AUBERGINE CURRY WITH GREENS & CHERRY TOMATOES; KACHUMBER

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If you like aubergines and have a taste for spice, you’re bound to love this curry.  It’s slightly tangy from the tomato and yoghurt base and slightly bitter from the combination of aubergine, spinach and fenugreek leaves, but it all gets balanced out by the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes.  By all means, leave out the chillies if you don’t want any heat – it won’t affect the overall flavour, as it’s a combination of the other spices, combined with the hour-long simmering of the aubergines, that gives the depth of flavour.

Kachumber, if you haven’t heard of it, is an easy salad of tomatoes, cucumber and onion, dressed with lemon juice and a little chilli (you could swap this for ground cumin, if you like.)  It’s such a simple salad to throw together, but a great accompaniment to all sorts of Indian foods.

 

 

Ingredients

For the curry:

 

300g aubergine (I used the small, thin ones, but you could use a regular aubergine instead)

200g fresh spinach

1-2 handfuls fenugreek (methi), leaves only

150g sweet cherry tomatoes

2 medium onions (about 250g)

1 large can tomatoes

100g plain yoghurt

8 cloves garlic

1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled

3 green chillies, left whole but slit down the middle

2 stems limbro

1 large cinnamon stick

2 tsp. fennel seeds

1 tsp. mustard seeds

1 tsp. coriander seeds

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

2 tsp. garam masala

1-2 tbsp. fresh coriander

1 tbsp. flavourless oil

 

 

For the kachumber:

 

1 small onion

1/2 cucumber

200g tomatoes

Juice of half, or one whole lemon (to taste)

1 chilli, finely chopped or a couple of pinches of ground cumin

 

 

 

Method

For the curry:

 

You’ll need a large pan that can accommodate all of the pieces of aubergine in a single layer.  In the dry pan, toast all of the dry spices until they begin to jump and pop.  Remove the spices from the pan and set aside, then finely dice the onion and fry in the oil over a medium heat, keeping an eye to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Meanwhile, prepare your aubergine.  If, like me, you’re using the small, long aubergines, then simply remove the green tops and slice each in half down the middle.  If you using one of the regular aubergines, cut it into even sized lengths, just make sure you don’t cut them too thin, as then they might turn to mush in the cooking process.

Once the onion has taken on a good golden brown colour (I hear my mother’s voice when I cook onion, ‘the colour is where the flavour is!’) you can add the aubergines, purple side down, to the pan, in a single layer. 

In a blender or small processor, blitz together the tinned tomatoes, yoghurt, garlic, ginger, ground cumin and turmeric, and toasted seeds (they probably won’t all break down, but the bigger coriander seeds will) and blitz until smooth.  Pour this over and around the aubergines, add a splash of water, the cinnamon stick, stems of limbro and chillies, and bubble over a moderate heat for a couple of minutes.  After this time, give the pan a stir to make sure the aubergines aren’t sticking, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for thirty minutes, giving the pan a shake from time to time, and adding a splash of water if you feel like it’s drying out a bit.  After this time, flip the aubergines over to help them cook on the other side.

Next, roughly chop the spinach and cut the cherry tomatoes in half.  Throw on top of the curry – the heat will wilt the spinach down after a few minutes, when you can stir it in.  Cook for a further twenty minutes or so, or until the aubergine is soft.  Stir through the fenugreek leaves and garam masala for the final five minutes of cooking. When you’re ready to serve, remove the limbro stems, cinnamon stick and chillies, and toss over the coriander leaves, roughly chopped.

 

For the kachumber:

 

Simply chop the onion, cucumber and tomatoes as roughly or as finely as you like, mix in the lemon juice, chilli or cumin, and roughly chopped coriander, then you’re good to go!

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20 comments

  1. This looks really good. We’re always on the hunt for more eggplant recipes. Now to as a silly question: would limbro be labelled as curry leaves by any chance? A quick google seemed to point in that direction.

    1. That’s a good question – I should have noted it on the recipe – and you’re right, curry leaves 🙂 They look like stems of small bay leaves, have the aroma of smoky curry, and are much, much better fresh as opposed to dried (but the fresh leaves freeze well, so you can stock up on a big bag…)

      1. Thanks for that. I have a jar of dried curry leaves, but then I don;t think I’ve ever seen the fresh ones here. I’ll have to keep a look out for them.

  2. I have never tried brinjals with greens. Time to try this ASAP.

    1. Great! I love the combination 🙂

  3. I just bought one aubergine, this recipe just come in a good time, thanks! 🙂

    1. Great, I’m pleased! Enjoy 🙂

  4. I’m living your curry recipes this looks like another winner. 😦

  5. Should be 😉 I’m lethal typing on my phone!! Ha ha.

    1. Ha! Thanks 🙂

  6. OMG this looks so delicious. This is how I like to eat. I’m saving this one and will try it out this week. I may have some problems finding fenugreek leaves (i have seed) and I have no idea what limbro is. But the rest of the flavors are such a great combo. Yum. I cannot wait to try it. The whole thing. Thank you.

    1. Great, that makes me happy! You might find limbro labelled as ‘lindho’, or curry leaves… I hope it turns out well, it’s very scoffable!

  7. Karina this looks so amazing! 🙂

    1. Thanks Dimple 🙂 Maybe we can do a swap 😉

      1. Ummm now that is a very cool idea x

  8. Ooh lovely, I want some 🙂

    1. Then you’ll have to whip up a batch 😉

  9. ohlidia · · Reply

    Oh, that looks soooo good!

  10. […] recipe comes courtesy of Cheesy Buscuit whose impeccable flavor palette works its way into so many of her savory and sweet dishes. […]

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