Hyderabad-style spicy and sour aubergines

Mallika Basu - Hyderabad-style spicy and sour aubergines

Posted 26th June 2008

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. And use crunchy, no added sugar peanut butter.

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
  • 40 peanuts/5 tbsp peanut butter
  • 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, toss in a tbsp of oil and a sprinkling of salt and roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes (about 200 degrees C).

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

Now add the powdered spices with the chopped green chillies and fry for another five minutes, adding water to prevent the spices from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When the pungent smell of the masalas go, smash up the peanuts and mix them in too. If using the peanut butter add it in now. Stir it all well, loosen the spice paste with a cup of water and cook uncovered on a medium low heat until oil starts oozing out of it.

Now, mix in the tamarind paste and the fresh coriander and slowly mix in the aubergines. Taste the whole lot and add more salt only if you need to. Serve hot as a side dish to rice or simply with yogurt and some pitta bread.


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