Spicy potatoes and purple aubergine (aloo baigan)

Serves: 4
Course: Dinner
  • 150ml light olive oil
  • 2 medium aubergines, diced chunky, fried in batches to a nutty colour in the light olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced same size as the aubergine, parboiled in salty water
  • 50ml mustard oil (light olive oil is fine here too)
  • 10 or so fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 medium red onions, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 30g ginger, finely grated
  • 3tsp medium hot curry powder
  • A good pinch of fenugreek leaves (optional)
  • 2tsp sea salt
  • 1 tin, 400ml chopped tomatoes
  • 2tbs tomato purée
  • 150ml water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Handful of coriander leaf and stems, finely sliced
  1. In a medium-sized casserole or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the mustard oil, add the curry leaves, quick stir, immediately add and fry the onions until soft, then add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and salt, stir, add the tinned tomatoes and purée.
  2. Add the diced and fried aubergine, the cooked potatoes and water. Stir and cook just enough to bring the flavours together and to warm the vegetables through, about five to eight minutes.
  3. Add the coriander and lemon juice and serve immediately.

Tips: If you have a little more time, try making your own medium-hot curry powder with 2tsp ground coriander seeds, 1tsp ground cumin, 1tsp ground black pepper, all freshly ground, ½tsp turmeric, ½tsp cayenne pepper. Do try to find mustard oil – it works so well in this recipe, bringing authentic flavour. Most Asian shops stock it. Also the fresh curry leaves should be at your local (southeast) Asian shop. You will note I always ask for sea salt to be used in my recipes. It’s a personal preference, but if you prefer to use mineral or table salt, then use less of these, maybe half the amount of sea salt.