Saving aubergines in the height of summer

A tangy summer feast in a frying pan

I rushed out of work with colleagues to catch the new Richard Rogers exhibition. Culture out of the way, we made our way towards bottles of viognier by the sunny Thames.

A few glasses, pizzas and hours of heavy screeching later, I arrived back at home to find a husband prostrate with exhaustion from taking courier delivery of my new red coat dress. And a web browser problem interfering with a client’s urgent press release.

Feeling weary, and a little worse for wear, I flung open the fridge door looking for more vino. And they stared right back at me. Two medium large aubergines/eggplants. Leftover from last dinner party. Distinctly changing colour.

Blast. Is it just me or is summer affecting everything?

The next morning, I decided on a Hyderabad-style spicy and sour baingan. I had pretty much all of the long list of ingredients, including the peanuts I ingeniously fished out of a pack of Bombay Mix. But you could just as easily omit some of the ingredients bar the peanuts, tamarind and aubergine of course.

It was a tangy feast in a frying pan. Perfect to nibble ahead another day of champagne in the sun, meetings and greetings. And even better frozen for an imminent quiet night in.

Feeds 4:

  • 2 medium aubergines/eggplants
  • 1 small onion
  • 30 peanuts
  • 1 tsp each of fenugreek, cumin and nigella seeds
  • Half tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp each of chilli, cumin and coriander powders
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 chopped green chillies
  • 2 sprigs of fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Slice the aubergine into two cm thick discs, cut into eight bite-sized pieces and then soak in salted cold water. This will prevent them from soaking oil up as they cook.

In a large frying pan or pot, bring the oil to heat over a high flame. When hot, add the sugar and whole spices. As they start spluttering and the sugar melts, stir in the onion and ginger/garlic paste and fry for five minutes until they turn golden brown.

Now add the powdered spices and fry for another two minutes, adding water to prevent the spices from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When the pungent smell of the masalas go, stir in half a cup of hot water and cook the onions mashing them so they lose their shape until the water evaporates.

Smash up the peanuts and mix them in too along with the drained, sliced aubergines. Stir it all well and cook covered on a medium flame with about two tablespoons of water at a time until the aubergines are limp.

Now, mix in the tamarind paste, salt to taste, chopped green chillies and fresh coriander. Serve hot as a side dish to rice or simply with yogurt and some pitta bread.


    This entry was posted on Thursday, June 26th, 2008 at 9:14 am and is filed under Highlights, Summer specials, Vegetables, Vegetarian. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.