This vegetarian/vegan aubergine curry is special as it has really aromatic, deep flavours of achar – pickle in Hindi – these are usually soaked in seed and mustard oil and I used this flavour as a base for this curry.
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds/onion seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 dried red chillies (3-4 for added spice!)
9 baby aubergines, sliced open lengthways into four
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 medium-sized red potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
2 onions, chopped
1 small piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (optional)
In a pan, add the seeds and let them dry roast for a few minutes until they are aromatic and golden.
Add the chillies.
Transfer the spices to a pestle and mortar and crush gently to get a coarse powder with a bite!
Using the same pan as before, add the oil and gently pan fry the aubergine for 4-5 minutes until they have a little colour.
While cooking, make some rajma (red bean curry).
When ready, remove the aubergines to a plate.
Add another couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil to the same pan and when hot, pan fry the potato pieces until they are lightly golden.
Once they have a light, golden colour, remove to a plate.
Again, in the same pan, add the onions and cook for 6-8 minutes until slightly golden.
Once cooked, add the garlic and ginger to the pan.
Cook for a minute.
Add the crushed spices and mix through.
Add the tomatoes and then 100ml water.
Cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
Add the salt and sugar (if using) and mix through.
Add the potatoes and aubergine to the pan.
Add some more water to help cook the vegetables.
Stir gently as cooking to avoid breaking the aubergine up.
Cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes and aubergine are cooked through.
Sprinkle some coriander leaves over the dish before serving.
Serve with the rajma, rice and raita on the side.