Sunday, 27 November 2011

Aubergine & Tamarind Curry

Have I ever mentioned how much I love aubergines? It's borderline obsessive really. They're big meaty things with fantastic texture and they absorb flavours like a sponge, what's not to love? This curry is fairly similar to the aubergine, coconut and lime dhal in that they both contain aubergines, coconut - this time though, with a Thai twist and a sour tang that comes from tamarind.

A vivid orange curry was packed full of iron-rich cavolo nero and a head of pak choi that I had spare in the fridge; you can really use any green vegetable you like. Lots of dried red chillis were minced together with galangal, lemon grass and garlic to make a curry paste but it's the lime leaves thrown in while cooking that really gives it that fragrance the Thais do so well.

Aubergine & Tamarind Curry

Serves 2

For the spice paste:

A large handful of dried red chillis, rehydrated in boiling water
2 inches of galangal
6 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of lemongrass, inner soft part only
Half an onion
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp shrimp paste
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Deseed the chillis and blitz all of the above with a little of the water from soaking the chillis.

1 medium aubergine
3 stalks of cavolo nero, or other dark leafy greens
4 lime leaves, torn roughly
1 can of coconut milk
A few seeds of tamarind - put these in a little boiling water and work the tamarind paste away from the seeds. Drain, reserving the tamarind paste. Alternatively, use 1.5 tbsp ready made tamarind paste
1 tbsp sugar, to taste
2 tbsp fish sauce (or to taste)
1 tbsp each of chopped basil and coriander

Slic the aubergines into fingers and fry in a little oil until coloured on both sides. Set aside. Heat some oil in a wok and add 2 tbsp of the curry paste. Stir fry until fragrant, then add the aubergines back in. Add the leafy greens and stir to coat. Add the coconut milk with the lime leaves and cook gently for 15 - 20 minutes.

Add the tamarind, the fish sauce tbsp by tbsp and the sugar; taste as you go. Add more of whatever you think it needs but keep tasting; it should be perfectly balanced.

Scatter with the chopped basil and coriander and serve with rice.

9 comments:

Susan said...

I share your passion for the aubergine. This sounds lovely. Salty-spicy-tangy - my three favourite things in food.

Lizzie said...

Susan - All hail the aubergine! I love sour curries, and this really hits the spot.

peasepudding said...

Yes you are right about the aubergine being like a sponge that's why your recipe is so appealing. I think I could even get hubby to eat aubergine with this recipe :o)

The Grubworm said...

Oooh, aubergine - it's the emperor of vegetables (although I guess strictly speaking its a berry). Curries are such a great way to cook them too, all those fragrant flavours soaking in and getting a lovely soft textural background in response.

Also, I think the use of cavalo nero here is ace, it;s a vegetable I enjoy, but don't know how to cook more than a couple of ways.

the gannet said...

vitaminy vegs, antiseptic garlic and heat and sour. if this won't sort my cold out.....

really lovely.

Jonathan said...

You aubergine obsession is getting out of control - not unlike my beetroot and fennel fetishes.

I've never cooked with tamarind so I think this recipe may well be my first foray into using it.

Lizzie said...

pease - do try it out :)

Grubworm - cavolo nero is one of my favourites.

gannet - add extra chilli to clear the ol' sinuses...

Jonathan - there are worse obsessions to be had i suppose ;) Tamarind is an extraordinary flavour; you can make drinks with it too.

Anonymous said...

Finally got round to making this - used what was advertised in the market as broccoli tops (impossible to find Cavallo Nero in Paris for some reason). The aubergines were amazing, greens a bit bitter/tough but not that surprised given their size. Would make it again with spinach I think.

V Thirlaway said...

v late to comment - searching for aubergine & tamarind as i had an inkling would be good - this is the recipe i chose. loved it. bit cautious with my chillies (never used dried before) -but will be making this again for certain! thanks!