For years now I have been searching for the perfect recipe for a vegetable curry from scratch. This, my friends, is it. Thick, spicy (but not too spicy!), packed full of vegetables, and utterly satisfying. You will be eating this for breakfast, it’s that good. And I couldn’t have done it without Jamie Oliver. So instead of transcribing the first half of the recipe, I’m sending you to his website. Go, children, go!
I used hot paprika instead of mild, and ended up with a rather spicy version. If you don’t enjoy the burning, I’d recommend sticking to mild. I’d definitely not recommended testing how hot the so called ‘hot’ paprika is by eating some straight out of the packet. It’s hot.
Once you have your curry base, it’s time to add your vegetables. I decided on eggplant and zucchini (or aubergine and courgette, if you want to get french).*
Make your curry base. Freeze half for later use, keep the other half in the saucepan over a low heat.
Cut up 3 small or 2 medium sized eggplants into pieces roughly 1 cm thick and 3cm square. Lay eggplant on tea towel and sprinkle over a generous amount of salt.
After about 20 minutes, flip the eggplant pieces and salt the other side. They should be sweating nicely. **
After another 20 minutes, rinse the eggplant thoroughly. Meanwhile, cut up two zucchini.
Fry zucchini in olive oil. After about ten minutes, add to the curry base where it will continue to cook.
Fry the eggplant in batches. You will need quite a lot of olive oil for this part.
Add eggplant to curry. Do not do what I did and adopt the ‘one for the curry, one for me’ approach to this part of the cooking process. Yes, fried eggplant is nearly the tastiest thing in the world, but this curry may just be better.
Cook for a further 10 - 20 minutes.
Serve with rice, or couscous, raita, or pappadums or any of the many other wonderful curry accompaniments. Personally I love couscous with a little butter stirred through it and raita.
This was a quite a time consuming process all up so I spent the time getting better acquainted with early nineties New Zealand band, The Chills. If you like eighties pop sensibilities with a health dose of existential angst, I would highly recommend them. They came to me via a friend of mine, and seeing as the theme of this post seems to be getting by with a little help, I thought I would post some more classic Aus and NZ bands I wouldn't have found on my own:
The Chills - Tied Up In Chain
The Verlaines – Death and the Maiden
The Triffids - The Seabirds
* It took me a long time to realise that you do not need to peel eggplant. In fact, with both eggplant and zucchini, pretty much all the goodness is in the skin! (The colour is where the vitamins live, that’s how I think about it.)
** Salting eggplant is a (mildly) contentious issue. Personally, I only do it if I’m frying it, as I think it gives it a much nicer texture.