Whenever I’m thinking of recipes, especially curries, I’m conscious that I should be making everything from scratch including curry pastes, sauces etc but when I am throwing an evening dinner together after a busy day at work I always reach for the jar of curry paste in my fridge for convenience. Using a pre bought curry paste is not cheating it’s a perfect way to have a delicious meal when your tired and busy and just need food! Adding some vegetables and curry paste together is a lot healthier than reaching for the takeaway menu or buying a ready meal.
The quality of your curry paste however is important because it will be the base flavour for your whole meal. I use Patak’s range because it is vegan and they have a large selection to choose from in the supermarket. It’s not the cheapest you can buy but the quality is good so it’s worth it! Think about what ingredients are going to match the paste, for example a jalfrezi is suited to rich tomatoes and onions and a korma is more suited to a milder creamier curry. You can experiment though as I have used korma, jalfrezi and balti curry pastes in this aubergine curry and each time it has been delicious with varying levels of spice and richness.
This dish is all about being simple and easy to throw together, it’s also got a sideline benefit of being very versatile. Swap the aubergine for anything you have in your fridge such as courgette, peppers or potatoes. Swap the cherry tomatoes for quartered salad tomatoes or you can also use frozen spinach instead of fresh if you have some!
Swapping ingredients takes a little bit of understanding of how they all cook differently but once you’ve thought about that and adjusted the method it’ll be easy. For example a diced courgette will cook a lot quicker than an aubergine or potatoes may need to be par boiled before adding into the curry.
I don’t add any extra flavours such as garlic, ginger or chilli because the curry paste is strong enough however feel free to add what you like. Also a lot of recipes call for you to salt an aubergine but I never do this, cooking it in the paste and tomatoes will soften it up fine! Aubergine soaks up a lot of oil so don’t put too much in your pan!
Serves 4 (freezable and can easily be doubled for larger quantities)
6 Cherry Tomatoes – cut in half
1 tablespoon Pre bought Curry Paste
1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
Large handful or 100g Spinach
Sunflower or Vegetable Oil for frying
Dice the onion finely, heat around 2 tablespoons oil in a pan and add the onion, fry for around 3-4 minutes to soften. Dice the aubergine quite small and then add that to the onion in the pan. Continue to cook the aubergine, stirring frequently, for around 8 minutes untill the aubergine has browned. Be careful because the air also browns the aubergine, watch the skin instead of the flesh, when it begins to change colour and almost blister then you know it’s cooking.
Add the curry paste and mix everything together for 1 minute.
Add the canned tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes and about 1/2 cup of water. Turn the heat on, stick a lid on the pan and simmer for 20 minutes. I go back and check every 5 minutes or so to give it a stir and make sure it’s not drying up. If it looks dry then add more water. After 20 minutes taste a bit of aubergine, if it’s soft and easily chewed then it is ready, if it’s a bit squeaky or tough then give it longer. Larger pieces of aubergine will take longer.
Add the spinach and put the lid back on untill it has wilted. Stir to mix the spinach in then serve! This will be great with some brown rice or naan breads. If I’ve just taken a portion of this out of the freezer for dinner then I like to pop a naan bread in the toaster and it’s an instant meal, if your less lazy then boil some rice 🙂
I have submitted this recipe to The Wellness Weekend over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs!