Source: Meera Sodha’s recipe for aubergine pollichattu
Servings 4 people
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 20 curry leaves fresh if possible
- 5 shallots roughly 400g, peeled and finely sliced
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and finely sliced
- 3 cm ginger peeled and grated
- 400 g tomatoes ripe, roughly chopped
- 3 tsp tamarind paste
- 100 ml coconut cream
- 0.5 tsp ground tumeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 aubergines about 900g
Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, add the curry leaves and leave them to crackle and crisp for a minute.
Add the shallots and cook for eight minutes, until they are translucent and just starting to brown, then add the garlic, ginger and chopped chillies. Cook for three or four minutes, until the scent of garlic and ginger has filled the kitchen, then add the tomatoes. Cook for four minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down, then add the tamarind paste, coconut cream, turmeric and salt. Simmer together for 15 minutes, until you have a deep ochre sauce and it is thick enough to spread (ie, not too runny), then take off the heat and leave to one side to cool.
Remove the stems from the aubergines and cut into 1cm slices, lengthways, to get 16 slices if you can, then separate the aubergine slices into four portions. Roughly divide the sauce in the pan into four equal portions, too.
Put a slice of aubergine in the middle of each piece of baking paper, add a spoonful of sauce, and add another slice. Repeat until you have a four-slice sandwich. Bring the baking paper up at either side of the aubergine and fold it over so the aubergine is encased. Do the same with the ends, so that you have a neat parcel. Tie with string so that it looks like a present. Put this parcel on a baking sheet and repeat with the rest of your aubergine portions until you have four identical parcels. Put these in the oven for 40 minutes.
Serve the parcels with rice, dal or a chopped salad and some flatbread.