Aloo Baingan – Indian Potato & Eggplant

The benefits of cooking so much Indian food, is that I am often left with lots of freezer leftovers. This means, with little effort, I can put together an Indian feast. What normally happens is I dig out one or two meat curries from the freezer, then cook fresh one or two vegetable curries to accompany. This eggplant dish is a regular. A comforting, wholesome dish thats’s easy to put together. It benefits from cooking until very soft. The overall texture rich and smooth and very easy to eat an entire pan of. Works very well on its own incidentally, with a naan bread or rice. Delicious.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 onion (thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon grated garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 small chilli (seeded and finely chopped)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 tomatoes (chopped)
2 medium eggplant (cut into large chunks)
2 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lime (juice of)
1 small bunch fresh coriander (chopped)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a moderate/high heat until hot. Add the mustard seeds and cumin and sizzle for 30 seconds until the seeds start to pop. Add the onion and fry for 2-3 minutes until they start to darken around the edges. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir briefly before adding about 1/4 cup water. This will avoid them sticking. Let the water reduce until everything is frying again then repeat this 1/4 cup water method twice more. Add the turmeric, chilli and tomatoes and stir well for 3-4 minutes until the tomato turns into a paste.

Stir in the potatoes, eggplant and salt along with 400ml water. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Place a lid over the pan and cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes and eggplant are very soft. Some of the eggplant will break up, this will help thicken the sauce. Remove the lid, and if needed, simmer the sauce for 5-10 minutes to reduce to a dryish thick paste. Remove from heat.

Squeeze over the lime juice, stir in the fresh coriander and serve.

Serve with Indian breads or basmati rice, on its own or as part of a larger Indian feast.

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