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Pea & Aubergine Curry with Tamarind

We’re lucky enough to have a superb independent Indian food store just a few miles down the road which is great for stocking up on spices, breads and vegetables.

You can vary the whole spices used depending on what you have in the house, though cumin seeds are essential, and you really do need tamarind concentrate for this. It’s a black, sticky substance not dissimilar in texture to molasses. Try to avoid the tamarind pastes that contain sugar and other additives.

This should serve about four with breads and/or ric


2 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil

1 onion – finely chopped

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped or crushed

2cm ginger – peeled and finely chopped or grated

1 red chili – finely chopped

1 teaspoon each of black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds

½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1 large aubergine – cut into 2cm dice

1 400g tin tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato puree

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

1 large mugful of peas – frozen are best

1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate

Bunch fresh coriander – roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan with a lid, then fry the onion, garlic, ginger, chili and whole spices until the onion is softened and starts to brown at the edges

Add the aubergine and fry gently until softened and slightly browned

Now add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, turmeric and chili powder, salt and sugar, stir, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes

Add the peas and tamarind paste, stir again, cover and simmer for a further 15 minutes or longer

Garnish with the coriander just before serving