Easy garlicky Aubergine curry

This recipe does not follow normal ‘traditional’ cooking methods. I make it this way often, as its easy, convenient and its the way I like it. I don’t add many spices/masalas, and the ones I do add are already roasted so I just sprinkle them on instead of cooking them or roasting them in oil. The heat is from the green chillies, which works well for me.

1 medium size aubergine/eggplant;

2 medium sized onions (preferably red ones);

1 inch piece of ginger, grated;

5-6 cloves of garlic, minced;

2 green chillies, chopped;

2 tbsp cooking oil (I like grapeseed)

1 cup passata sauce or 4/5 medium size tomatoes, finely chopped;

1/4 cup base gravy (optional)

Heat the oil in a wok, add roughly chopped pieces of aubergine and start to stir fry on medium heat. Same time, start slicing the red onions and drop them in with the aubergine. Add the ginger, garlic, green chillies to this. Sprinkle a little salt and cover the wok. Let this cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or so. I have an induction stove, so you may need to adjust the heat levels but idea is that the steam buildup inside cooks it through slowly. I like some of the edges caramelising a little, as it gives it a nice flavour.

Stir and add the tomatoes. Salt, black pepper to taste and I also sprinkle some garam masala, roasted cumin powder, roasted coriander powder and Kashmiri red chilli powder to taste. Once it is combined well, cover and let it cook on low/medium heat for about an hour. Stir from time to time.

Sprinkle some fresh coriander leaves and serve. I always have frozen coriander leaves, so I stir them in before serving. They don’t look so good all wilted on top, as a garnish 😉

To garnish – Heat some ghee and fry some thinly sliced garlic. Add on top before serving.

SLOWCOOKER METHOD: Just put everything all together in the slow cooker and let it cook for 4 hours on high heat. May need to stir it once/twice. Depending on the quantity/size of cooker, I have left it on for 8 hours overnight when making a large batch on low heat, and it was beautiful the next morning. The constant cooking was a bit too aromatic for me and I found it hard to sleep though!

Baingan Bhartha

My recipe for this is a little unconventional, but it turns out stupendously amazing every time! So, grab two plump aubergines – secret is to not buy the heavy ones, as they are just full of heavy seeds. The lighter in weight, the better it is.

Depending on the size of the aubergines, you will need equal parts (in volume) of onions and tomatoes. Yes, that sounds a lot, but it works. Slice the onions and the tomatoes thinly, and set them aside.

Preheat oven to 175C (fan oven). Halve the aubergines lengthwise, make a few slits as you don’t want it to burst in the oven. In these slits, push through some cloves of garlic and halved green chillies. Drizzle a bit of oil and roast these for about 30-40 mins in the oven, turning over once. Purpose is to soften the aubergine through.

Remove from oven and put it into a large bowl, and cover the bowl or cling film it for half an hour as it cools down. The steam from this makes it easier to peel the skin off the aubergine. I like to keep some skin on, as I love the texture and flavour in my bhartha, but that’s totally optional.

In a pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and add 2 tsp of cumin seeds. As soon as they start sizzling, stir in the sliced onions.

Add 2 inch grated fresh ginger

roasted garlic cloves rescued from the aubergine

the roasted aubergine and green chillies

a heaped tbsp coriander powder

salt to taste

black pepper to taste

As soon as the onions start softening a little, stir in the tomatoes as well.

Add a tsp garam masala

Cover the pot (or use the slow cooker) and let it cook for as long as you can on medium/low heat. In the slow cooker, I usually leave on low all night long. Using a potato masher, mash the bhartha and adjust the seasoning as it would vary based on the sweetness of the tomatoes, the aubergine and the onions. Sprinkle some fresh coriander leaves before serving and a little sprinkling of mango powder (amchoor powder).

This can be made and frozen in small containers for upto 3 months.