Friday, 3 August 2012

Afghan Aubergines

Any mention of Afghanistan naturally raises thoughts of the awful conflict and the hordes of brave soldiers risking their lives on a daily basis. I really can't think of any positives about being there, although if I was there, I'd be quite happy to munch on this dish every day. I was delighted to receive Veggiestan, by Sally Butcher as a Xmas present last year. The front cover is stunning and thankfully the recipes on the inside match up.

Blending aubergine with yoghurt is nothing new, but to serve the vegetable hot creates something a little different. This is great to serve with some pitta bread as a shared starter or part of a meze. The textures are very comforting and the spices marry well with the yoghurt which carries quite a kick of its own thanks to all the raw garlic.

Ingredients : (for 2 people as a shared meze dish) large aubergine cut into 6mm slices, rapeseed oil, chopped onion, green chilli chopped, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, 1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes, small bunch or chopped coriander. Yoghurt : 150ml thick yoghurt, 1tbsp lemon juice, 3 crushed garlic cloves, handful of chopped mint, seasoning

1. Place the aubergines in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave to bleed for half an hour, wash, then pat dry.
2. Sweat off the onion and chili until soft, then remove and set aside.
3. Now fry off the aubergine until brown on both sides, you may need to do this in batches.
4. When brown, sprinkle with the turmeric and then add the tomatoes, onions and chilli and 3/4 of the coriander. Add sufficient water so that the veg is covered, then place a lid on, reduce to a low heat and simmer for 20-30mins until sauce thickens.
5. In the meantime combine all of the sauce ingredients and chill.
6. To serve, check the aubergine mix for seasoning. Spread 3/4 of the yoghurt over the base of a plate. Top with the aubergines and tip the remaining yoghurt on top. Garnish with the remaining coriander and dive in.

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