Aubergine and Lentil Vindaloo

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2019) and taken from Cooking on a Bootstrap by Jack Monroe.

If you don’t like aubergine, use mushrooms.  Lentils could also be kidney beans, baked beans, black beans, brown or green lentils, or yellow split peas – for protein.  The flavour speaks for itself, or rather shouts, sings and dances!IMG_1859

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:
1 large aubergine or 2 small aubergines, diced
50g dried red lentils
3 onions, finely sliced
Oil, for frying
4 fat garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cumin, seeds or ground
1/4 star anise, or 1/8 tsp fennel seeds
A good grind of black pepper
1-2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tblsp tomato puree
2 tblsp vinegar or lemon juice, fresh or bottled
A fistful of spinach

Step One : In a bowl, sprinkle the aubergine with a good pinch of salt, then set aside.

Step Two : Thoroughly rinse the lentils and place them in a pan.  Cover with water – no salt or they will take an age to cook – and bring to the boil.  When the water is boiling, reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes, until the lentils are soft.  Drain, rinse and set aside.

Step Three : Meanwhile, toss the onions into a large pan with a little oil and, over medium heat, soften for 10 minutes.  Add the garlic cloves, peeled but whole, and the aubergine, stirring to stop it sticking.  Cook for 15 minutes, adding more oil if needed.

Step Four : Add the cinnamon, cumin, star anise, or fennel, and pepper, but only half of your chosen quantity of chilli.  (It is easy to add, but difficult to temper down if you misjudge it, so I put in half the chilli to cook, and leave half to garnish.)  Stir well to combine, then add 200ml water to the pan, and crank up the heat to medium-high.

Step Five : Add the lentils, tomato puree and vinegar or lemon juice and stir.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover, stirring slowly now and again.  It should take around 30 minutes to meld into glossy, orange goodness, and the liquid should thicken to an unctuous sauce.  If it is too watery, bring it back to the boil, reduce the heat and cook a little more.  Stir through the spinach a few minutes before serving.  This vindaloo is delicious with boiled rice, which makes it go further.

Other great cookbooks that help you keep an eye on the pennies:-

Sticky Tomato & Olive Aubergines

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine and is taken from the book : Salad Feasts: How to assemble the perfect meal by Jessica Elliott Dennison. 

The method for this salad is so simple, you can’t go wrong.  It pays to take the time to really brown the aubergines, allowing them to pick up a nice colour and go silky soft in the centre.

Sticky Tomato & Olive AuberginesIngredients (Serves 4):

  • 2 firm aubergines (500g)
  • 90ml olive oil
  • 1red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 30g sultanas
  • 1 ½ tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 50g pitted olives (any colour, drained weight)
  • 50g wild rocket
  • Small bunch (20g) flat-leaf parsley
  • Small bunch (15g) basil
  • 1/3 lemon
  • 4 slices sourdough bread (300g)
  1. Heat a large frying over a high heat while you cut the aubergines into large chunks (roughly 2.5cm). Add most of the oil to the pan along with the aubergine chucks and cook for 5-6 minutes until golden and beginning to darken on all sides.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and halve the onion then slice into thin half-moons. Peel the garlic and slice into thin slivers.  Add the remaining oil to the aubergine pan and reduce the heat to low, then fry the onion for 3 minutes until beginning to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add the capers to the pan along with the tomatoes, sultanas, vinegar, olives and a few splashes of water. Increase the heat to high, pop on a lid and cook for 7-10 minutes or until the aubergine is soft in the centre (keep an eye on the pan and add a few more splashes of water if it’s looking too dry).  Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  Keep in the fridge if you’re making a day or two ahead.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, wash the rocket in a basin of cold water to freshen the leaves, pat dry and place in a large mixing bowl. Tear in the herbs, discarding the stalks, squeeze over the lemon and gently toss.  Toast the bread, then divide between four plates or a large serving board, as pictured.   Smear over the aubergines then top with the lemony rocket.