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Serves: 3-4 as a side
3 small aubergines
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp panch phoron (equal parts nigella, fenugreek, black mustard, cumin and fennel seeds)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 green chillies, chopped
2 tsp tomato purée
2 tbsp coconut milk
For the dry ground paste
50g roasted, salted peanuts
30g desiccated coconut
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
10 dry curry leaves
1. To make the dry ground paste, blend the peanuts, desiccated coconut, garam masala, turmeric and curry leaves together in a food processor. Set aside.
2. Cut the aubergines along their length on one side only, leaving both ends intact. Heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil in a frying pan, then add the aubergines. Fry for about 10-15 minutes, turning often, until cooked evenly on all sides. Once they are soft and change colour, remove them from the heat and leave to cool.
3. Meanwhile, warm another frying pan over a medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp oil and once it’s hot, add the panch phoron. When it starts to sizzle add the sliced garlic, cooking it for 1 minute. Add the sliced onion and green chillies and cook for 10 minutes until light brown. Stir in 1 tsp salt, tomato purée and coconut milk, and cook for another 2 minutes.
4. Mix in the dry ground paste and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool, then cover and rest in the fridge for 1 hour – it will become more flavoursome.
5. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Spoon the filling into the cuts in the aubergines, being careful not to break the skins, and put in a single layer in a medium to large roasting tin or ovenproof serving dish. Bake for 10 minutes, or until piping hot. Remove and discard the stem and leaves and serve with roti or plain paratha, if liked.
Typical values per serving: