I've got no idea as to the authenticity of this recipe - it may never have been anywhere near the Pacific, let alone its Rim, but it definitely is a curry, a really terrific curry. This recipe comes from Amanda Grant's The Joy Of Vegan Cooking which, despite its slightly hokey title, is one of the few vegan cookbooks I'd recommend. It almost entirely dispenses with the tedious "why you should be vegan" polemic and the almost always dodgy "vegan nutrition" section that are virtually obligatory in vegan cookbooks. Nor does it fixate, like some American authors are prone to, on some wacky additive, dairy substitute, or lean on tinned or pre-prepared ingredients. It has a cheerful tone, presents straightforward recipes that use fresh ingredients to make good food. It was my everyday cookbook for an extended period, and the battered and stained state of my copy attest to its "higher then normal number of recipes that you will actually cook" quotient.
Stroll to your local high street and procure
- some aubergines - the recipe calls for 700grams, but I typically use more. This recipe works especially well with the little thumb-sized aubergines, but normal sized ones work too.
- a large onion or two
- 350g or thereabouts of potatoes - waxy rather than floury because they hold together better, new ones if you can
- a tin of coconut milk (two if go large on the aubergines)
- a lime
- four decent sized tomatoes
- coconut shavings or desiccated coconut
and for the curry paste
- a handful of coriander leaf
- some garlic
- a piece of ginger
- a red chilli
- a green chilli
- a teaspoon of brown sugar
Put on your pinny. Clear your pets from the kitchen.
- Stick all the curry paste ingredients in a food processor, I use one of those hand blenders, with a slug of oil and couple of slugs of water. Process it all up until smooth. I've been vague on the precise quantities - you know what you like, balance it accordingly. Grind in some salt and pepper.
- Dry-fry the coconut in a heavy pan. Go easy with the heat, and don't leave it alone. It'll go from browned to burnt if you turn your back.
- Skin the tomatoes. Cut into chunks.
- Cut your aubergines into chunks. Pour a decent glug of oil into a large pan and stick on a high heat. Fry the aubergines for about ten minutes. They'll tend to stick and it might get a bit smokey, but keep them moving and you'll be fine.
- While that's going on, slice up the onion. Add it to the pan when the aubergines are good and brown. Fry for a couple more minutes.
- Add the curry paste and stir everything around really well. Drop the heat down and carry on frying for another ten minutes. Stir everything round occasionally.
- Dice the potatoes and fling them in the pan. Add the coconut milk and lime juice. Add about half a pint of boiling water too. At this point, depending on how eager I've been with my aubergine shopping, I'll add more coconut milk (or creamed coconut or coconut cream) and/or water. You're looking to make a sauce - it doesn't want to be dry but it doesn't need to be completely swimming either.
- Clang on the lid and simmer for 25 minutes. Give it stir now and again.
- Add the tomatoes at the end of cooking, and give them a couple of minutes to heat through.
- Scatter the toasted coconut and some more coriander over the top and serve it up. Have it by itself, with rice, or some nice bread.
Assuming you don't eat it in one sitting, it keeps well, freezes ok (the aubergines tend to fall to pieces a bit), and is excellent heated up for breakfast the next day.