Courgette curry

A simple, easy to cook and delicious vegetable. Once you have the base done, it cooks pretty quickly – it really is worth cooking down the base as detailed below.

2 medium size courgettes, washed and sliced;

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 green chillies, finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I used a mix of 8 cherry tomatoes and some passata)

t tbsp tomato puree/paste

2 tbsp oil

1/4 cup water

handful of fresh coriander leaves

1 tbsp kasoori methi

1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala

Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. As soon as they start sizzling, stir in the onions, ginger garlic and green chillies, Cook till the onions are soft and translucent. Don’t let the onions brown – add the tomatoes and a little water. Bhun on medium heat till the oil separates, and if need be, add a little bit more water and cook it down. The tomatoes have to cook till very very soft, so much that they mush with the back of your spoon and disintegrate in the sauce.

At this point, stir in the masalas and the courgettes. Combine well, making sure the masala coats the courgettes well and cover the pot, reduce the heat. The courgettes don’t need stirring much, or they will turn to mush. Let them cook on low heat, stirring gently once or maybe twice just to mix the masala gravy on them. They will be cooked in 10 minutes. Sprinkle some fresh coriander leaves and some kasoori methi for some fragrance and serve hot.

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.