Aubergine in peanut sauce

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The state of Maharashtra is well known for its vegetarian dishes, which combine simple cooking methods and complex flavours. Both peanuts and sesame seeds add an opulent taste to this dish, Baingan Ki Subzi, and it more than merits its place as a main course.

Ingredients

  • 50 g/2 oz sesame seeds
  • 25 g/1 oz desiccated (dry unsweetened shredded) coconut
  • 25 g/1 oz dry-roasted peanuts
  • 2 aubergines (eggplants), about 500g/lb
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 5 ml/1 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp garam masala
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp tamarind or lime juice
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
  • rice or bread, to serve

Method

  1. In a heavy pan, dry-roast the sesame seeds over a medium heat for 1 minute, until they are just a shade darker. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

  2. In the same pan, dry-roast the coconut for 1–2 minutes, until it turns a pale creamy colour. Leave to cool, then mix with the sesame seeds. Grind the mixture in batches in a coffee grinder and set aside.

  3. Crush the roasted peanuts to a coarse texture and set aside.

  4. Cut the aubergine into 5cm/2 in cubes and soak them in a bowl of cold water.

  5. Heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes, until soft but not brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the turmeric, chilli powder and cumin. Cook for about 2 minutes.

  6. Drain the aubergine and add to the pan. Add the salt and pour in 500ml/17fl oz/ generous 2 cups warm water.

  7. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes.

  8. Add the sesame seeds and coconut and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until the aubergine is tender. Add the garam masala, tamarind or lime juice and the coriander, stir and remove from the heat. Sprinkle over the peanuts and serve with rice or bread.

Per portion Energy 306kcal/1268kJ; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 12g, of which sugars 9g; Fat 26g, of which saturates 6g; Cholesterol 0mg; Calcium 135mg; Fibre 05.6g; Sodium 558mg.