This recipe features a lovely combination of spices that is typical of Kolkata cooking, including mustard and panch phoron — a blend of mustard, cumin, onion, fenugreek and fennel seeds that’s best known for its use in Bengali food. Also known as baigan curry, this dish is served as an element of thali at popular street food stalls. It’s also delicious enjoyed with rice or chapatti.
- 1 large aubergine, cut into chunky pieces roughly 5cm (2 inch) long
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, plus extra for deep frying
- 1 teaspoon panch phoron
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 small green chilli, finely chopped
- 1cm (1/2 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon English mustard
- 4 tablespoons natural yogurt
- 4 tablespoons water
- handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
Set up your EGG indirectly with the ConvEGGtor legs up. Cook with the lid shut even when frying.
Put the aubergine pieces into a bowl and sprinkle over 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and turmeric. Set aside for 1 hour to extract the excess moisture. In a Dutch Oven, heat a large amount of oil — about 2cm in depth — to 190°C (375°F). Line a plate with some kitchen paper. Wipe the excess moisture from the aubergine pieces using kitchen paper. When the oil has reached the correct temperature, carefully add the aubergine pieces in small batches and fry for 2 minutes, until they are golden. Transfer to the paper-lined plate and leave to drain excess oil while you fry the remaining aubergine pieces.
Heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the panch phoron. Cook for a few seconds to release the aromas, then add the onion and chilli and cook for about 3–4 minutes, until the onion is golden brown. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the remaining salt and turmeric, the sugar and the mustard and mix well. Continue to cook for 1 minute, then stir in the yogurt and measured water. Increase the heat to high and cook for 2 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the fried aubergine pieces to the curry, then cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the curry to a serving bowl, sprinkle over the coriander and serve hot.
TRIED & TESTED TIP
We loved this curry and did all the frying and cooking in the Dutch Oven. Be sure to use the digital read-and-remove thermometer to check the oil frying temperature. The mix of spices and the smoky undertone that the charcoal imparts to the curry is a real benefit.
This is a side-dish, so if you want to serve this curry as the main event you’ll need to triple the ingredient quantities. Current ingredients serve 2-3 people.
We added about half a cup of water to make the sauce looser.
If you want dairy free, try CoYo’s coconut yoghurt instead of natural yoghurt.