Spice and all things nice
I’ve eaten so much meat over the last few days that I swear my fangs have grown a bit. It’ll be a long time before I feel the urge to gnaw on a sausage again, I reckon. Anyway, I really felt like a lovely light palette-cleansing vegetarian curry or stew for supper. So I made one.
I had some baby aubergines and chickpeas in already, and I have a cupboard stuffed full of herbs and spices - literally, if you open it too hastily, you risk being brained by a jar of tamarind paste. It was nearly being brained by the tamarind paste that reminded me to use it up before it went out of date (this is how REAL cooks operate, none of your Nigel Slater-style banging on about the essential sweet fruity dryness of the tamarind – it’s all about the sell-by dates), so I opted for an adaptation of Allegra McEvedy’s aubergine, chickpea and tamarind stew (I always tamper with the recipes I cook), served up with some basmati rice. The rice looks a bit fluorescent in the photograph, but it wasn’t in real life. The whole thing was bloody lush. I recommend.
Talking of things I recommend, today I was introduced to this blog written by a chick who cooks, drinks and talks about camping and her kids. Now who does that remind me of…?
Aubergine, chickpea and tamarind stew
3 baby aubergines, chopped into one inch pieces
1 onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tsp of cheat’s chopped chillies
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp tamarind paste
Generous squirt of maple syrup (the McEvedy recipe used honey, but I didn’t have any)
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Some fresh tomatoes, chopped
Tin of chickpeas
Dash of tomato puree
Chopped yellow pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Bake aubergines in some oil for about 25 mins, until the bitterness has cooked out.
2. Meanwhile, gently fry the onions, garlic and chilli. After 10 mins or so, add the spices (including the mustard seeds) and fry for another 5 mins. Add chopped tomatoes and paste and simmer for another 10.
3. Add the syrup, pepper, tamarind paste and cooked aubergine and simmer for 10 mins.
4. Add chopped tomatoes and chickpeas and simmer on a very low heat while you cook the rice. The consistency of the stew should be quite thick and rustic.
5. Stir through some chopped mint. Eat!
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