Baingan Bharta - roasted smoky aubergine
I've been lucky enough to eat my friend Romy Gill's food on many occasions - she's an inspired home cook - so it's great to finally see her recipes in print.
This is one of her favourites from her lovely new book Zaika, which she describes as her 'ultimate desert island dish'.
Romy writes: The beauty of Indian food is that it not only has regional dishes but families cook each of these in so many ways. If you don’t like one method, you can just cook it another way! Baingan bharta with dal and roti would be my ultimate desert island dish; the perfect balance of smoky aubergine and the warmth of the green chillies is so divine.
The aubergines are roasted on the hob and then left to cool down before peeling off the skin and mashed; this recipe is how my mum made it, so I give her all the credit.
2 medium-sized aubergines
6 tsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 medium onions, finely chopped
3 green chillies, seeds in, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
20g coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
Roti, to serve (there is a recipe in the book)
Roast the aubergines over a gas burner on the hob over a medium heat using a pair of tongs to hold them, or under a preheated hot grill. Either way, turn the veg regularly for even roasting. Allow to cool, then when cool enough to handle, peel off the roasted skin. Mash the flesh in a large bowl.
Heat the oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds, then add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the onions and chillies, cook for 4–5 minutes over a high heat and keep stirring. Once the onions are translucent, add the chopped tomatoes and coriander to the pan and cook for 3–4 minutes. When the tomatoes have broken down into the onions, add the rest of the spices and salt and mix together well. Finally, stir in the mashed aubergine and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat.
Serve with roti.
What to drink: I'd probably drink lassi with this or one of the lovely soft drinks in the book but you could drink a light aromatic white like a sylvaner or riesling (I know Romy's favourite is the Kung Fu Girl riesling) or a rosé.
Extracted from Zaika: vegan recipes from India by Romy Gill, published by Seven Dials at £20. Photo ©Del Sneddon.
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