spiced aubergine & sweet potato curry

5th December 2010

My vegetable garden is made up of six triangles in the shape of a mandala with an olive tree in the middle and a seat around.  My sanctuary, my space where I find quiet, my contentment and peace.

When I work in my garden, I usually start from one triangle and work my way around until all are rotated, weeded, mulched and planted to my satisfaction.  By the time I finish with triangle six, it is time to start at the beginning again and around I go. A cycle or circle of meditation.  There are bees, butterflies, snails, big juicy green caterpillars, foxes, woodpeckers, parrots, and a mole that drives me incessantly crazy.  But my favourite of all, is my friend, the kingfisher.  In the triangular closest to us, there is a knobbly stick which I especially put in for my friend, the elegant, but grand kingfisher to sit on.  And he does sit there, but always flies off before I can get really close to appreciate him and his long beak and aqua, blue wings.

At present, I am up to triangle six, with the last of all the Summer things growing at their dreary end, but still with edible fruit.  This is where the eggplant plant is, a little unruly, but full of black globes.  I have been trying to use them in all different ways, one being this lovely fragrant curry. The sweet potato and aubergine absorb all the beautiful, complex flavours.

spiced aubergine & sweet potato curry

Serves 4

ingredients :

1 medium eggplant – cut in small cubes

1 small sweet potato – cut into small cubes

12 cherry tomatoes/3 tomatoes – chopped into small pieces

3 Tbsp ghee/olive oil

1-inch knob ginger, grated

3 cardamon pods

½ tsp turmeric powder

2 cups water

cup red lentils

1 Tbsp tomato paste

½ tsp sambar powder (or chilli powder)

voggarane

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

handful beans, and or spinach/kale

fresh coriander

salt and pepper, to taste

preparation 

1.  First, prepare the aubergine.  Cut into 1 cm circles, and then into small cubes, place in a colander, salt well and set aside to draw out the bitter juices for 10 mins.

2.  Peel the sweet potato – cut into small cubes and finely chop the tomatoes.

3.  Pat the aubergine cubes with kitchen paper and place in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add the ghee/oil and heat until almost smoking – fry the aubergine until golden brown on both sides, then remove and drain on kitchen towel.

4.  Place a heavy bottomed cooking pot over medium heat add the aubergine, sweet potato and tomato, ginger, cardamom and turmeric – simmer for 10 mins.

5.  Pour in 2 cups water, lentils, sambar powder and tomato paste – simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the lentils are broken down.

prepare the voggarane

6.  In a separate pan, heat a little ghee, add the mustard seeds, and when they start to splatter and pop, add the cumin seeds – fry for a few seconds.

7.  Pour the voggarane into the curry and add a handful of spinach, kale or green beans (will need a bit longer to cook). Gently warm through.

8.  Add salt, pepper and fresh coriander.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Goodness shared from Stacey

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