Afghan aubergines with yogurt...

My new found love for aubergines is expanding by the minute, or rather by the dish...! I've already baked it, steamed it, made ravioli with it, dips, pasta sauces, stews and antipasti plates. It really is a very versatile veggie and one that takes on flavours of whatever it's cooked with.

After having a quick look through my many cookbooks, I decided to trust, again, The Hairy Bikers and prepare my aubergines a bit different this time. The dish might have a rather long list of ingredients, but it all comes together beautifully. I was really surprised how good it turned out! Oh, one word of advice -> that minty jogurt on the bottom of the plate, makes all the difference! Tried it without it, and it wasn't half that good anymore, it definitely missed something, some kind of a "kick", "lift me up" thing.

afghan aubergines by hairy bikers recipe

The below recipe comes from a cookbook "Great Curries" by The Hairy Bikers.

How to make it...

Ingredients:
- 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 1 long red chilli, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (I used ground cumin)
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon hot chilli powder
- 4 ripe medium tomatoes, skinned
- half of medium red pepper, cut into small, longish pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to season
- 250 ml just boiled water
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 2 small to medium aubergines (eggplant)

For the yogurt:
- 300 g Greek style, plain soy yogurt
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves roughly chopped
- freshly ground black pepper

Method:

- Trim the end of the aubergines and cut them into 1,5 cm thick slices. 
- Put the aubergine slices in a bowl and toss with some salt and 3 tablespoons of olive. 
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan and fry the aubergine slices in batches, turning them once until nicely browned on both sides. They shouldn't be cooked right through to the middle, but it is important that they have a good color. 
- Dry the slices on a tray lined with kitchen paper and put them aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick pan. 
- Gently fry the sliced onions for 10 minutes until softened and a bit translucent. I usually put a lid on at this time, as it helps the onion to soften steaming gently, rather than fry. Once the onion is soft and translucent in color, take the lid off, turn on the heat and cook for further 5 minutes until golden brown, stirring constantly to prevent from burning.
- Take half of the onions out of the pan and put them aside. 
- Put the pan back on the heat, add sliced garlic, chilli, cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric and chilli powder and cook for about 2 minutes. 
- Roughly chop 2 of the tomatoes and add them to the pan, season with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. 
- Add a splash (about 1/4 cup) of just boiled water and bring everything to a gentle simmer. 
- When the tomatoes start to softened add the tomato puree, cut red pepper (if using) and the remaining water and bring back to simmer. 
- Cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick, then remove from the heat.

afghan aubergines

- Arrange the aubergine slices over the tomato sauce, overlapping where necessary. 
- Slice the remaining tomatoes and place them on top of the auberggine, finish with the rest of the sauteed onions than you reserved from frying. Season everything with black pepper. 
- Cover the pan and place it over a low heat. 
- Cook for 30 minutes, giving a pan a little shake every now and then to stop the sauce sticking.
- Meanwhile prepare the yogurt.
- Mix the the yogurt with 2 tablespoons of water, crushed garlic, half the coriander and mint. 
- Put the yogurt mixture (few tablespoons) on to your plates and spread thickly. 
- Divide the hot aubergines and the tomato sauce between the plates, arranging on top of the yogurt. 
- Scatter the rest of the coriander over the top and serve hot.

Smacznego!


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