Baby Aubergines Stuffed with Peanut Masala2013-11-29
Stuffing baby vegetables with spicy, nutty masala can be a beautiful thing. It’s nothing new, Gujaratis have been popping a tray of them onto their dinner party tables for years. Stuffed vegetables are, and always have been the ultimate show-off dish – the more extensive the variety of veggies you manage to wangle into the dish, the more fabulous you are.
12-15 baby aubergines
For the peanut stuffing:
110g redskin peanuts (I don’t bother removing the skins)
2 tbsp gram flour, toasted in a non-stick pan until aromatic
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp ground cumin seeds
4 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ginger, grated
½ tsp red chilli powder
Handful fresh coriander, chopped finely
1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the tomato sauce:
1 tbsp sunflower oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
5-6 curry leaves
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp red chilli powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp sugar
1. Combine all of the ingredients for the stuffing except for the oil in a blender. Pulse 5-10 times until roughly ground. Place in a glass bowl.
2. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan until hot and shimmering. Slowly and carefully pour the oil onto the peanut mix and combine. Set aside to cool.
3. Trim the tops of the aubergines. I like to leave a little stalk for pretty presentation. Slit the aubergines crosswise from the bottom, almost all the way through – leave the stalk area uncut. Stuff each aubergine with the peanut masala – don’t be afraid to use clean hands to do this; just get right in there. You should have a little bit of the stuffing left over – keep it aside.
4. Place the aubergines in single rows in a microwave and oven-safe dish. Cover the dish with cling film (plastic wrap) and make a hole in the top. Microwave on full power for seven minutes. Remove the cling film and allow to cool.
5. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat one tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop. Add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, tomatoes and then the rest of the ingredients. Allow to simmer for a few minutes. When bubbling, add the leftover stuffing mix and combine.
6. Pour the sauce over the aubergines and bake in a preheated oven at 190°C for 35 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh coriander.
Serve with crispy paratha and plain yoghurt.