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Baby Aubergine (Eggplant) Curry (Bagara Baingan)

8 purple baby aubergines (eggplants) all roughly the same size, if possible
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons peanuts
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
400 ml coconut milk, divided into half
1 teaspoon garam masala (homemade is lovely in this dish)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon, or to taste, hot chilli powder
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon unscented oil
1 sprig (8 - 10) fresh curry leaves
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Score the baby aubergines deeply with a sharp knife into quarters, but leave them whole, stem included.

Place the aubergines on a baking tray in a single layer, and roast them for 20 minutes, turning once, until just beginning to cook all the way through.

Make the spice paste. Toast the sesame seeds, the peanuts, whole coriander seeds, and whole cumin seeds in a hot pan, one by one, until fragrant. This could take between 20 - 45 seconds for each.

Place them in a powerful blender or a spice grinder, and blend them to a powder. The peanuts will begin to stick as they grind up.

Add 200 ml coconut milk, garam masala, ground turmeric, tamarind paste and chilli powder to the blender, and continue to blend for about 2 - 3 minutes, until the mixture is well blended. Keep aside.

Place the oil in a heavy based pan, and add the curry leaves. Fry for a minute on a medium high heat, then add the diced onion. Fry for about 5 minutes until the onion has softened and is just beginning to colour around the edges. Add the ginger and garlic, and saute for about 30 seconds more.

Add the spice paste to the the onion mixture, scraping it out of the blender. Mix together and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the coconut milk and bring the sauce to a simmer.

Season to taste, with the salt.

Gently lower the baked aubergines into the sauce, and stir, pushing the sauce into the scored ridges. Cover and leave to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes (depending on the size of the aubergines), until they are cooked all the way through, and the sauce has reduced a bit.

Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot. This dish goes well with rice and all sorts of Indian breads.

Recipe from: http://foodfootballandababy.blogspot.com/
Author: Michelle Peters - Jones
Please do not plagiarise