Afghan aubergines with yogurt...

I'm very hesitant when it comes to buying aubergines, mainly because I still have to be really, really convinced by someone or some brilliant dish, that it can be really good. But, recently I gave in, mainly because it was on  a huge sale in a local supermarket. I was going through my recipes and I've notice that I cooked it two years ago, time to give it another try.

So, after having a quick look through my many cookbooks, I decided to trust, again, The Hairy Bikers. 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 that good anymore, it definitely missed something, some kind of a "kick", "lift me up" thing ;)

afghan aubergines by hairy bikers recipe

The whole dish gave me a little bit of faith into aubergines and I'll be trying to cook with them again soon. How do you cook yours? Any tips, ideas? :)

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

How to make it...
- 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
For the yogurt:
- 300 g Greek style 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

Trim the end of the aubergines and cut them into 1,5 cm thick slices. Put them 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. Drain the slices on a tray lined with kitchen paper and put aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick pan. Gently fry the sliced onions for 10 minutes until softened - 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 of the just boiled water and bring to a 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, finish with the rest of the sauteed onions. Season 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.

Mix the yogurt with the 2 tablespoons of water, crushed garlic, half the coriander and mint. Put this mixture on to your plates and spread thickly. Divide the hot aubergines and the tomato sauce between the plates. Scatter the rest of the coriander over the top and serve.


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