fragrant aubergine curry

Aubergine curry is a favourite of mine – I like the way aubergine absorbs the flavours and also the texture, which seems perfect if you want to scoop things up with a soft flatbread of some sort. 

I usually use a Nigel Slater recipe, which he describes as “hot, clean and vibrant, a mouth-popping stew” but I fancied something different and wanted to try another recipe from Amy Chaplin's At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, which I’ve neglected since making her summer stew with borlotti beans and courgette

This has a richer, more gentle flavour than the Nigel Slater recipe, which I enjoyed. I also really like the way the coconut oil, which is used coat the aubergine chunks before they are roasted as well as when you make the curry sauce, imparts a very soft hint of coconut flavour to the dish. Obviously you can ramp this up with a bit of coconut milk of cream, but actually I think the hint is all you need. 

It’s suggested that you serving this with a cucumber lime raita – a simple mix of yogurt, grated cucumber, sliced mint leaves, lime zest and a pinch of salt.

Amy Chaplin's Fragrant aubergine curry (serves 6)
1.3kg aubergines, cut into 3.5cm wedges
6 tablespoons coconut oil (c75g)
sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 onions, cut in 2.5cm dice
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated
5 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons curry powder
1.15kg tomatoes, peeled and chopped (abby note: I used tinned)
60g coriander leaves, chopped (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 200c. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper, toss the aubergine with 4 tablespoons of the coconut oil ½ a teaspoon of salt. Spread onto the trays in a single layer, placing the larger cut-side down. Roast for about 25 minutes, turn pieces over (rotate trays if necessary) and roast for another 15 minutes or until golden brown and soft inside. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Warm remaining coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat, add mustard seeds stirring until they begin to pop. Stir the onion and 1 teaspoon of salt; cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and sauté for 10 minutes or until onions are soft and golden, stirring occasionally. Return heat to medium and add the ginger and garlic and cook; cook for another few minutes. Stir in curry powder, add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and sauce-like. Stir in the roasted aubergine and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Season to taste (Abby note: you probably won’t need salt but black pepper is good and maybe a bit of sugar to bring out the tomato flavour), add coriander and serve with rice, chutney and raita