine wedges back into the pan along with the chickpeas and stir well to coat in the sauce. Simmer for a further 5 minutes until the aubergines are meltingly tender then stir in the fresh coriander & mint. Taste to check seasoning.
Serve garnished with coriander leaves and a wedge of lemon.
Please try this even if you hate aubergine and let me know if you’ve been converted. I was!
Things That made me Smile Today…..
Beautiful squash flowers…
And green baby pumpkins nestled in their shady bed….
A sure sign that autumn is not too far away and along with it relief from this crazy heat!