Remove the stems from the aubergines. Slice each aubergine in half lengthways. If you are using large ones, then cut each one lengthways into 1cm thick slices. Heat a griddle pan, then cook the aubergines cut side down for 5 minutes over a moderate heat until they are showing good colour before turning them over. Cook the other side for a further 5 minutes, then remove to a bowl. Cover with a lid – the steam they produce will help them to soften them further.
Peel, halve and roughly chop the shallots. Warm the oil in a deep, heavy-based casserole, then let the shallots cook over a low to moderate heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and pale gold. Peel, thinly slice and stir in the garlic.
Stir in the gochujang, the tomatoes and their liquid and the black-eyed beans and their canning liquid. Stir in the thyme leaves, a little salt, the sugar and the aubergines. Simmer for 10 minutes, then transfer to a deep baking dish. I use one measuring 24cm x 16cm.
Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Process the bread to coarse crumbs, either in the food processor or by hand with a coarse-toothed grater. Mix them with the thyme leaves and the grated lime or lemon zest.
Pour over the olive oil and toss to coat. Scatter over the surface of the beans and tomatoes. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crumb crust is crisp and the filling is bubbling around the edges.