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Spicy Aubergine ©

April 26, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a delicious recipe and makes a good alternative to your usual lenten dishes. With Greek Easter just over a week away, I thought I would include some vegetarian curries.

In Greece, curry is not always very popular, because of the spiciness and the heat, but one can always add less chilli and a lot less oil and create a light fragrant result, using the great variety of vegetables that grow here.

If  you have the time, whole spices, which you roast for a minute or two, with out oil in a frying pan and then grind in a spice/coffee grinder, give the best results. Alternatively make sure your pre-ground spices have not passed their expiry date and have been kept in an air-tight jar with the lid screwed on tightly. When you open your jar to use the spices, they should smell fragrant, if not buy fresh. Cooking curries usually involves heating the spices briefly in oil and this is essential, so that the spice oils are released and give a wonderful fragrance.

I love spices and especially buying them in the ‘Spice Market.’ The main ones you want to have in your store cupboard are listed below and it is the combination of these, that makes up the different curry spice mixtures. If you don’t have a good ‘Spice Market’ near you  will find most of these spices, whole or pre-ground in your local food store.

A special request from dear friends in America!

 

Essential Spices to have, when starting out your Spice Cupboard!

Cinnamon, Cloves, Star Anise, All Spice Berries

Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper (Hot) Sweet Paprica

Fennel Seeds, Mustard Seeds

Garam Masala ( Specific mixture of spices )

Saffron ( Real saffron is expensive )

Ginger used fresh, peeled and finely grated

Fresh chillies, red or green. Alternatively  Chili powder ( Hot!)

 

Spices are not expensive at all, so always ask the price before buying, especially in a Spice Market!

***(1euro should buy you at least 11 g of spice)

** When buying from a ‘Spice Market’ always store in air-tight jar straight away, label and add date of purchase.

 

 

Spicy Aubergine ©

 

 

Easy

 

 

6 persons

 

 

Ingredients

800g Aubergine/ Egg Plant/ Melitzana

400g ripe tomatoes or 400 g tin cubed tomato

2.5 cm piece of ginger finely grated

6 cloves garlic, crushed

200 ml Olive oil

1 tsp Fennel Seeds

1/2 Nigella Seeds, if available

1 tbs ground Coriander

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp salt

Coriander leaves for garnish

 

Method

1. Wash and cut aubergines into 4-5 cm wedges. Taste each aubergine for bitterness. If very bitter discard. This happens towards the end of the season, when the seeds are also larger. Place in colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 30 minutes, during which time any bitter juices will run out. Rinse and squeeze out any excess water and dry with kitchen paper.

2. If using fresh tomatoes, skin by cutting a small cross in the skin at the top of your tomato, plunging into boiling water for 5 seconds, peeling and chopping into cubes. Otherwise use tinned cubed tomatoes.

3. Clean and crush your garlic, peel and finely grate your fresh ginger. Take one third of your tomato and blend together in blender.

4. Heat 100 ml of your oil in a large deep frying pan or saucepan and add as many pieces as you can fit in a single layer. Cook over a medium heat, until brown on both sides, then transfer to a sieve lined with kitchen paper to drain from any excess oil. Add remaining oil and fry the rest of your aubergines. ( ALWAYS FRY WITH LID BESIDE YOU!)

5 . Once you have finished frying your aubergines, fry in the remaining oil, your Fennel Seeds and Nigella Seeds. Cover and allow to pop for a few seconds. Add the remaining ingredients, except the aubergine and simmer gently for 5-6 minutes. If  the sauce gets too  thick, add 3 tbs water. You want your sauce thick, but you don’t want it to catch on the bottom of the saucepan.

6. Add the aubergines, don’t stir, because you want your aubergine wedges to stay whole, just shake the pan from time to time. Cover and cook over a gentle heat, mark 3 for 10 minutes.

7. Serve hot or cold. This goes excellently served as part of an Indian Feast. Over the next few weeks I will be posting the rest of my recipes for the Feast!

 

N.B. Cook’s Tip : Always fry with a saucepan lid next to you, or use a flat sieve cover, this stops the fat from spitting over your cooker, which could be a fire risk!

Taste each aubergine as you cut it open for bitterness. If too bitter discard. Sometimes, especially towards the end of the season, when the seeds are also larger, the aubergine becomes bitter. The sprinkling of the salt and leaving the aubergine to drain, also helps the bitter juices run out.

*Frying really brings the best out in aubergine, but alternatively you could bake the wedges in the oven, but it is not quite the same.

 

 

 

Spicy Aubergine ©

Choose good firm aubergines.

Spicy Aubergine ©

Gather together your ingredients, before starting to cook.

Spicy Aubergine ©

Use freshly ground spices. If you are using whole spices, toss in a hot frying pan (no oil) continuously for 2 minutes, with out

burning them and then grind in spice/coffee grinder for the freshest and most flavorsome results.

 

Spicy Aubergine ©

Cut your aubergines into wedges.

Spicy Aubergine ©

Sprinkle with salt and leave 30 minutes to drain.

Spicy Aubergine ©

Any bitterness will drain out during this time. It is important to taste a piece from each aubergine, because some are

so bitter, they should be discarded. Always buy a few extra!

Spicy Aubergine ©

Peel and finely grate your ginger and garlic, mix with 1/3rd of your tomato and blend together in blender.

Spicy Aubergine ©

Blended mixture.

Spicy Aubergine ©

Fry aubergine wedges in oil until brown on both sides.

Spicy Aubergine ©

Drain fried aubergine on kitchen paper in colander. Use ” Flat Sieve Cover,” while frying. This stops the oil spitting

over your cooker which is a fire risk and at the same time allows the steam to escape.

Spicy Aubergine ©

Once aubergines are fried, remove and fry first Fennel and Nigela seeds until they pop and then fry spices until fragrant.

1-2 minutes over a medium heat, don’t burn! ( If they do by chance burn, discard and start over, or your curry will be bitter.)

Spicy Aubergine ©

Add the rest of your ingredients and simmer over a gentle heat for 5-6 minutes. Add 3 tbs of water if getting too dry and there

is danger of it sticking.

Spicy Aubergine ©

Gently  lay your aubergines over the sauce, with out stirring, so as not to break them up and leave to gently simmer over

a low heat for ten minutes lid on, giving the saucepan a twisting shake from time to time.

 

Spicy Aubergine ©

Serve hot or cold, as meal of its own, as part of an Indian Feast or as a spicy accompaniment.

 

Spicy Aubergine ©

 

 

Final result !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna permalink
    April 30, 2013 9:36 pm

    This was DELICIOUS!!! Even better the following days. A definite repeat!

    Like

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