I had some coconut milk left over from making pumpkin in coconut milk, and because I have trouble resisting baby aubergines (they’re so cute!) I had a dozen of those. So I looked for recipes to use them, and found this and this, but wasn’t completely satisfied with either, so I made something in between. This is a very mild, creamy sauce.
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 12 baby aubergines
- 1 yellow onion
- 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 piece of cassia cinnamon
- 1 dried red chilli
- a few curry leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh or frozen coconut
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- coriander leaves (cilantro), to garnish
Put the cashews in a bowl, and just cover them with boiling water. Set aside.
Cut a cross into the bottom of each of the baby aubergines. Cut about halfway up the vegetable. Leave the top intact to hold the aubergine together.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan on high. Add the aubergines, and toss until they some brown spots. Then reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, tossing them from time to time. Cook about ten minutes in total, then remove them from the pan and set aside. Reduce the heat to low.
While the aubergines are cooking, roughly dice the onion and purée it with a little water. Set it aside.
Purée the cashews, using water as needed, to form a smooth paste. Set it aside.
In the cooler pan, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and turn the heat to medium. Once the heat pan is warm, add the cassia, cumin seeds, curry leaves, chilli, chilli powder, turmeric and mustard seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds start to pop, then add the onion and cook over low-medium heat until the raw smell disappears.
Add the coconut milk, vegetable bouillon, cashew paste, the coconut, and a couple cups of water. Add the aubergines to the pan. They do not need to be covered by the liquid. Allow to simmer on medium until the sauce is thick and the aubergines are soft when you insert a fork.
Remove from the heat. Add garam masala, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Serve garnished with coriander leaves.
Discard the curry leaves, aubergine tops, and cassia when eating. Serve with rice or roti.