Aubergine curry

OK, how about a healthy, fresh curry that is totally vegan, bargainous and most importantly, completely delicious?! That’s exactly what we have here. Many moons ago I was a hardened carnivore that could barely stomach anything that didn’t include some form of meat, however dishes like this have opened my eyes and made me realise that vegan food can be every bit as tasty and satisfying to eat, if you don’t believe me then please give this one a go, I guarantee you won’t miss the meat!

As always I’m keeping things nice and simple, meaning that you can cook this up in no time. It’s perfect if you’re entertaining guests during the week or on a busy weekend, when you need a recipe that’s quick but still delivers the WOW factor! You can even get everything ready in advance then bring it all together whenever you’re ready to eat. Entertaining made easy!

It’s a really nicely balanced dish too. The cool coconut yoghurt goes beautifully with the smoky, spicy aubergines and the contrast of these two elements tastes wonderful.  If you love curry, but are looking for a healthy alternative to the takeaway then this recipe is just what you need. Serve it up alongside a creamy dal and you have the ultimate Indian meal.

Get ahead – Prepare the aubergines and the curry sauce in advance then simply reheat just before serving.

Curry paste ingredients

Curry paste

Spices

Recipe

Serves 4

2 large aubergines (1), cut in half length-ways, then each half into 3 long fingers. (2)

4 tbs your preferred oil (but not extra-virgin olive)

2 thin green chillies, finely chopped

1 bulb of garlic, cloves skinned & roughly chopped

2” piece of ginger, peeled & roughly chopped (3)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp coriander seeds.

1 can of plum tomatoes or 400g fresh toms

Salt and pepper

120ml coconut yoghurt

1 unwaxed lime

1 tbs each of finely sliced coriander & mint

 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C then heat a griddle pan over a high heat.  Griddle all aubergine pieces (in batches) for 2 minutes each side until charred. Remove aubergines to greaseproof-lined baking sheet. Season with salt & pepper and drizzle with 2 tbs of oil, then place sheet in oven for 15 minutes.  Flip the aubergine pieces and cook for about 10 minutes extra, until golden and soft inside.

Meanwhile, blitz chillies, garlic & ginger in a mini processor along with 2 tbs water to create paste. Add remaining oil to large frying pan & place on medium heat. Add cumin & fennel seeds, sizzling for 20 seconds, then add paste.  Fry for 2 minutes then add turmeric, coriander seeds & tomatoes. Season with salt & pepper and add 60ml of water. Simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Keep warm until aubergines are ready.

To finish, grate the zest of the lime into the yoghurt, then add 2 tbs of yoghurt to each plate. Divide the curry sauce between the plates, then add 3 pieces of aubergine to each. Sprinkle with coriander and mint (I also added some oven dried cherry tomatoes), then serve.

(1) Choose aubergines that have firm, tight flesh. Avoid those that are soft and wrinkled as they are past their best.

(2) Do this just before cooking so that they don’t discolour. To get beautiful griddle marks, pat each of the fingers dry with kitchen paper before placing on the griddle.

(3) Scrape the skin of the ginger with a teaspoon and it should come away easily without losing too much of the actual ginger.

Aubergine curry