Spiced aubergines with cannellini beans

Spiced aubergines with cannellini beans

Anjum's Quick & Easy Indian
Lisa Linder

This is a finger-licking tasty, balanced vegetarian curry. I like to add a little cream as I think it brings all the flavours together, but it is not essential and creaminess can come from some raita served on the side. If you have a good pure mustard oil, that will add a lot of flavour, but it first needs to be heated until it smokes and then cooled a little before continuing. Serve with Indian breads and raita, and maybe some greens.


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons vegetable or mustard oil
3 teaspoons panch phoran
1 onion, chopped
20g root ginger, julienned, (peeled weight)
450g long japanese aubergines, washed well
4 garlic cloves, grated
3 largish ripe vine tomatoes, cut into smallish wedges
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 rounded teaspoon roasted ground cumin
1 rounded teaspoon garam masala
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
400g canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
pinch caster sugar, (optional)
large handful coriander leaves, chopped
good drizzle single cream, (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick sauté pan. Add 2 teaspoons of the panch phoran and cook until the popping starts to die down. Add the onion and ginger and cook until soft and browning on the edges.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the aubergines by trimming the stalks and halving them lengthways and, if necessary, crossways if they are long.
  3. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for one minute or until beginning to colour. Stir in the tomatoes, spices and some salt with a small splash of water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10–15 minutes or until the tomatoes have really broken down.
  4. Add the aubergines, cover and continue to cook very gently for another 15 minutes or until they are soft, stirring occasionally; try not to add any more water as this dish tastes best when cooked in its own juices.
  5. Meanwhile, toast the remaining 1 teaspoon of panch phoran in a dry pan, shaking, until the seeds start to darken. Pour straight into a mortar and grind to a fine powder.
  6. Stir the beans and the roasted ground panch phoran into the pan, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding the sugar if the tomatoes are too tart. Cook for another couple of minutes, stir in the coriander and serve with a little cream, if using.
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