baby aubergine curry with coconut

I love trying new ways of cooking tasty vegan food, and I particularly love aubergines. Because the aubergines are babies they cook differently to large aubergines, they are tender but at the same time they stay firm. I adapted this recipe from an Indian cookbook called 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi.
I have cooked this for dinner parties with basmati rice, salad and papadums and it is always a huge hit. It looks impressive and it’s tasty, sweet and savoury and has all the lovely flavours of delicious Indian spices. I sometimes serve it with a dollop of dairy free yogurt or kefir too.


Serves 4 or adjust the quantities for a dinner party if there are more people.

1 teaspoon of tamarind paste
450g of baby aubergines
125 ml of coconut cream
4-5 whole red chillies with the stalk end removed
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
8-10 curry leaves
3 -4 onions chopped
1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric
1 lemon
1 tablespoon of desiccated coconut
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish
I also added a few Thai basil leaves (optional)



Chop the stalk end off of the aubergines, make 2 incisions like a cross halfway up each one and place in a bowl of water with a pinch of salt for fifteen minutes to remove any bitterness.
In a largish frying pan dry toast the coriander and cumin seeds for a couple of minutes then place them in a small food processor and whizz for a minute or two. Meanwhile toast the red chillies in the dry pan till they are getting black spots on them and are starting to get softer. Add these to the processor. Now add the coconut cream and blitz till it’s a paste. Set aside.
Heat the oil in the pan and add the mustard seeds, when they pop add the garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Next add the onions and turmeric and fry on a lowish heat for about twenty five minutes. Add the spice paste and a splash of water and simmer for a further ten minutes, adding a bit more water if it starts to stick.
Add a cup more of water, some salt, the tamarind and the aubergines and cover and cook for fifteen minutes. Add a big squeeze of lemon juice and continue cooking till the aubergines are tender. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the desiccated coconut and the coriander leaves just before serving.

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