I’ve recently got the curry bug, again. Here on the western side of The States, even up here near Portland, Oregon (which prides itself on its cuisine) good Indian curry isn’t really available. The problem with Indian curry is finding a blend of spices that appeals. Cooking the curry itself isn’t difficult, but many curry powders rely too heavily on cumin (a relatively cheap spice), in my opinion, which has left me searching for blends that please.
Warmly spicy and intensely flavored, this tomato based curry pairs well with sweet mango chutney, and plain, boiled, rice.
One thing you’ll notice about this recipe is the huge variation in oil that is suggested. For a home-style (and healthier) curry, use the lesser amount. For a rich, indulgent, restaurant style dish, use the greater amount. Aubergine has a reputation for absorbing all the oil in a pan in seconds flat, but it will absorb much less oil and stick less when it cooks (and consequently leave oil in the pan to cook the spices), if it has been salted before cooking and the oil is sizzling hot when the aubergine is added.
Note: if your aubergine/eggplant is a bit on the small side, add a 14 oz can of drained chickpeas/garbanzo beans along with the tomatoes.
1 aubergine (eggplant), cut into 3/4″-1″ chunks
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 – 1/2 tsp crushed dried chilies
1 tbsp – 1/2 cup margarine/vegetable oil
1/2 large onion, thickly diced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
14-20 fl oz (2 cups) tinned tomatoes
2 – 6 tsps sugar (optional – to counteract acidic tinned tomatoes)
Put the aubergine (eggplant) cubes in a bowl, and sprinkle with the salt. Allow to sit for at least 1/2 hour to soften and draw out some of the juices.
Gather the spices together in a small bowl.
Heat the fat in a medium sized saucepan, over a medium/high heat.
Wait for the oil to get hot, then add the onions, and cook for 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Drain the aubergine (eggplant), and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Add the aubergine (eggplant) to the onions, and cook (stirring occasionally) for about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, and allow to warm through. (~30 seconds)
Sprinkle the spices over the veggies. Stir and allow to warm through. (~30 seconds)
Turn down the temperature, add the tomatoes, cover, and cook until they have broken down into a sauce, and the aubergine is completely soft.
Taste, and add extra salt (~1/4 tsp) and/or sugar to taste.
Serve hot with cooked rice.