With the onset of cooler nights I want my dinners to pack warmth. The best and most effective way to add warmth to your dinner is by adding spice. There are so many different types of spice to add warmth to a meal that you can pretty much tailor make the flavours to suit you. Creating an Curry from scratch is actually quite simple and is a great way of creating food with spice.
There are times when I use holy the trinity of aromatic spices: ground cumin, ground coriander and turmeric to create a taste of the ancient world in a beef tagine or Garam masala chicken dish. If I want something to have a bright, chilli-citrus hit then it will be a Thai prawn curry with chilli, lemongrass and lime. But there are times when only the South Asian flavours which combine the taste of the aromatic spices with the rounded warmth of ground ginger, the pungent heat of mustard seeds and cayenne pepper are sometimes the flavours I want in a beef or chicken curry. These spice blends don’t always have to be made from scratch – shop around and find one that works for you.
To create a Meat-free Monday dish, substitute the beef of chicken for aubergine chunks. The aubergine when cooked in large chunks holds its own without becoming mushy; it retains a meaty-kind of texture and does not disappoint.
The lemon pickle can sound frivolous but makes the world of difference to this dish and is super easy to create.
Aubergine Curry with Cardamom Rice and lemon pickle
|1 Aubergine per person
1 large onion
2 large tomatoes
1 tblspn tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic
1 tblspn curry powder of choice
3 cardamom pods
|For the lemon pickle:
1 tspn of mustard seeds
1 tspn of turmeric
Glug of vegetable oil
1st: Cut the aubergine into large chunks and drizzle in olive oil. Either griddle or fry the aubergine chunks.
2nd: Slice the onions and fry until soft and add chopped garlic. Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan along with the tomato paste. Let this simmer for 5 mins before adding the aubergine.
3rd: Add the tblspn of curry powder to the saucepan and mix well. Allow to simmer gently for a few minutes before sprinkling coriander over and serving.
I prepare my rice via the absorption method usually adding a few pressed cardamom pods and or cinnamon stick to the pan.
Slice a whole lemon down its length and cut each half into quarters. Cut the lemon into small, thin pieces. Remove any seeds.
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds start popping add the turmeric and turn in the lemon pieces.
Serve with a generous dollop of yoghurt.