Friday, September 05, 2008

Aubergine Purée

By Thursday I had a bunch of coriander unused in the fridge from the weekend and I simply did not want to throw it away. Hate waste. There was also an aubergine I'd bought with the idea of making a chinese salad dish and some sweet cherry tomatoes leftover from lunchboxes. So a Chinese type meal was still a possibility, but we'd had homestyle tofu Wednesday night and I'd been thinking fried rice for Thursday but didn't have enough left over. Had a hankering for dahl for a week or so now, and in the end that seemed like a good use for at least half the coriander. Most often with aubergine I make my favourite curry with chick peas but that seemed like a pulse too far.

Like I've done for the last twenty years or more I went to Charmaine Solomon's The Complete Asian Cookbook for inspiration and found this recipe for an aubergine and tomato stew, thickened through long cooking. When it first went into the pan it tasted decidedly iffy, actually pretty unpleasant. Not a fan of undercooked aubergine. But I put the lid on and hoped for the best - and that was what I was rewarded with.

Aubergine Purée

1 large eggplant

300 tomatoes - large or small but must be ripe and sweet

2 tbspns ghee or oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 tbspn grated ginger

1/2 tspn ground turmeric

1/2 tspn chilli powder

2 tspns salt

1 tspn garam masala

Dice the aubergine and tomatoes to about the same size - 2 cm ish. It is not necessary to peel either. Heat ghee in a heavy based saucepan and gently fry onion and ginger until they are soft and stqrt to brown. Add turmeric, chilli powder, salt and garam masala and mix thoroughly. Add the diced vegetables, stir well and add about half a cup of hot water to moisten. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low, cook until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally to prevent the bits sticking and burning. After about 20 minutes half skew the lid to let the steam escape and continue stirring and cooking till the liquid evaporates and the purée is thick and dry enough to scoop up with naan bread. Serve hot or cold.

Dinner was a really well matched mix of cold steamed rice, warm coriander dahl and hot aubergine. Both the dahl and the aubergine made really generous quantities - enough for the man for lunch Friday and to have as a side dish in the evening. I have some celery, spring onions and cucumber to use up so it will be spicy corn fritters and cucumber raita with the last of the coriander. Looking forward to it.


Helen said...

Hi Bron. I am liking this aubergine puree a lot. I am a bit icky about aubergine and I think making it into a puree definitely improves the texture a lot, like baba ganoush. I love the way it lends itself so well to spices too.

bron said...

Hi Helen,

So glad you like it. I had it cold Friday night with some fish and it was pretty fab then too.