Aubergine and Black Bean Curry

This week is National Vegetarian Week! Which is the perfect time for bringing out this delicious recipe. The spices are beautiful, and the smokey aubergine really makes it a treat (if I do say so myself). It takes a little while to cook, but that’s half the beauty of it – it allows the flavours to properly get to know each other for a gorgeous end result.

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Ingredients (serves 4):
– 2 large aubergines
– 1tbsp mustard seeds
– 1tsp cumin seeds
– 3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
– thumb fresh ginger, peeled and grated
– 1 large onion, roughly chopped
– 1 red chilli, finely chopped
– 1tsp ground ginger
– 1tsp ground cumin
– 1tsp turmeric
– 1tbsp garam masala
– 2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
– 2x 400g tins black beans, drained and rinsed
– 400ml water
– handful fresh coriander, chopped

1. Begin by preheating the oven to 180°C. Cut the aubergines in half length-ways, and rub the soft inside with one of the cloves of garlic. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then bake for 45 minutes. Leave to cool.

2. In a large pan melt 1tsp coconut oil (or use 1tbsp olive oil), and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Cook these for about 2 minutes, until they begin to pop and colour slightly.

3. Add the garlic, ginger, onion and chilli and cook for a further 8 minutes before stirring in the rest of the spices. Chop the baked aubergine into small pieces (about 2cm squares) and add to the pan. Cook for 5 more minutes.

4. Pour in the tomatoes, beans and water and bring to the boil. Once it reaches this point, turn the heat right down and put on the pan lid (or cover with foil) – but use a wooden spoon to prop it open so the pot is not sealed. Cook like this for 2½-3 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes or so.

5. Stir in the fresh coriander, and serve with brown rice, natural yoghurt and naan bread (if you’d like to make your own, I used this recipe with the addition of garlic and coriander, and it was fantastic). The curry freezes really well too, so it’s a great one to make in bulk for a tasty midweek meal later on.

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