Pan-fried fruity aubergine...

The below dish, even though there aren't many ingredients, turned out to take quite a long time to prepare, but all the time spend in the kitchen will be rewarded. Imagine you have few different veggies and you have to pan fry each and every one separately... I know it might sound daunting... it was all worth it in the end! 

I thought I wouldn't like the apples with the aubergine, thought it might be too sweet - but it really wasn't. All the spices, sweet apples, sour tomatoes and lemon juice really lifted the dish and it all worked well together. I ate it just like that, plain and simple, although you can serve it with a side of rice, naan bread or cucumber raita.

How to make it...

- 1 aubergine
- 1 tablespoon oil, plus more for shallow frying
- 3 medium potatoes, each cut into wedges
- 2 crisp eating apples, each cored and cut into 8 pieces
- 8 baby plum tomatoes, halved (I used 3 medium tomatoes, pealed and cut into quarters)
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- salt

Whole spices:
- 1 clove, ground (I didn't add any)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (I used 1 whole teaspoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (my own addition)

Ground spices:
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel (I didn't add any as I used the whole seeds)
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili (I added 1/2 teaspoon paprika instead)


- Cut the aubergine in half, length ways and then into 2 cm slices. Sprinkle with salt and put aside for minimum 10 minutes. It will let off water, so drain it and pat it dry.
- Shallow fry the potatoes on a medium heat until golden brown. 
- Drain with a slotted spoon and put aside. 
- On the same heavy bottom pan fry the apples, only about 2 minutes, you don't want them to disintegrate. 
- Remove with a slotted spoon and put aside as well. 
- Now fry, in small batches, the aubergine. Take care not to break it, fry until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and put aside too. 
- Fry the tomatoes, taking care so they'll stay in pieces. Remove from the pan and put to the side.

- Take a heavy based saucepan and heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the whole spices. 
- Fry until the seeds start popping. 
- Remove from the heat straight away and add 100 ml water, some salt and all the ground spices. 
- Cook for few minutes before adding tomato puree. 
- Stir constantly for 2 minutes until you have a thick paste.

- Add the potatoes and another 450 ml water. 
- Stir, cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes or so until tomatoes are just soft. 
- Add another 400 ml water, lemon juice and the aubergine and apples - make sure that the water covers all the vegetables. 
- Cook for 2 minutes and then add the tomatoes. 
- Stir everything together and serve.


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