Sunday, 22 March 2009

Aubergine cooked in the pickling style

2.5 cm cube fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
6 large cloves garlic, peeled
55ml water
800g aubergines
sunflower or vegetable oil, about 350ml
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2tsp kalonji or cumin seeds
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbs ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like)
1 tsp salt

Put the ginger and garlic in a small blender/food processor with 55ml water, blend until smooth.
Cut the aubergines in to wedges or slices about 2cm thick and about 5cm long
Put a metal sieve over a heat resistant bowl.
Heat some oil in a heavy frying pan enough to give about 1/3 cm depth.
When hot add the aubergine in a single layer, fry until a reddish brown colour, turn them over and brown on the other side. When well coloured remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or fish slice and put into the sieve and allow to drain.
Repeat until all the aubergine has been browned.
You can turn off the heat at this time and allow the aubergine to drain for an hour or continue. I normally just let the aubergine drain for the time needed to complete the recipe.
Add a little more oil to the pan and heat gently. When hot add the fennel seeds and kalonji, as soon as the fennel seeds start to get a little darker, this only takes seconds add the chopped tomatoes, the ginger and garlic paste, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt.
Stir and cook gently for about 6 mins, turn down the heat and allow to simmer very gently until the mixture starts to thicken.
Add the fried aubergine to the tomato mixture and mix gently.
Cook on a medium heat for another 5 mins, then cover with a lid and simmer very gently for another 10 mins.
This dish can be eaten hot or cold and can be made in advance. Any excess oil can be spooned off when cool before serving if required.
This dish works well as part of a cold buffet meal or with meat dishes as a side dish or with a BBQ meal. Enjoy!